17 Jul 2015 Articles Q&A No comments

What is the difference between a diocese and an archdiocese? What about a bishop and an archbishop?

Our Lord established for His Church a structure of leadership based on the apostles, which is known as the hierarchy. As with any organization, each leader in …

Read more

23 Aug 2016 Articles Comments (37)

Padre Pio's “Secret Weapon Prayer" that resulted to multiples of Miracles

When someone asks you to pray for them, why not pray with “Padre Pio Power"? When I heard that the prayer below (written by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque) was the …

Read more

17 Jul 2015 Articles Q&A Comments (1)

What is the difference between the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed?

Most Missalette’s do print both the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed. The Apostles’ Creed may be used at Masses where children are the majority, like a par…

Read more

10 Jun 2015 Vatican Comments (6)

Pope’s new encyclical will provoke backlash, says Peruvian archbishop

The Archbishop of Huancayo, Peru has said that Pope Francis must prepare himself for criticism following the publication of his encyclical on the environment. …

Read more

02 Jun 2015 USA No comments

Firing of gay Seton Hall priest highlights a Catholic debate

When the Rev. Warren Hall called a reporter for the gay sports website last week to discuss his firing as director of Seton Hall University’s camp…

Read more

19 Nov 2016 Articles Comments (2)

Now the hard work begins!

For those of us using the Gospel and Catholic social teaching as our voting guide, choosing between the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates was an…

Read more

06 Apr 2016 Articles Comments (38)

The Incorrupts; Saints whose bodies did not decay after death

The Roman Catholic Church has recorded throughout history, Saints whose bodies did not decay after death, the body of such saints are said to be incorrupt. It i…

Read more

18 Dec 2015 News USA Comments (7)

The Bleeding Host of Utah Diocese's Miraculous evidence confirmed

The whole incident began at St. Francis Xavier Church in Kearns, a Salt Lake City suburb at Utah Diocese on Nov. 8 when an already consecrated host was returned…

Read more

31 Aug 2016 Articles Comments (6)

List of Sins Catholics have become numb to - Which of these Sins Are YOU guilty of?

Every faithful Catholic is guilty of some sort of sin. No one but our Lord and Holy Mother have ever been perfect, so which sins are the ones believers most oft…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

The Myth that Religion Causes War

  • Written by:
  • 1 Reply

Religion and War


“Religion is inherently violent, producing countless wars."


This claim does not withstand scrutiny.

War is not unique to humanity. Other species—including ants, bees, and chimpanzees—wage war, understood as the organized, collective use of lethal violence against external enemies (such as for control of territory).

Yet these species do not have religion. War’s roots are thus non-religious.

Religion is a human universal, and historically there have been noatheist societies. It is thus impossible to argue that non-religious societies were less violent than religious ones. The officially atheist societies that arose in the Communist world in the twentieth century were not more peaceful than others. They warred, exported revolution, and killed tens of millions of people, including their own citizens.

If religion predisposed people to violence, we should see this on the small scale, yet violent criminals don’t usually seem to be devout churchgoers.

Like non-religious viewpoints, religions have differing attitudes toward violence, ranging from advocating violence for a variety of causes to advocating it only in self-defense to thoroughgoing pacifism. One cannot tar all religious viewpoints with the same brush. If religion can inspire people to kill, it can also inspire them to refrain from killing (“You shall not kill," Exod. 20:13; “Love your enemies," Matt. 5:44).

Similarly, if lack of religious zealotry deprives one non-religious person of a motive to kill, another non-religious person may go on to slay because he is not constrained by religious values against killing.

Ultimately, religions don’t go to war. Governments do, and they usually must convince an ambivalent populace of their decision to do so. In this, they may use religion as a motivating factor (whether or not the religion of the enemies is different), but that doesn’t make religion the cause of war.

Often wars are fought when there is no difference in religion. In the bloodiest war in U.S. history, the Civil War, the North and the South had the same religion.

Most wars are not fought over religious goals such as converting, subjugating, or killing people because they have a different religion. Instead, they are fought over secular goals such as control of territory and resources, self-determination, defending national prestige, or seeking revenge for perceived wrongs.

For more, see The Myth of Religious Violence by William Cavanaugh.

By Jimmy Akin


1 comment

  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    While the article makes some valid points, we have to keep in mind that religions, particularly the Abrahamic religions, and even more particularly the Christian religions, are divisive and pit people against each other. When religions dogmatically insist that they are right, thus insisting all others are wrong, then discord, conflict and violence are pretty much guaranteed, regardless of the pretense for the violence.
    While there is no shooting in the streets, conservative Christianity is certainly on the warpath, and has been for the last couple decades. It has been so successful, that Christianity is now known to the ever growing group of Nones, as the “religion of hostility to the other.”

Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories