To begin with you can read up as to how the fact is that the argument from religious violence is not cogent.
At the conclusion of this article, we will provide a list of all of the wars which the authors of the Encyclopedia of Wars (New York: Facts on File, 2005 AD) label as religious wars.
The authors are nine history professors who specifically conducted research for the text for a decade in order to chronicle 1,763 wars. The survey of wars covers a time span from 8000 BC to 2003 AD. From over 10,000 years of war 123 wars, which is 6.98 percent, are considered to have been religious wars. Moreover, half of those involved Islam.
Now, what of “Atheist Wars”? While, for various reasons, this would be difficult to categorize, one thing certain; the 20th century was, both, the most secular and the bloodiest in human history. Moreover, it was the bloodiest because it was the most secular.
Some claim that the historical fact of the correlation of secularism and body counts in the hundreds of millions is merely a coincidence based on that which actually allowed such high body counts which, they claim, was technological advancements. They claim that such advancement made committing such atrocities more efficient. However, this is clearly false as most of those hundreds of millions were not murdered by anything more technologically advanced than one bullet to the head (or, a machine gun at most), many others were simply starved to death which requires no technology whatsoever.
The fact is that it was the secular worldview(s) which caused people to be seen as nothing but expendable bio-organisms. The hundreds of millions were not killed whilst engaged in war with other nations but were, rather, murdered by their very own regimes. They were not soldiers but civilians and they were not facing an enemy from without but from within; from their own leaders.
Author, researcher, and Socratic gadfly, Vox Day notes (within the book The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, And Hitchens):
“Apparently it was just an amazing coincidence that every Communist of historical note publicly declared his atheism….there have been twenty-eight countries in world history that can be confirmed to have been ruled by regimes with avowed atheists at the helm…These twenty-eight historical regimes have been ruled by eighty-nine atheists, of whom more than half have engaged in democidal [a “term coined to describe government-instigated mass murder of its own citizens”] acts of the sort committed by Stalin and Mao….
The total body count for the ninety years between 1917 and 2007 is approximately 148 million dead at the bloody hands of fifty-two atheists, three times more than all the human beings killed by war, civil war, and individual crime in the entire twentieth century combined.
The historical record of collective atheism is thus 182,716 times worse on an annual basis than Christianity’s worst and most infamous misdeed, the Spanish Inquisition. It is not only Stalin and Mao who were so murderously inclined, they were merely the worst of the whole Hell-bound lot. For every Pol Pot whose infamous name is still spoken with horror today, there was a Mengistu, a Bierut, and a Choibalsan, godless men whose names are now forgotten everywhere but in the lands they once ruled with a red hand.
Is a 58 percent chance that an atheist leader will murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules sufficient evidence that atheism does, in fact, provide a systematic influence to do bad things? If that is not deemed to be conclusive, how about the fact that the average atheist crime against humanity is 18.3 million percent worse than the very worst depredation committed by Christians, even though atheists have had less than one-twentieth the number of opportunities with which to commit them.
If one considers the statistically significant size of the historical atheist set and contrasts it with the fact that not one in a thousand religious leaders have committed similarly large-scale atrocities, it is impossible to conclude otherwise, even if we do not yet understand exactly why this should be the case. Once might be an accident, even twice could be coincidence, but fifty-two incidents in ninety years reeks of causation!”
And this is the point, this has been about “atheist leader[s]” who “murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules” and they do so because of their worldview(s) which has them view other humans as either beneficial to their ends or useless/worthless eaters depleting resources in the struggle for life—mein kampf / my struggle.
Conversely, let us note that removing one single religion from the stats on all “religious wars,” removing Islam’s contribution, “means that all of the other religious faiths combined only account for 3.35 percent of humanity’s wars. The historical evidence is conclusive. Religion is not a primary cause of war”—indeed, it is not even anywhere near the realm of being close.
Before getting to the list of “religious wars” note the following resources:
Curtis Gate notes, “Hitler often visited the Nietzsche museum in Weimar and published his veneration for the philosopher by posing for photographs of himself staring in rapture at the bust of the great man” (Friedrich Nietzsche, 2002 AD ed., p. 576) which brings us to the next resource.
The Faulty Conclusion and The Deicidal and Misanthropic Prophecies (specifically, the Deicidal and Misanthropic Prophecies section) - Friedrich Nietzsche predicted that those who live after what he proclaimed to be the death of God “will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto.”
For more on Nietzsche’s death of God statement, see The Mad Pagan Skeptic.
As per below, note a footnote by Vox Day:
“Ironically, the Seventh War of Religion was not a religious war. The Encyclopedia of Wars has this to say: ‘The Seventh War of Religion in 1580, also known as the ‘Lovers’ War’ had little to do with hostilities between the Catholics and Protestants. Instead fighting was instigated by the actions of Margaret, the promiscuous wife of Henry IV of Navarre.”
