Fact Check: Religious Wars: Only 123 of 1763?


UPDATE: The watchful eye of Andrew Holt, one of my commenters, detected an error in this post. Apparently there is an index to the Encyclopedia of Wars which was not in the edition that I found, in which the authors actually do index “religious wars,” of which there are 121, and to which Vox Day thought it right to add two others. See Holt’s thoughtful and better-cited response.

It should be noted that I do not consider myself an “academic blogger,” though I was in grad school at the time of this post.

With this addendum in place, the quotation from the book that I cite below still, to a great extent, negates Day’s count.

A friend shared the image above from a Facebook page called WHY?Outreach. I thought the statistic was interesting, so I followed the links they cited for their claim in the caption text.

In one of them, an article at CARM, which I despise and link under protest, Robin Schumacher makes the following claim, which is cited verbatim in the meme:

An interesting source of truth on the matter is Philip and Axelrod’s three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars, which chronicles some 1,763 wars that have been waged over the course of human history. Of those wars, the authors categorize 123 as being religious in nature,2 which is an astonishingly low 6.98% of all wars. However, when one subtracts out those waged in the name of Islam (66), the percentage is cut by more than half to 3.23%.

Footnote 2 is a broken link, but it’s supposed to take readers to a Google Books preview of a book called The Irrational Atheist in which author Vox Day adds up “all the wars that the authors of the Encyclopedia of Wars saw fit to categorize as religious wars for one reason or another.” Day includes several caveats, like some wars being lumped together, but is generally satisfied with his work. At the risk of another dead link like the one suffered by CARM, I include a link to the book preview here.

The claims that (1) there have been 1,763 wars in human history, and (2) only 123 of them are a result of religious causes, appear explicitly nowhere in Encyclopedia of Wars. Those numbers were tallied up by Vox Day using data from Encyclopedia of Wars. Sort of.

Wikipedia’s article on religious war previously included the number as well, citing 3 sources: a Huffington Post article which made the claim but failed to support it, a book called An Atheist Defends Religion which also made the claim but failed to support it or even footnote Vox Day’s work, and finally, Vox Day’s book, pages 104-106. Vox Day’s book, as best I can tell, appears to be the original source of the number (allegedly derived from Encyclopedia of Wars.

While I was tracking down the original source, I learned something about the Encyclopedia of Wars: It’s freakishly expensive. Like $400 expensive. So how the heck did Vox Day get hold of a copy?

Answer: He probably didn’t.

PDF copies of everything seem to live on the internet, however, and an expensive reference book like Encyclopedia of Wars is apparently a prime target. I found a PDF. (The link may have stopped working by the time you get to it; there’s another one on Scribd. If those don’t work, Google is amazing and there may still be a copy floating around.

In case there isn’t, I have a few observations:

1. The Encyclopedia of Wars doesn’t categorize wars as religious or non-religious. I searched the PDF for “religion.” It appeared 201 times. “Religious” appeared 216 times. There is no section of the book where Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod explicitly “categorize” wars as religious or non-religious. EDIT: I am leaving this here, but it is not quite correct. See note at top of this post; the “categorization” was in the index.

I suspect Vox Day did a word search of a PDF copy of Encyclopedia of Wars, noting which of the entries mentioned religion, and counting up all the other wars. In any event, Robin Schumacher’s claim that “the authors categorize 123 as being religious in nature” and Vox Day’s claim that “the authors of the Encyclopedia of Wars saw fit to categorize as religious” any wars at all are both false. Some entries mention religion, some don’t. The catch here is that to make this claim, Vox Day ignores something critically important:

2. In the introduction to Encyclopedia of Wars on page xxii, the authors note the following:

Wars have always arisen, and arise today, from territorial disputes, military rivalries, conflicts of ethnicity, and strivings for commercial and economic advantage, and they have always depended on, and depend on today, pride, prejudice, coercion, envy, cupidity, competitiveness, and a sense of injustice. But for much of the world before the 17th century, these “reasons” for war were explained and justified, at least for the participants, by religion. Then, around the middle of the 17th century, Europeans began to conceive of war as a legitimate means of furthering the interests of individual sovereigns. (Emphasis mine).

