Whenever I feel I have exhausted my well if antipathy and apathy for organized
religion, I see articles like this.The well is not as dry as I
believed.I am glad our forefathers created a secular nation, the
most secular and successful the world has ever known.
There are faith leaders from the other side of the globe that want us here in
the US accountable to their religious blasphemy laws under their penelanties
which should cause serious concern. Giving religions more political power
especially on the world stage is a threat to basic freedoms and cultures.
The only possible reason faith leaders could have for wanting to be more
involved in politics is to force their backward, outdated ideal on everyone
else. They are not content to manage their own lives, they think they are the
only ones capable of running yours.
New to Utah - Provo, UT "No question that the election of Barack Obama the
most progressive and liberal president in my lifetime influenced the younger
generation. His academic and media supporters absolutely influenced my children
to question Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints views on abortion, same
sex marriage, gays and lesbians. Donald Trumps harsh critics are plentiful in
academic leadership positions and certainly are influential on
millennials."Since you bring both politicians up, which of the
two has the personal life that you would rather your children emulate?
More power and more money. Too much is not enough.
Interesting to read all the frankly silly, because they are off-topic (and
usually factually inaccurate), comments about "religion as the cause of
war."Whether you like religion or not, are religious or not, you
can't ignore the significant International Relations literature on
Non-State Actors and transnational groups who can influence political action.Religious actors can tone down the political vitriol and bring about peaceable
change. Religious actors can also ramp up the vitriol and increase violence.I can't see a down side to religious actors trying to make the world a
more peaceful place.
The answer to the 'question' posed in the headline is simple.
Religious leaders want power, just like they always have. That is why they
became religious leaders in the first place.
>>Exactly my point! Rather than finding common ground and shared
humanity, people revert to tribalism so powerful that it is sanctioned by their
god. And we want to inject MORE of this into the world?! [That was rhetorical
said with extreme irony.]Given how our political systems are
manifestly failing to provide comfort and security for the world, failing to
help anyone find common ground and shared humanity, I'm curious where else
people look for those things if not to their churches and other such groups when
they're threatened.And no, religion is not the reason that
political systems are failing to bring humanity together.
"Anglicans are Protestants."No, Anglicans are not
"Protestants".Henry VIII declared himself the Head of the
Roman Catholic Church in his kingdom (England) when the Pope refused to annul
his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry aimed merely to supplant the Pope as
the head of the English Catholic Church, not to remodel it along the lines
approved by Protestant reformers.And Anglicans in the Colonies were
predominately loyalists. Citing a few examples of non-loyalists does not make
the rule.It is nonsense to attribute violence and death to anyone
merely because they are of one religion or none. Hence, it is nonsense to
attribute deaths to "atheists" because a non-believer carried it out.Here is a simple rule: if it is done "in the name of" religion,
then it can be attributed to that religion.The deaths you
disingenuous believers are trying to attribute to "atheism" were not
carried out "in the name of" atheism. Please prove otherwise.But the deaths attributable to Christianity, and its lingering legacy of
colonization, are done "in the name of" Christianity! (and likewise
Islam). The Churches officially endorse, support, and carry out war, violence
Not-in-Utah-anymore - , CA---Unthinking people claim just because a
person or leader was religious ... that it was all about religion.---And likewise for the religious apologistsclaim religion was not a
dominant factor in a number of wars.You make mention of atheists...
which is a religious term, and presumed to be pitted against
'believers' in a theistic religion.The whole issue of
putting 'God' on US currency, and injecting 'god' in the
Pledge of Allegiance, was very specifically to appeal to the religious aspects
of the 'fight against godless Communism'.Looking at Roman
wars before the rise of Christianity, and one can few to no examples of using
'religious' rhetoric to incite war. Roman wars were for expansion of
Rome's power, and the religion of the conquered people often was left as it
was. Even the Jews were given certain concessions, until they attempted 3
revolts.Post Augustine's pronouncement of a 'just
war', all wars became justified in terms of religious rhetoric in the West,
until the modern age, and as noted, the Cold War pitted the god fearing against
@mhenshaw – “they turn to groups with whom they have strong personal
connections”Exactly my point!Rather than finding
common ground and shared humanity, people revert to tribalism so powerful that
it is sanctioned by their god.And we want to inject MORE of this
into the world?! [That was rhetorical said with extreme irony.]@Not-in-Utah-anymore – “Does anyone really think present-day
Islamic extremists are fighting about religion?”Yes
to believe otherwise is to traffic in pure delusion.
