More on atheism, religion, & war

Anthony Sacramone reviews another critique of the new atheism, “The Irrational Atheist” by Vox Day.  That author deals with the slur that religion has caused most of the world’s wars by actually counting them:

Day found 123 wars that could validly be claimed to have religion at their heart—a grand total of 6.98 percent of all wars fought. “It’s also interesting to note that more than half of these religious wars, sixty-six in all, were waged by Islamic nations,” Day offers as an aside.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pingback: More on atheism, religion, & war

  • Pingback: More on atheism, religion, & war

  • Samuel Skinner

    So only 7% were fought for entirely religious reasons? And that’s considered good? What about all the wars that wouldn’t have happened without religion as a pushing factor, allowing the demonization of the enemy and the devaluing of life? Will he count those?

    The blood of innocents is on your hands and you say “it isn’t that bad”! What sort of twisted reasoning is this? Atheism is responsible for zero wars- how many would still be alive if we didn’t count “faith” as a reason to believe in anything?

  • Samuel Skinner

    So only 7% were fought for entirely religious reasons? And that’s considered good? What about all the wars that wouldn’t have happened without religion as a pushing factor, allowing the demonization of the enemy and the devaluing of life? Will he count those?

    The blood of innocents is on your hands and you say “it isn’t that bad”! What sort of twisted reasoning is this? Atheism is responsible for zero wars- how many would still be alive if we didn’t count “faith” as a reason to believe in anything?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’m sorry, Samuel, but if atheism is responsible for zero wars, please explain to me the dozens/hundreds of wars of “liberation” waged by Marxists in the past century. Please explain to me why Communists have killed, tortured, and imprisoned millions of religious people for the sake of their ideology. Please explain to me why the few remaining Communist states in the world aggressively attack churches.

    While thankfully not every atheist is a Communist, the reality is that atheism is a central tenet of Communism, and thus atheists do indeed need to deal with the fact that when their philosophy becomes enshrined in the law, the results are gruesome.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I’m sorry, Samuel, but if atheism is responsible for zero wars, please explain to me the dozens/hundreds of wars of “liberation” waged by Marxists in the past century. Please explain to me why Communists have killed, tortured, and imprisoned millions of religious people for the sake of their ideology. Please explain to me why the few remaining Communist states in the world aggressively attack churches.

    While thankfully not every atheist is a Communist, the reality is that atheism is a central tenet of Communism, and thus atheists do indeed need to deal with the fact that when their philosophy becomes enshrined in the law, the results are gruesome.

  • Bror Erickson

    Samuel Skinner,
    Without religion far fewer people would have a problem with war at all. Pacifism as a virtue was born in the Judeo-Christian Ethic.
    It is thanks to the Bible that peace loving hippies, and us Christians, and a good majority of Jews all look forward to the day when our swords will be beaten into plows.
    But the sad reality of it is that sometimes war is necessary. Sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in (like when someone is attacking you for your faith.)
    Now i don’t think anyone here thought it was a good thing that 7% of the wars were fought for religious reasons, but it does pull the wind out of the bag of those who blame religion for war.
    And as has already been pointed out here. Atheism can be linked as the reason for many of the wars in the twentieth century.

  • Bror Erickson

    Samuel Skinner,
    Without religion far fewer people would have a problem with war at all. Pacifism as a virtue was born in the Judeo-Christian Ethic.
    It is thanks to the Bible that peace loving hippies, and us Christians, and a good majority of Jews all look forward to the day when our swords will be beaten into plows.
    But the sad reality of it is that sometimes war is necessary. Sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in (like when someone is attacking you for your faith.)
    Now i don’t think anyone here thought it was a good thing that 7% of the wars were fought for religious reasons, but it does pull the wind out of the bag of those who blame religion for war.
    And as has already been pointed out here. Atheism can be linked as the reason for many of the wars in the twentieth century.

  • Samuel Skinner

    The only leader I know of who put pacifism into practice was a Buddist, Asoka of India. After the conquests for his empire he became appaled by the violence (you kill 200,000 people!) and becaming a pacifist.