So. Have most of our wars been about religion? According to the authors of Encyclopedia of Religion, for the people who started them, mostly not. For the people fighting them, they mostly have been.

My friend, who was researching with me, un-shared the image when we realized most of the sources… weren’t.

I’m a seminary student seeking ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Why am I sharing this if it makes religion look bad?

Because I don’t think it does. First, as a person invested in a particular religion with a particular truth claim, I think the truth matters. It does Christianity no favors to claim to be in possession of truth while dealing in lies. Lies are not appropriate in support of truth.

Second, I don’t believe religion alone makes people violent. I think people are already violent, and they use religion as an excuse. I think it’s dangerous when people outsource their moral reasoning to their faith communities. I think there is indeed a grave danger of allowing God to be prejudiced on our behalf.

Are atheists also violent? Of course. Is religion, as Phillips and Axelrod suggest, often used as an excuse for violence? Absolutely. Shall we then do away with religion? Certainly not! We shall do away with violence, which has been propped up by religion and atheism alike, and caused by the reasons Phillips and Axelrod cite.

I suspect more than a few unkind religious people would have the proverbial wind taken out of their sails if they were deprived of their religion – just as more than a few unkind atheists would if they were deprived of their atheism.

The point of all this: The claim the meme is responding to, that religion is solely responsible for wars, is overly simplistic rubbish. Also, the counter-claim put forth in the meme, that “The #1 cause of war, death, and suffering is atheistic communism” is also rubbish.

So what is “The #1 cause of wars?”

As I’m confident my Church History II Professor Dr. Heather Vacek would say of the #1 cause of wars… “It’s complicated.”

About David M. Schell






24 responses to “Fact Check: Religious Wars: Only 123 of 1763?”

  1. Chris Develing Avatar
    Chris Develing


    I read your article on religion and war where you debunk the claims by Vox Day.

    Interesting article. Thank you for your hard work. I have looked for the encyclopedia myself and must admit you are the better man in the world of google. I thought it was simply not online. But it is.

    I have one thing to remark though. There is another encyclopedia, one that is newer, which is also being cited. And in this case it’s even said that only 6% of the wars were religious in nature. This is the encyclopedia by Gordon Martel.

    So this is interesting because if this was independent research it may confirm what Vox Day probably found.

    Don’t worry, my source is not carm. org. Article down below. If you happen to find that new encyclopedia as well, I would be very happy to hear about it 🙂



    1. David M Schell Avatar

      Thanks for the heads-up. I couldn’t find the book by Gordon Martel, but since Stand to Reason didn’t mention a page number, I suspect it’s much the same scenario, where somebody crunched numbers on an inaccessible book and then made the claim. Either that or they just made it up wholesale, or stole it from someone who did, because they seem to be the earliest source for the claim, and don’t provide a page number.

      The Institute for Economics and Peace report doesn’t debunk the claim either; it says this:

      Religion is not the main cause of conflicts today. Whilst
      religion has evidently been a cause of many conflicts
      throughout history it is by no means the only reason for
      conflict. Surveying the state of 35 armed conflicts from 2013,
      religious elements did not play a role in 14, or 40 per cent.

      It says little about the historic role of religion in wars, particularly for the participants, because that’s not the focus of the study.

      Gosh; it’s like whack-a-mole. Put down one bit of false information and another one comes along to take its place. The Christian “apologists” don’t seem to have any taste for nuance these days, or for evidence. It seems like it’s just a matter of when an atheist says something, they have to find (or invent) evidence to “debunk” it. It’s knee-jerk, and it’s not doing us any good.

      1. Chris Develing Avatar
        Chris Develing

        You make valid points.

        But honestly what do you think of the method used by Vox Day? I’m still open to the idea that he didn’t just search “religion” but actually went over every single war to interpret for himself if religion played a role.

