Religious faith seldom causes war…

I had barely begun separating the teetering stacks of books dedicated to ancient and medieval warfare when Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod fortuitously happened to publish their three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars, a massive 1,502-page compendium compiled by nine reputable professors of history, including the director of the Centre of Military History and the former head of the Centre of Defence Studies, of what amounts to a significant percentage of all the wars that have taken place throughout recorded human history.

At the risk of providing significantly more ammunition to those who argue that religion causes war and invariably cite 1) The Crusades, 2) The Wars of Religion, and 3) The Thirty Years’ War, here is a list of all the wars that the authors of the Encyclopedia of Wars saw fit to categorize as religious wars for one reason or another….

That is 123 wars in all, which sounds as if it would support the case of the New Atheists, until one recalls that these 123 wars represent only 6.98 percent of all the wars recorded in the encyclopedia.

The encyclopedia chronicles 1,763 wars in all recorded human history…. Religious faith seldom causes war, either implicitly or explicitly. God is not the problem.

Vox Day, from The Irrational Atheist, p. 97; quoted in The Journal, A Summit Ministries Publication, May, 2008

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