    Hmmm… I don’t know- communists commiting crimes in the name of communism. Maybe they are commiting them for communism! No, that is too obvious…

  • Samuel Skinner

    The only leader I know of who put pacifism into practice was a Buddist, Asoka of India. After the conquests for his empire he became appaled by the violence (you kill 200,000 people!) and becaming a pacifist.

    Hmmm… I don’t know- communists commiting crimes in the name of communism. Maybe they are commiting them for communism! No, that is too obvious…

  • Samuel Skinner

    Atheism isn’t a central tenet in communism. There have been religious communists. In fact early communists (Platos Rebublic) were religious. As for why they target believers, it is the same reason as why the pagans targeted Christians.

    Actually morality is impossible if you follow theistic ethics consistantly. Fortunately people have mastered the art of cognitive disodence. As for “Christianity brought pacifism” many religions advocate people when they are in the minority… and switch to the sword when they get power.

    I never fight for things I believe in. I fight for things in the real world. If you are telling me you would fight a war because people were insulting your god… you are nuts. It is good you recognize the necesity of war, but that contradicts your claim to pacifism. Saying religion is only directly responsible for 7% of the wars doesn’t exonerate it- there is blood on your hands believers. Atheism, being the absence of a belief has no wars to its name.

    On a seperate topic: Islam. As a sworn antitheist I recognize the threat it means to all that we hold dear: freedom, prosperity, porn, fun, community, family, technology, science… everything Christianity would take from us, but much, much worse. I assume that is what you are refering to when you state that “some things are worth fighting for”. But the simple fact is you simply can’t combat one faith with another. They are both built on faith and are both irrational and detached from reality. The only reason Christianity isn’t a threat is it has been brought to heel.

    So please- think about why you are a believer. Find out if the reasons you give are enough- be honest and truthful. Ask atheists for their answers. Now, more than ever we need people who think, who are willing to see their own errors and who are willing to fight to defend what is right. Please. Theists seem to think their good will fix everything or the good guys will inevitably prevail. It isn’t- you have to be willing to stand up for what is right, the risk humiliation, embaressment and shunning to tell people things they don’t want to hear. You have to be willing to face up to the fact that there are people who want you dead for no sane reason and that people are going to have to fight, to kill and to die. You may think Christianity fullfils all this criteria- it doesn’t. It is nothing more than a soothing balm that tells people what they want to hear.

    … Sorry. Sometimes I worry about the big picture. ignorance is bliss… just before war breaks out.

  • Samuel Skinner

    Atheism isn’t a central tenet in communism. There have been religious communists. In fact early communists (Platos Rebublic) were religious. As for why they target believers, it is the same reason as why the pagans targeted Christians.

    Actually morality is impossible if you follow theistic ethics consistantly. Fortunately people have mastered the art of cognitive disodence. As for “Christianity brought pacifism” many religions advocate people when they are in the minority… and switch to the sword when they get power.

    I never fight for things I believe in. I fight for things in the real world. If you are telling me you would fight a war because people were insulting your god… you are nuts. It is good you recognize the necesity of war, but that contradicts your claim to pacifism. Saying religion is only directly responsible for 7% of the wars doesn’t exonerate it- there is blood on your hands believers. Atheism, being the absence of a belief has no wars to its name.

    On a seperate topic: Islam. As a sworn antitheist I recognize the threat it means to all that we hold dear: freedom, prosperity, porn, fun, community, family, technology, science… everything Christianity would take from us, but much, much worse. I assume that is what you are refering to when you state that “some things are worth fighting for”. But the simple fact is you simply can’t combat one faith with another. They are both built on faith and are both irrational and detached from reality. The only reason Christianity isn’t a threat is it has been brought to heel.

    So please- think about why you are a believer. Find out if the reasons you give are enough- be honest and truthful. Ask atheists for their answers. Now, more than ever we need people who think, who are willing to see their own errors and who are willing to fight to defend what is right. Please. Theists seem to think their good will fix everything or the good guys will inevitably prevail. It isn’t- you have to be willing to stand up for what is right, the risk humiliation, embaressment and shunning to tell people things they don’t want to hear. You have to be willing to face up to the fact that there are people who want you dead for no sane reason and that people are going to have to fight, to kill and to die. You may think Christianity fullfils all this criteria- it doesn’t. It is nothing more than a soothing balm that tells people what they want to hear.