mhenshaw - Leesburg, VA Sept. 27, 2018 6:18 a.m."I keep seeing
atheists and skeptics make that claim and I would like to see some citations of
scholarly research that back it up."The claim is false. A good
scholarly book is Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence by Karen
Armstrong that looks at the actual causes of the wars and the people who did the
fighting. Even things like the Crusades were less about religion and more about
nationalism and territory. Even the so-called 'Religious Wars' had
Protestants and Catholics on one side and Protestants and Catholics on the
other. Unthinking people claim just because a person or leader was religious
(and might have used some religious rhetoric) - like the above claim someone
made about the American Revolution - that it was all about religion. Does anyone
really think present-day Islamic extremists are fighting about religion?
They're using religious rhetoric to incite people for a nationalistic
cause. The deaths by atheistic (communist) countries in the last 100 years would
probably dwarf any actually attributable to real religious disagreements.
@Mhenshaw;" Religions have always created very strong social ties
among their adherents, so it's natural for people in war zones to come
together with their fellow believers for mutual assistance. "Another inaccuracy. Religious people love you, if you belong to their
religion. Most religions believe that THEIR religion is correct and perfect and
all others are false. The wars, that they "come together" over, are
caused by religious people that try to force their beliefs on others. Please,
read some history.
jeclar2006,"The reason religion is no longer a significant element in
European wars, is due to the horrific wars of religion that took place
before."____________________That argument has merit although the
Balkans seem to still be clinging to that region's turbulent past.Were the Crusades all about Christianity vs. Islam? Was it a clash of
expanding empires over territorial dominance? I would argue it is some of both.
Since the eighth century, Islam was encroaching deeper into Christian lands. By
the end of the first millennium, Christian states were pushing back and
penetrating into Muslim lands. There was no definitive winner in those struggles
that gave way to deeply ingrained tensions between the two great Western
religions that continue to this very day.Religion has undeniably
been a factor in wars. But that can also be overstated. When there is armed
conflict between nations of different religions, it may not matter to the
average man whether religion was the mitigating factor. But it will invariably
accentuate the conflict in popular understanding that is then passed down from
generation to generation.
>>400 years? Perhaps you missed European History from Jan Huss on, until
The Peace of Westphalia in 1648, most wars in Europe had a significant religious
component.I'm not restricting my inquiry to European nations.
Asia, Africa, the Americas -- they all had wars during that time frame too. And,
BTW, saying that some wars had a "religious component" is not the same
as saying that religion was the cause. >>Far more disturbing
than religion causing wars is the fact that whatever the causes are, in areas
where religion is ubiquitous people seem to quickly divide along religious
affiliation regardless of how they view the political differences. Of course they do. In situations where people feel their security is being
threatened, they turn to groups with whom they have strong personal connections
for help. Religions have always created very strong social ties among their
adherents, so it's natural for people in war zones to come together with
their fellow believers for mutual assistance. And I don't think most people
see political organizations as reliable sources of charity and protection.
mhenshaw - Leesburg, VA---I've previously done some cursory
research into wars fought over the last 400 years and virtually none of them
stemmed from clashing religious beliefs. Religion may have been a dominant cause
for limited periods (ex. the Crusades); but I don't think that's held
true for all, of even most, periods in history. (It certainly wasn't true
for the 20th century).---400 years? Perhaps you missed
European History from Jan Huss on, until The Peace of Westphalia in 1648, most
wars in Europe had a significant religious component.The 30 Years
War, 1618-1648, was begun when the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II imposed
restrictions on non-Catholic religions . The Protestant states which were then
part of the Holy Roman Empire, and had obtained freedom to practice their
religion under the Peace of Augsburg, ending an earlier war of religion.The resulting war lasting 30 years, decimated the German States, and
changed the power relationships of Europe forever, accelerated the movement to
eliminate religion from the state.The reason religion is no longer a
significant element in European wars, is due to the horrific wars of religion
that took place before.