This is reminiscent of Richard Dawkins asking us to imagine, with John Lennon, no religion, etc. Well, even his fellow Atheist Michael Shermer took him to task in noting that governments often use religion as a façade to wage war over resources, etc. – for detail on this, see Imagine Utopia.
Ultimately, we do not have to “imagine no religion”; all we have to do is read the past century’s history and see what no religion is all about.
Here is the list of “religious wars”:
Almohad Conquest of Muslim Spain
Anglo-Scottish War (1559–1560)
Arab Conquest of Carthage
Aragonese-French War (1209–1213)
First Bearnese Revolt
Second Bearnese Revolt
Third Bearnese Revolt
First Bishop’s War
Second Bishop’s War
Raids of the Black Hundreds
Bohemian Civil War (1465–1471)
Bohemian Palatine War
War in Bosnia
Byzantine-Muslim War (633–642)
Byzantine-Muslim War (645–656)
Byzantine-Muslim War (688–679)
Byzantine-Muslim War (698–718)
Byzantine-Muslim War (739)
Byzantine-Muslim War (741-752)
Byzantine-Muslim War (778-783)
Byzantine-Muslim War (797- 798)
Byzantine-Muslim War (803-809)
Byzantine-Muslim War (830-841)
Byzantine-Muslim War (851–863)
Byzantine-Muslim War (871–885)
Byzantine-Muslim War (960–976)
Byzantine-Muslim War (995–999)
Castilian Conquest of Toledo
Charlemagne’s Invasion of Northern Spain
Charlemagne’s War against the Saxons
Count’s War, Covenanters’ Rebellion (1666)
Covenanters’ Rebellion (1679)
Covenanters’ Rebellion (1685)
Fourth Crusade [Footnote reads “Just being generous here. See Chapter XII”]
Crusader-Turkish Wars (1100–1146)
Crusader-Turkish Wars (1272–1291)
German Civil War (1077–1106)
Ghost Dance Uprising
Siege of Granada
First Iconoclastic War
Second Iconoclastic War
India-Pakistan Partition War
Irish Tithe War
Javanese invasion of Malacca
Great Java War
Lebanese Civil War
Wars of the Lombard League
Holy Wars of the Mad Mullah
Maryland’s Religious War
War of the Monks
Mountain Meadows Massacre
Revolt of Muqanna
Crusade of Nicopolis
Persian Civil War (1500–1503)
Portuguese-Moroccan War (1458–1471)
Portuguese-Moroccan War (1578)
Portuguese-Omani Wars in East Africa
Rajput Rebellion against Aurangzeb
Revolt in Ravenna
First War of Religion
Second War of Religion
Third War of Religion
Fourth War of Religion
Fifth War of Religion
Fifth War of Religion
Sixth War of Religion
Eighth War of Religion
Ninth War of Religion
Roman-Persian War (421–422)
Roman- Persian War (441)
Russo Turkish War (1877–1878)
First Sacred War
Second Sacred War
Third Sacred War
Saladin’s Holy War
Scottish Uprising against Mary of Guise
Serbo- Turkish War
War of the Sonderbund
Spanish Christian-Muslim War (912–928)
Spanish Christian-Muslim War (977–997)
Spanish Christian-Muslim War (1001–1031)
Spanish Christian-Muslim War (1172–1212)
Spanish Christian-Muslim War (1230–1248)
Spanish Christian- Muslim War (1481–1492)
Spanish Conquests in North Africa
Thirty Years War
United States War on Terror
First Villmergen War
Second Villmergen War
“All numbers taken from Prof. Rummel’s estimates at http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.TAB16A.1.GIF with some minor updates from newer Rummel figures. The calculations provided are the mid-range for a total of 148 million victims of Communism, although death tolls as high as 260 million in the twentieth century have been estimated. Note that some known Communist countries are not listed here, for example, the state murders committed by the Nicaraguan Sandinista regime and the People’s Republic of South Yemen numbered 5,000 people or less. In some cases, such as Kampuchea and Laos, the numbers reflect the victims of more than one Communist regime, for example, the Khmer Rouge ruled Kampuchea from 1975–1978, after which the Vietnamese-installed puppet government ruled until 1991. Both regimes committed mass murders, although the Khmer Rouge were ten times as deadly as their successors.”
“Prof. Rummel estimates 38.5 million people killed in all the wars and civil wars throughout the twentieth century. Averaging the published murder rates for the four largest ‘countries’ in the world, China, India, the U.S.A., and the EU, at their respective high points, I calculated an approximate global murder rate of 3.12 per 100,000 population and multiplied it by an average twentieth century population of 3.82 billion to reach an estimated 11.9 million private murder victims in the twentieth century.”
Vox Day’s book The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, And Hitchens is great on dealing with Atheists’ arguments, great on history, logic and statistics but poor on what is supposed to be Christian theology.
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