    … Sorry. Sometimes I worry about the big picture. ignorance is bliss… just before war breaks out.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Samuel (@6), I’m really not sure what your point is in all this, but several things need to be pointed out to you.

    First, there is a difference between Communism and communism. (In fact, adherents of the latter would argue that the two are/were not at all the same, since the former botched several tenets of the latter.) Most of the foregoing commenters were referring to the former (capital-C), in which atheism was, in fact, a central tenet. Does that make sense?

    “Actually morality is impossible if you follow theistic ethics consistantly.” Okay, I’ll bite. How?

    “Many religions advocate people when they are in the minority… and switch to the sword when they get power.” Religions don’t get in power. People adhering to religions (or claiming to do so) do. I’m not convinced you can distinguish between the two yet.

    “If you are telling me you would fight a war because people were insulting your god… you are nuts.” I could be wrong, but I don’t think anyone is actually telling you that. The main reason a Christian would use force is to defend his neighbor’s life.

    “Atheism, being the absence of a belief has no wars to its name.” Atheism isn’t the absence of belief. Surely you know that. It’s the belief of an absence of God. A rather strong belief, at that. And, depending on whom you ask, quite a lot of other beliefs, as well.

    As to your list of “everything Christianity would take from us”: “freedom, prosperity, porn, fun, community, family, technology, science”, we both know that you’re not at all serious about that. Yes, my how Christianity abhors technology, said the Christian typing on a blog. My, how Christians abhor family. And community. And fun. Are you trying to advocate for the idea that atheists value logic and intelligence or not? Because I really expect better rhetoric from something believing as much.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Samuel (@6), I’m really not sure what your point is in all this, but several things need to be pointed out to you.

    First, there is a difference between Communism and communism. (In fact, adherents of the latter would argue that the two are/were not at all the same, since the former botched several tenets of the latter.) Most of the foregoing commenters were referring to the former (capital-C), in which atheism was, in fact, a central tenet. Does that make sense?

    “Actually morality is impossible if you follow theistic ethics consistantly.” Okay, I’ll bite. How?

    “Many religions advocate people when they are in the minority… and switch to the sword when they get power.” Religions don’t get in power. People adhering to religions (or claiming to do so) do. I’m not convinced you can distinguish between the two yet.

    “If you are telling me you would fight a war because people were insulting your god… you are nuts.” I could be wrong, but I don’t think anyone is actually telling you that. The main reason a Christian would use force is to defend his neighbor’s life.

    “Atheism, being the absence of a belief has no wars to its name.” Atheism isn’t the absence of belief. Surely you know that. It’s the belief of an absence of God. A rather strong belief, at that. And, depending on whom you ask, quite a lot of other beliefs, as well.

    As to your list of “everything Christianity would take from us”: “freedom, prosperity, porn, fun, community, family, technology, science”, we both know that you’re not at all serious about that. Yes, my how Christianity abhors technology, said the Christian typing on a blog. My, how Christians abhor family. And community. And fun. Are you trying to advocate for the idea that atheists value logic and intelligence or not? Because I really expect better rhetoric from something believing as much.

  • Samuel Skinner

    Yep, it is an essential tenet- as well as egalitarianism. Are you going to tell me believing blacks are equal to whites causes genocide?

    Simple. Life isn’t valuable for theists, since it is unlimited. You can kill as many as you want and it is only a temporary inconvience. Heck, even pain, torture, illness and the like are irrelevant. The alternative is to say you can’t do these because the diety says no, but it goes into command ethics. For those who don’t see why command ethics are bad, it is a good idea to realize they are the basis of all totalitarian states. All morality implicitly relies on the idea that what happens in this life matters.

    Islam. Muhammed is the faith and Islam before the Haddith and after are very different.

    Lets see… blasphemy laws (death), apostacy laws (Islam, death), torturing the cracker (Christianity, death), lobbying against those who “insult the faith”… heck the Great Schism between Catholic and Orthodox was based on this (due to iconography).

