Does Religion Make Peace and War?
“Religion provides us with a set of beliefs and principles. About 4/5th of the world follows a religion and faith. With such a large amount of people who follow a religion there is also a larger amount of dispute due to differences in religion. These disputes often lead to war. There are different religions and within these religions there are different opinions. The basis of war has been caused by the variety of differences within the same religion and separate religions.
The Taliban is a group that declares itself as a political movement. The Taliban introduced itself in the 1990s, in resistance of the Soviets. The Taliban follows the religion of Islam. They believe in more orthodox and confined views. With religion, they use these views to justify themselves in dispute and war. People like “Osama Bin Laden and people of the Taliban used war as their one duty for religion” (3). Although there are people who hold different views of Islam. For example, more progressive or liberal views of Islam. The Taliban holds more extremist views of society. “The government and politics of Afghanistan emphasizes the importance of religion” (3). An example of dispute cause by the Taliban view of religion is the attack on Malala Yousafzai. The Taliban attacked Malala due to her progressive views of girl’s education. Although both the Taliban and Malala follow Islam, the difference within the same religion cause dispute and also the basis of war. Due to different religious view there are continued national and local disputes in Afghanistan.
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A significant example of a religious war are the Crusades. During the medieval times, the Crusades were a course of multiple religious wars which originated the Latin Church. The goal of the Latin Church was to spread their religious beliefs. The Latin Church desired to concentrate the mass of Islam to greater the spread of Christianity. In order to expand and secure their religion, the Crusades used suppression and force. The Crusades continued for many years. In result the Crusades were unable to achieve their goals due to their suppression and force. The Crusades caused major conflict between the Muslims and the Latin Church. With the failure of the Crusades declined with religious reformations like the Protestant Reformation. Another example includes the Protestant Reformation. The Protestant Reformation was also based on religious issues. The views of the Roman Catholic Church were questioned, and many disputes were cause with the varied views of religion. In result of the religious differences there were social and economic issues present. Due to the corrupt practices of the church, Martin Luther used his religious views to reform the church. “The relationship of religion and war has been existent from ancient times” (1). The initial start of the Protestant Reformation was due to the Ninety-Five Theses. Martin Luther used the Ninety-Five Theses to reform the church. This caused great disputes among the Catholics and Protestants. Martin Luther also cause a greater dispute between the state and church. This dispute was ended by the peace of Westphalia and caused the church to lose power.
The influence of religion is present war decisions. For example, the influence of religion during the Cold War. “The policies placed during the Cold War were influence through a religious aspect” (5). Wallace claims, as religion is emphasized more disputes of America and the Soviet Union are present. Leaders like Truman and Eisenhower used religion to justify themselves. Truman and Eisenhower used more traditional tactics to increase the nationalism in America. The use of religion during the Cold War was used in order to promote anti-communist and negative opinions against the Soviet Union. There was a revival of religion during the Cold War and it was used to fuel the war. According to Johannes Beller there is a relation between militarism and religion (2). Beller present statistics to justify that war is the origin for militarism. With the regular practice of religion, Beller suggests that there is a greater reaction towards militarism.
According to Jonathan Manthorpe religion is not the basis of war and it is used as an excuse but not a motive (7). For example, China’s quest to take Taiwan. This dispute is more heavily based on economic and political stances compared to religious. The significant reason the disputes began was due to imperialism. China desired to control the land of Taiwan and used religion as an excuse but not a real motive. Although Manthorpe’s claim is valid, the different views of the government may have been influenced from religion. Therefore, the basis of religion is present in all wars and disputes. Manthorpe suggest that the excuse of religion is used as a motive to justify failure or success.
War is not cause by a specific religion or a specific group of people. It is the differences of religion that causes these disputes. Different religions with different ideologies cause misunderstanding and difference in opinion. From the beginning of time religion has been the origin of war and disputes.”