        If this is the case (and I plan on doing the same research myself thanks to you finding the online encyclopedia) would you say his research has some validity?

        Because even if religion is mentioned in the description of the war, that doesn’t mean the war had a religious motive.

        One example of this I saw in the book, is a war between the newly founded Indonesian government and a muslim region they wanted to annex. The book describes how the muslim region wanted to remain autonomous and protect its religious law-system. Religion is mentioned but the motives were obviousely government centered.

        I’d love to hear your opinion on this before I start my research which will be an attempt to lay down a decicive article on this very issue of what the mentioned encyclopedia says.

        I’m a Christian so I’m pleased to read about your efforts to be honest about our own back yard. I agree wholeheartedly.

        By the way, if my English contains grammatical mistakes, please understand that I’m not a native speaker but a Dutchman from Europe.



        1. David M Schell Avatar

          I’m open to the possibility that he used different methodology than I assumed he did as well, but what he says is still disingenuous – that the authors of the encyclopedia he read saw fit to classify some wars as religious and others as not religious – in contradiction to the authors’ own preface.

          The preface said, “…for much of the world before the 17th century, these “reasons” for war were explained and justified, at least for the participants, by religion.”

          I didn’t notice any particular issues with your English. My Christology professor, Dr. Edwin Chr. van Driel, is also a Dutchman. You both have excellent written English. (I can’t say anything about your spoken English because I haven’t heard you speak, but I assume something similar).

          1. Chris Develing Avatar
            Chris Develing

            Yes, I was thinking about the preface. I suppose what could save Day’s argument to figure out if everything after the 17th century is much less about religion and if so, how many wars are they in number.

            I can imagine how they would have every single war documented since then (with the benefit of the printing press) but not before then. What I mean is, perhaps the number of wars after the 17th century in their book is much higher than the number of wars before, making his statement nog that inaccurate. Because if that’s the case, then the preface is the one which lacks proper context (the numbers).

            I guess this means that – apart from going through all of the records – I have to keep track of the number of wars before and after the 17th century. I may as well cancel my day job, lol.

            I’ve just looked at Vox Day’s book again. He says that the authors “categorized” those 123 wars as religious “for one reason or another”. I think he does slightly give the impression that the authors made categories but personally I’m fine with the fact they mention religion in their descriptions where as they did not for the overwhelming majority of wars.

            Thanks for the compliment. My spoken English is almost at the level of a native speaker from America. I’ve even fooled an American once. I thank subtitled movies for that mostly. I work for an apologetic organisation and I’ve narrated and written some English video’s including a sort of spoken word thing on the issue of abortion.

            Nice to hear you have a Dutch professor. I’d ask you to say hello to him but we Dutch are way to down to earth for that kind of stuf 😀

            Greetings from The Hague

      2. Brett Kunkle Avatar
        Brett Kunkle

        If I’ve understood you correctly, you think the author’s simple summary statement in the introduction should be preferred over the three volumes of actual data on war that they catalogue? If so, why? Looking at the hard numbers, it seems much more likely that Philips and Axelrod got it wrong in their summary, failing to recognize the significance of their own work in demonstrating the lack of religious cause for war. In addition, you’re not very charitable to those whom you disagree with in regards to their “taste for nuance” or “evidence” (this from your comments in the comment section), but ironically lack nuance yourself in preferring a summary statement over the actual data AND in not doing enough homework to realize that the PDF of the Encyclopedia of Wars that you link to, is incomplete and doesn’t include the index where the authors themselves list 121 conflicts under the category of religious wars.

  2. Andrew Holt Ph.D. Avatar

    David, I own a set of the Encyclopedia of Wars. If you go to the index under religious wars, you will see the listing of 121 wars. Vox Day thought a couple of others should be added so he added two more, but the Encyclopedia (again, in the index) categorizes 121 of the conflicts it considers as religious wars. See pages 1484-85 (I think- just look in the index in Vol. 3).