    Atheism is an absence of the belief in God, not a belief in the absence of God. You seem not to understand that is all the word means- that is it. It doesn’t matter what “others say”- if you change the definition than I’m going to go with “well, the people we are talking about lack belief in god”. Strong atheism is the belief god doesn’t exist. Antitheism is the belief religion is bad. Rationalism is the belief supersticion is wrong and naturalism is the belief supernatural is wrong.

    I am serious. Freedom- Christains have shown a tremendous insistance on legislating morality. Blue laws, proabition, drug laws (1 in 100 adult americans is in jail), prostitution laws, gambling laws, laws involving churches (you aren’t allowed to have sex by a church- not sure if it is country wide), etc.
    Prosperity- That was overboard- Christianity hasn’t been against wealth for a long time.
    Porn- Do I need to spell this one out?
    Community- Something about “nonbelievers aren’t equal” just is so… divisive
    Fun- Moral values has been the attack phrase on new media for over 2 milenia.
    Technology and Science- Intelligent design? The idea that evidence is nothing compared to faith?
    Family- Well, if family members are heretics or gay you are supposed to shun them (required for the first). Not very “family oriented”.

    You might say “I don’t believe that”. And you probably don’t. That is because you don’t practice your religion consistantly, you don’t think it through. The fact is that there are Christians who have done this stuff in the name of the faith and you can argue with them all you like, but you will end up in a deadlock- you can’t prove your interpretation is right and their’s is wrong.

    Atheists don’t value logic and evidence. Sorry that came out wrong. Not all atheists value logic and evidence (aka Buddists, ancestor worship). Strong atheists and rationalist do. However rhetoric is technically not based on evidence and logic- merely speaking skill.

  • Samuel Skinner

    Yep, it is an essential tenet- as well as egalitarianism. Are you going to tell me believing blacks are equal to whites causes genocide?

    Simple. Life isn’t valuable for theists, since it is unlimited. You can kill as many as you want and it is only a temporary inconvience. Heck, even pain, torture, illness and the like are irrelevant. The alternative is to say you can’t do these because the diety says no, but it goes into command ethics. For those who don’t see why command ethics are bad, it is a good idea to realize they are the basis of all totalitarian states. All morality implicitly relies on the idea that what happens in this life matters.

    Islam. Muhammed is the faith and Islam before the Haddith and after are very different.

    Lets see… blasphemy laws (death), apostacy laws (Islam, death), torturing the cracker (Christianity, death), lobbying against those who “insult the faith”… heck the Great Schism between Catholic and Orthodox was based on this (due to iconography).

    Atheism is an absence of the belief in God, not a belief in the absence of God. You seem not to understand that is all the word means- that is it. It doesn’t matter what “others say”- if you change the definition than I’m going to go with “well, the people we are talking about lack belief in god”. Strong atheism is the belief god doesn’t exist. Antitheism is the belief religion is bad. Rationalism is the belief supersticion is wrong and naturalism is the belief supernatural is wrong.

    I am serious. Freedom- Christains have shown a tremendous insistance on legislating morality. Blue laws, proabition, drug laws (1 in 100 adult americans is in jail), prostitution laws, gambling laws, laws involving churches (you aren’t allowed to have sex by a church- not sure if it is country wide), etc.
    Prosperity- That was overboard- Christianity hasn’t been against wealth for a long time.
    Porn- Do I need to spell this one out?
    Community- Something about “nonbelievers aren’t equal” just is so… divisive
    Fun- Moral values has been the attack phrase on new media for over 2 milenia.
    Technology and Science- Intelligent design? The idea that evidence is nothing compared to faith?
    Family- Well, if family members are heretics or gay you are supposed to shun them (required for the first). Not very “family oriented”.

    You might say “I don’t believe that”. And you probably don’t. That is because you don’t practice your religion consistantly, you don’t think it through. The fact is that there are Christians who have done this stuff in the name of the faith and you can argue with them all you like, but you will end up in a deadlock- you can’t prove your interpretation is right and their’s is wrong.

    Atheists don’t value logic and evidence. Sorry that came out wrong. Not all atheists value logic and evidence (aka Buddists, ancestor worship). Strong atheists and rationalist do. However rhetoric is technically not based on evidence and logic- merely speaking skill.

  • Pingback: Press Room

  • Pingback: Press Room


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X