@mhenshaw – “provide a citation to scholarly research that supports
that claim.”I have no idea what the percentages are and, like
you, would welcome some research on the subject. That said, I don’t find
it the most disturbing problem. Far more disturbing than religion
causing wars is the fact that whatever the causes are, in areas where religion
is ubiquitous people seem to quickly divide along religious affiliation
regardless of how they view the political differences (i.e., people sharing
political ideology will still fight because of religious identification) . We’ve seen this time and time again in Europe of old, in current
day Middle East, Ireland, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Philippines, various Asian
countries, etc.The fact that religion can trump all other
differences suggests that it is perhaps the most powerful (and divisive)
motivation human beings have ever known. Certainly it’s the most enduring
– i.e., most political ideologies are short lived by historical standards.
Bigger role=more power
Craig Clark,Thank you for providing accurate history for the atheist.I feel that better religion defends itself/freedom to worship against
aggression, while worse religion seeks to compel others to believe. This is of course why missionaries seek to find, teach, and persuade, with
boldness but no compulsion. It is also why groups such as ISIS try to use
violence/compulsion. There is a huge difference in the quality/core of the
respective religions. Some atheists seek to conflate all religion as one belief
system, which it is not.I wonder how many atheists are even aware
that the very neighborhoods they live in are improved because of religious
neighbors. Less gangs and violence; more honesty, goodness, decency, respect.
But sometimes it just doesn't sink in.
The Atheist,"As Christian colonialism recedes, it leaves conflict and
disputes that have been smoldering for generations. The US War of Independence
was one such conflict, and was effectively Protestants against
Anglicans."____________________Anglicans are Protestants.
General Washington was himself an Anglican leading an Army that included
Protestants, Catholics, and non-believers. Jews also took sides and like
Christians, some colonial Jews supported independence while others remained
loyal to the British crown.The causes of the American Revolution
were political and economic but primarily the former. Religious strife was not a
significant root cause.
>>Really? Strange research that omitted the war...I did not
say that religion was *never* the cause of war; I said that it wasn't and
isn't the cause of "the majority of the wars in the world" as
asserted by @Fullypresent. No one questions that there have been wars over
religion. But I'm pretty certain that saying religion is the cause of the
majority of *all* wars throughout history is an overblown claim. When you
consider the total number of wars fought over just the last four hundred
years--hundreds upon hundreds--the number grounded in religion (vs political
differences) appears to be a small fraction, your off-the-cuff list
notwithstanding.So, again, I invite those who believe that "the
majority of the wars in the world have been over differences in religious and
spiritual beliefs" provide a citation to scholarly research that supports
that claim. Always happy to be proven wrong.
Moderation in all things includes religion.
Ever heard the term "post-colonial world"?The (largely
Christian) colonizing nations have ceased their imperialistic colonizing. Their
world-wide colonial empires are retracting.When Christian colonizers
established their presence in countless native cultures throughout the world,
they "evangelized" by efforts to "convert" the local natives to
"civilized Christianity."As Christian colonialism recedes,
it leaves conflict and disputes that have been smoldering for generations. The
US War of Independence was one such conflict, and was effectively Protestants
against Anglicans. Elsewhere, it is Christians against Muslims.In
classic religious fashion, they drew ideological lines that corresponded to
geo-political and economic lines: either you convert (often through threat of
force, violence or boycott), or you relocated on the non-Christian side of the
boundary.Conflicts around the world today are largely in places
where colonialism usurped power and is now receding. Native peoples are taking
back their birthright, and colonizing remnants are fighting to hold historically
illegitimate power.More religion in geo-political affairs is NOT the
What a fine and commendable event; one hopes that political leaders will pay
attention and make use of the ideas presented. Good religion has so much to
offer--really the solutions to all problems. But they can't implement those
solutions by force. As fine an idea as this is, it is swimming
upstream against an increasingly secular and atheist current. But I'll be
grateful for whatever good it can do.
“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in
almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from
authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have
taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them
were not worth a brass farthing.”Mark Twain
@mhenshaw;"I've previously done some cursory research into wars
fought over the last 400 years and virtually none of them stemmed from clashing
religious beliefs."Really? Strange research that omitted the
wars between the Shiites/Sunnis/Shia etc. that only stop when they all fight
against America's infidels. Ireland/ England? Hitler v Jews? Syria civil
war. Lebanese civil war, both over religion. Israel/Palestine. India/Pakistan.
Hindu v Muslim. That's just a few that come to mind. I'm sure
Google could provide plenty more that I missed. Your statement in not accurate.
