Religion And The Cause Of War

1780 words - 7 pages

Many times we can’t pin down the precise reason as to why wars are caused, but we can say as to why we choose to fight. We fight to defend what we believe in. Many would say that war is not caused by religion, but what exactly is religion? Religion is “Something one believes in and follows devotedly; a matter of ethics or conscience.” (dictionary) Although many things cause war, one cannot discount the role religion plays in the cause of war. According to Prominent US Catholic theologian Dr. William Cavanaugh “If one tries to limit the definition of religion to belief in God or gods, then certain belief systems that are usually called “religions” are eliminated, such as Theravada, Buddhism, and Confucianism. If the definition is expanded to include such belief systems, then all sorts of practices, including many that are usually labeled “secular,” fall under the definition of religion.” (Cavanaugh) This is a rather interesting statement, if we broaden our view on what religion actually is we can clearly see that “Religion” does have an impact on war. Some would say that religion only deals with those that believe and or follow God or gods others like Dr. Cavanaugh say that religion can consist of something entirely different. With this in mind we will begin our search on the role religion has in war we will first take a look at six out of the many recognized world Religions and what their beliefs are about war. A “Holy War” or a “Just War” is how some Religions justify war. The chart below shows six religions of the world and what their stance on war is. The outer ring shows the religions that do believe in any type of war and the inner ring shows the religions that do not believe in war, as you can see there are more religions that believe in justified wars then those that oppose it. (Hooker) If we take a deeper look at each of these religions we can see just exactly what it is they believe. Those involved in Judaism believe in fighting for survival as well as fighting a “Just War”. Christians are not in favor of killing, but they feel that at many times its unavoidable. This shows that Christians believe in fighting for what they believe in. The Islam Religion believe in defending their faith, if someone goes up against their religion they believe in fighting to defend what they believe. Buddhist believe in killing if there are certain justified reasons. If one is attacked and one can be killed to save two then the killing is justified. Killing is a very big offence to those who believe in Hinduism, they do not believe in killing by any means. Sikhism believe in respecting people no matter what they believe therefore, they do not believe in war. (Hooker) In any religion you will find people in a particular religions whose beliefs are a little different thought out, but the majority will all believe the same thing. Although just because someone believes in fighting doesn’t mean they will, but seeing that most of the religions are not...

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