    1. Denis Avatar

      David – AS I HAVE REPEATEDLY told you – The index heading OMITS (for example) :
      · Arab Israeli Wars
      · Sultanate Wars
      · Holy Roman Empire Wars
      · Jewish Revolts
      · Muslim Wars
      · Sikh Wars

      And as you have a copy of the volumes (so do I ) – IT CEARLY EMPHASISES THE RELIGIOUS CAUSES OF THOSE WARS. The only logical rational conclusion is that the index heading merely states “these wars are religious” – nowhere does it state that “This is a comprehensive listing of all the religious wars identified in the body of the encyclopedia”.

      This should come as NO SURPISE to anyone who has even read the introduction (!) which repeatedly emphasises the number of religious wars !

      So how many does A&P list as “Religious Wars” – 617 – 35% !!!

      Yes – the volume cited by theists to answer the question on religious wars – identifies 35% of wars as being religious !!

      1. Christ Hemlock Avatar
        Christ Hemlock

        That’s still lower than the reality of what Atheist kept pushing. That religion causes wars. It is a cause but not THE cause.

        They pushed the rhetoric of Religion being the cause of MOST wars so far that anything less will make them seem ingenious.

        1. LeoG Avatar

          No Hemlock. It is not. The book also does not talk about The Crusades in Africa. It does not consider those wars—this is where Europeans came to convert locals to Christianity. Thousands of thousands were slaughtered who did not want to convert.
          So when you say there were more wars in the name of atheism. You need to show the ones.
          Yes, Hitler killed many people, and the german church fully supported him. They even celebrated his birthday date. So the question is was it a religious war or not? To me it is. Church never fought wars directly.
          Also, You need to recognize and population when other wars were fought and use math to bring the level for comparison.
          So I will say this. The authors of the book at bear minimum were deceiving. I would even say that they did it on purpose to fit their narrative.

          I agree with Dennis. They are very deceiving at the least.

  3. Greg Wilson Avatar
    Greg Wilson

    Check the index for the category of Religious Wars on pages 1484-1485.

    1. Denis Avatar

      Yes – that is a list of SOME of the religious wars identified in the encyclopedia itself. It omits (inter alia) –

      – Arab Israeli Wars
      – Sultanate Wars
      – Holy Roman Empire Wars
      – Jewish Revolts
      – Muslim Wars
      – Sikh Wars
      But clearly identifies these as religious in the body .

      Relying on the index heading for the total number of religious wars would be like relying on yellow pages to identify the total number of pizza restaurants – it gives a LOWER bound.

      The volume itself identifies in toal 617 religious wars (35% of all the wars listed).

  4. Tim Avatar

    David – your words: “The claims that (1) there have been 1,763 wars in human history, and (2) only 123 of them are a result of religious causes, appear explicitly nowhere in Encyclopedia of Wars. Those numbers were tallied up by Vox Day using data from Encyclopedia of Wars. Sort of.”

    Andrew Holt’s response: David, I own a set of the Encyclopedia of Wars. If you go to the index under religious wars, you will see the listing of 121 wars. Vox Day thought a couple of others should be added so he added two more, but the Encyclopedia (again, in the index) categorizes 121 of the conflicts it considers as religious wars. See pages 1484-85 (I think- just look in the index in Vol. 3).

    David, if Andrew Holt is correct, then isn’t it appropriate to confess that your research was inadequate?

    1. Denis Avatar

      He isnt correct – I have explained his error – see above.
      I am STILL waiting for ANdrew to apologise as (to quote you) “his research was inadequate”.
      PS I also own a set of A&P.

  5. rubiks6 Avatar

    If we are looking at copyrighted material posted on the internet without permission from the owner of the copyright, are we not stealing? Just a thought to pass on from one brother to another.

    I found this page because Ray Comfort used these numbers in a sermon and I wished to verify them thinking they could be useful. I think perhaps, as tempting as it would be, I will not be using these number in discussions with atheists.