Religion is entitled to a voice in politics. But it is just one voice among many
with no voice having disproportionate influence. Of course, it seldom works out
that way. Some voices bring money or other muscle to the table and some voices
simply shout louder than others. But equity is the ideal a free people strive
for. We are all in this together.
Question – which group of countries would you rather live in?Norway, Canada, Germany, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, Czech
Republic, Belgium, Japan.Or
Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Yemen, Egypt, Myanmar, Columbia, Iran, SomaliaThese countries are spread all over the world and thus are diverse in almost
every way. But each group has one important thing in common – level of
Separate religion from politics! Nowhere is it more pervasive than this state.
Religion is one of the driving forces for the divisiveness in today's
History has shown that when those who think they control my eternal salvation
are also in control of my temporal life, the power always corrupts them. One
need only look at Europe during the medieval ages, or caliphates of the Middle
East as a quick example.But maybe it'll be different this time
because it's my belief system seeking control.
>>One does have to consider that the majority of the wars in the world
have been over differences in religious and spiritual beliefs.I keep
seeing atheists and skeptics make that claim and I would like to see some
citations of scholarly research that back it up. I've
previously done some cursory research into wars fought over the last 400 years
and virtually none of them stemmed from clashing religious beliefs. Religion may
have been a dominant cause for limited periods (ex. the Crusades); but I
don't think that's held true for all, of even most, periods in
history. (It certainly wasn't true for the 20th century).
On the surface sounds great, however how many wars commenced between religions?
Or in the name of Jesus or Muhammad? Even in Christian Churches there are verbal
wars between the LDS Church and the Baptists, etc. as to the what true religion
is. The Anglican church has civil war going on. We have a war between Muslims
and Christians in this country not to mention the underling hate toward the
children of Judah. So how can forcing one's religious views on a nation be
good? Individuals should be active in the political world, not religious
organizations, look at history, nothing good ever came from combining religion
and government together. Religion is for the salvation of the soul, government
should be for the freedom of the individual.
@Neaderthal China? Anyone?@FullypresentThe majority of
wars have been fought over religion? I think that very few religions teach their
followers to go to war against other people because of religion. ALL of the
wars, however, have been fought over pride; the belief that someone is lesser
than another. When an individual believes they are better than another, their
treatment of that "lesser" being changes and can eventually morph into
physical aggression and war. If you remove faith and religion from politics,
then you remove the moral fiber which gives reason to your saying "Love
yourself, love your neighbor" (which saying came from Jesus Christ, if you
remember). We don't need less religion or faith. We need less pride.
How wonderful to be a part of a great church, a mighty force throughout the
world, that knows how to serve others while preserving the agency and free will
both of the recipients of its charity and the source of its funds -- the
members. As the forces of globalization continue to ramp up, with its associated
values, the church needs to be prepared to exert even greater influence on the
world stage. I fully trust Elder Christofferson to effectively represent our
interests and to do so in a way that wins over hearts and minds.
Our Congress on the Republican side along with the President don’t have
religious nor human decency as they push toward isolation in all areas of
diplomacy, economy, and human rights.The 1920-1930s gave is
isolation so extreme that our political leaders allowed Germany, Italy, and
Japan to precipitate and continue world conquests in Europe and the Pacific. We
needed Communism from Russia’s Government as an ally.We were
not minding the store.Religion is great but government should be
securing our safet and welfare. The religious society is an important part of
working together.The display today in the United Nations today was a
failur in our country’s leadership.
One does have to consider that the majority of the wars in the world have been
over differences in religious and spiritual beliefs. In that sense,
faiths/religions should not be more involved with politics. Look at what has
happened to our own country with the basic fight between non-religious or
atheists leftists and evangelical right. How about we just focus on
how to be decent human beings and unselfishly share the same planet. Love
yourself, love your neighbor, take care of the earth, be a responsible human
being with your life and those that depend on you. Just those things would
radically improve our own country as well as the world.
Religion should have no part in politics. The countries that do, lack civil
liberties for their citizens.
It's time to anchor global politics in reality instead of religion.
Religion has little to offer but division, us and them, discord. It is the
source of much strife in the world, of Shia versus Sunni, of reality versus
science, India versus Pakistan. Religion is personal. Politics is
public. You can, and it is pretty much always about this, disparage gay people
on your own time. Politics needs to serve us all.