    As the article author stated, “It does Christianity no favors to claim to be in possession of truth while dealing in lies. Lies are not appropriate in support of truth.” Neither is stealing. I think it would be appropriate if links to an “Encyclopedia of Wars” pdf were removed and that suggestions that people find it through “free” sources also be removed.

    Blessings to you in Christ.

  6. Matt Avatar

    With your update, recognizing that the causes are in fact categorized in the index, I’m not sure why you’re still trying to make the argument.
    Do you have any data to support that wars have a religious cause above the 7% indicated? You seem to have posited some notion that the people starting the wars probably didn’t do it or religious reasons, but the people fighting them did? Do you have any data or methods you are using to determine what millions of people in history were thinking in their minds when they were fighting a war? These seems to be an argument from the ability to read minds.
    It seems to me that there is zero evidence that when Communists in one way or another killed 100 million people, that the soldiers thought they were really doing it for God, or that Nazi soldiers were killing for their strongly held religious beliefs rather than German Nationalism, or that WW1 soldiers were fighting for their various beliefs about Christendom as opposed to their national identity and love of their Kaiser, arch-duke and all that stuff, or that The Civil War wasn’t really about things like “abolition” or “restoring the Union”, but the Soldiers were really driven to war because of their religious beliefs.
    In short, I think you have made some claims that have no evidence at all really, and when you were corrected you should probably just fess up. I think it’s a pretty easily demonstrated that “Religion” had nothing to do with starting most wars.
    Maybe you do have good reasons you can provide to support the claim? If so, I’d be glad to see them, so I won’t be so foolish and wrong when I tell people religion had little to do with starting wars.

    1. Denis Avatar

      “Do you have any data to support that wars have a religious cause above the 7% indicated?”

      Yes – THE VOLUME CITED By theists – Axelrod and Phillips.
      It actually emphasises the number of religious wars in the introduction – and goes on in the body to identify 617 – around 35%. The index heading is not complete – and doesnt claim to be.

  7. […] M. Schell, “Fact Check: Religious Wars: Only 123 of 1763?”https://davidmschell.com/religious-wars-only-123-of-1763/Andrew Holt, “Samuel Huntington’s ‘Bloody Borders’ […]

  8. Scientific Christian Avatar

    Time to take down this article. You misrepresented the Encyclopedia of Wars, which in fact does list 121 wars as religious. Careful not to take your hatred on CARM and Vox Day out on the facts. https://apholt.com/2018/12/26/counting-religious-wars-in-the-encyclopedia-of-wars/

    1. Denis Avatar

      NOPE – The claim is correct – The volume ACTUALLY cites at least 617 of the 1770 wars as religious.

      I have repeatedly advised the source of your claim – I still see no apologies or corrections from him.

  9. Mark Landes Avatar
    Mark Landes

    I find it interesting that people remain upset about the first statement but ignore the second. You admitted that the first statement was wrong in the update. Keeping the entire post up shows your ability to critically examine new information and update your post based upon that new information. The second point makes the meme at the top even more inaccurate. Seriously, when was atheism ever used as a rallying cry for the individuals who fought the wars in the meme? The deaths these individuals caused were in civil wars and purges to maintain power. Authoritarian regimes use murder, intimidation, and loyalty tests to the regime to gain and maintain power.

    Religious institutions in most of these cases were seen as a potential source of opposition to the regimes so they were brutalized. Stalin knew this well as he restored Christianity during World War II to help bolster the war effort. https://www.rbth.com/history/331371-stalin-orthodox-church

  10. Denis Avatar

    Claim : Only 6.7% of wars are religious.
    Rationale : Philip & Axelrod’s index lists 1763 wars, but only lists 123 wars under the heading “Religious wars”.

    Issues & Assumptions
    This is predicated on the false (sic) assumption that the index lists all the wars that the body of the text has identified as religious.
    Even just a glance at the “Religious Wars” section of the index shows that it omits “Arab Israeli” wars. Not surprisingly the body of the text makes the religious aspects (of these wars) abundantly clear. That alone should trigger alarm bells that such a methodology is flawed.
    Charlemagne’s conquests are described as having an objective of “The creation of the Holy Roman Empire” – but ‘this’ does not appear in the index as a “Religious War”.
    The body of the book lists 15 “Byzantine-Muslim” Wars. The index however only lists 14 of them, omitting the war from 1030-1035. The preceding Byzantine-Muslim war of 830-841 is described in the body as “a desire for plunder motivated the Muslims”, and this appears in the index as a religious war. The subsequent war is described in the body as “a war against Muslim pirates (who having been plundering Byzantium)”. The omission is thus either an accident, or the inconsistency is a reflection of personal choice by the editors as to which religious wars to include in the index.

    The Jewish revolts of 66-73 (“Florus imposed a heavy fine on the Temple at Jerusalem … and the Jews protested the Roman procurator’s looting of the land”) , and 115-117 (“The Jews, who had long felt themselves oppressed by the Greeks … instigated a revolt … and the Roman emperor … dispatched forces to crush the rebellion and punish the Jews ” ) are clearly characterised in the body as religious, yet don’t appear in the index under the heading “Religious Wars”.

    The body of the book list nine “Muslim Civil Wars” fought for reasons such as “dispute as to the identity of the true Muslim caliph”, and “The Muslim Fatimids, who claimed direct descent from Fatima”, yet none of these nine wars is listed under the heading “Religious Wars”.

    The Russian Revolution of 1762 is described as a revolt by Catherine against her husband who “had undermined Russian national solidarity by attempting to impose on the Russian Orthodox Church his own Lutheran beliefs and practices”. Again – despite describing this religious war in the body of the text, it is omitted from the “Religious Wars” index.

    A war with the title of “Children’s Crusade” is omitted as a “Religious War”; the name alone exemplifies its religious nature – and described in the body as “French and German children intending to fight Islamic forces in a crusade to the Holy Land”.

    It (the index) excludes wars between Protestants and Catholics, such as Cromwell’s Irish Campaign; but again states clearly in the body that this is a war between rival Christian sects.

    There are many other examples where the body of the book describes the causes of the wars as religious, but the wars are not included in the index as religious wars.

    In fact there are literally hundreds of religious wars not included in the index, but emphatically identified as such in the body of the text.

    Clearly the methodology of using the index to determine the number of religious wars, is fundamentally flawed, and dramatically understates the causes as identified by the authors in the body.

    Proposed Methodology
    Given :
    • the demonstrated failure of the “Index” methodology (above),
    • the demonstrated acceptance (by theists) of the reference work (the Encyclopedia) as a suitable source for claims of the number of religious wars,

    the preferred approach is thus the somewhat laborious method of reading through the individual descriptions, and causes of each war, and where the authors have clearly stated religion as a causal factor, manually listing the war in question as a “Religious War”

    Of the first 489 wars listed in the Encyclopedia (starting with the letter A, B or C, representing 27.5% of all the wars listed(*)), 29% are categorised as religious.

    Of the 53 wars starting with A, classified in the body as religious, ONLY FIVE appear in the index under the “Religious” heading – LESS THAN 10% !

    The demonstrably flawed theist methodology understates the percentage of religious wars by a factor of around FOUR. A far more reasonable assessment based on the evidence is that between 25% and 30% of wars are religious.

    (*) Notes
    The book lists some wars as (for example) “Religion, Sixth and Seventh Wars of” – these have been counted as two wars, but have only one entry. This could result in minor variations in the number of wars.
    I am reviewing entries D to Z and will update my findings when complete.

    1. Chris Hemlock Avatar
      Chris Hemlock

      Even so Denis, I doubt atheist will still reference this. They have longed argued that Religion causes MOST wars not Some. They told it for so long that I doubt they’ll accept only 25 to 30% of wars were caused by religion.

  11. Hedzer Avatar

    Wow! Good to see that we all are trying to understand the facts about this list of wars. I simply copy-pasted the CARM url to end debates on Facebook with atheists a couple of years ago….. and it worked! These kinds of debates are fun… but in the end it doesn’t help a bit if you want people to understand or accept the opponents point of view.

    Somehow it feels good that these facts are being checked. But….

    No wait… let me say this first. I never read the Encyclopedia.

    So…. but…
    As Matt states:
    ‘Do you have any data or methods you are using to determine what millions of people in history were thinking in their minds when they were fighting a war? These seems to be an argument from the ability to read minds.’

    I have that same problem. A lot of people make claims about the intentions behind people’s intentions. Let’s take Napoleon. I think it is okay to try to understand what his motivations were. There must be letters, diaries and notes of Napoleon and the people who had to deal with him in government or military positions or his social network. We can study these notes and try to draw a conclusion… but what we still don’t know for sure… is what he really thought and what his real intentions were. He might have had a hidden agenda… or two. This goes for his soldiers as well. Some might have wanted to escape from home, get a farm somewhere in Holland, earn a lot of money, or steal it….

    And we have another problem. Let’s look at the case of William III the Dutch king of England. He started a campaign against the catholic king James to get his wife on the throne and become King of England, himself. He used religion to win his case. This move caused the Catholic-Protestant conflict in Ireland. Is this war considered to be religious? According to what I read above, it is. But, in fact (it seems) that religion was used to get into power. I don’t think it is fair to say it is a religious conflict.

    If you look at the Israeli-Arab wars… are they religious wars if Israel claims to start a secular Jewish state as a home for the Jewish people. It has a religious claim in it, but a claim for the Jewish people as well.

    Can we call the Muslim expansion a religious war? If we look at the motive, we might say so. But for the countries being attacked… it was just another oppressor who happened to push his religion on the conquered land.

    Can we call the Childrens crusades a war if they never got into a fight? We don’t even know for sure if they really thought they would have to fight or that the thought the muslims would convert to Christianity at their arrival.

    Do we count all the attacks of muslims on Europe as different wars? From what I see, they are counted as different wars…. but in fact it’s one war that took centuries. If we look at all the clashes in Spain between muslims and christians over 800 years of oppression….that 33% might be too low.

    People claim that Hitler’s war was a religiuos war, because he was baptized a christian. Other people claim it was a religious war… because he thought he was devine.

    We don’t know… but we have to change frames to see what we are talking about. I spoke to a convinced communist once. He was suprised that I dared to call myself a catholic… because of all the bloody wars and the rape of children more recently. I replied that I really am ashamed about the child rape in my church, but that he had a lot of nerve talk about bloody wars as a communist. I gave him the communist-militant-atheism mantra and the 100 million people killed by communist regimes in less than a century. His reply left me without words. He claimed that Marx and Engels never called to this behaviour. And that the communist ideology can’t be blamed for the fact that Stalin, Lenin, PolPot and Mao abused the name of the ideology. And he was right.

    If we use his defense and apply it to christianity…. we have to look at the ideology by what Jesus said in the gospel. No-one can ever claim that he fights a war for christianity, because that claim opposes the teachings of Christ… and the example he gave us. And….no-one can claim to fight in the name of God. That’s blasphemy. Jesus did not send us to war. War is against God’s will… Although I have to be carefull there. That might be considered blasphemy as well. I cannot claim that I know what an omniscient God wants. It implies that I’m almost as omniscient. This works for muslims as well. No muslim could claim that he knows what his omniscient Allah wants. He would be insulting Allah, by implying to know as much as Allah.

    I think I have to agree to the fact that if someone claims to fight in the name of God, it should be counted as a religious war. But we have to keep in mind that there is a difference between the claim (William III) and the intention.

    If we can’t determine the intention of the idiot that started the war, we can’t be sure about the 6%, the 6.7%, the 7% or the 35%.

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