Debate:What is the relationship between religion and the human tendency to kill each other?

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Some people who oppose religion say that the human tendency to kill each other is fueled by religion, or even that we would never have murderous feelings or intentions if we got rid of religion. These critics blame religion for murder.

Other people feel that religion tempers or reduces the tendency of people to kill each other ("Thou shalt not do no murder".)


No Religion?

This sounds like John Lennons Imagine song. For those who don't know what the definition of religion is, you'd better look it up. What the question really should be asking is that if people didn't believe in anything would they have reason to kill each other. Maybe if they were indoctrinated to the point where they weren't allowed to take a stance on anything. Like if people ever really needed a reason. Don't worry, if there wasn't any religion I'm one hundred percent sure people would come up with a reason to kill, or go to war. Oh, and for you Humanist out there, that's right, Humanism is a religion too.--Roopilots6 18:37, 14 April 2007 (EDT)

communism Vs. capitalism. Jaques 18:40, 14 April 2007 (EDT)
"Humanism is a religion too"
How can you possibly call humanism a religion?
Religions is about dogmas and belifs (often in one divine god) and almost allwas has bunch of traditions which everyone must follow.
Humanism is about trying to make a positive life for yourself and everybody else by following your own conscience, making the best out of everything and showing support to thoes who need it.
There isn't anything supernatural or other accpect of it which can be realted to religion in it, it is only way of describing someone, and mabye describing youself. --Nabroon 05:52, 5 March 2008 (EST)
You can call humanism a religion because it is. Your definition of "religion" is a humanistic one. Try reading religion. Humanism includes the belief that there is no god. That is, humanism has beliefs also. And Christianity has very little if anything in the way of necessary traditions. Philip J. Rayment 06:57, 5 March 2008 (EST)
Humanism has no beliefs as they could be overruled by contrary objective evidence. The fact that the evidence has not been supplied is one of the reasons I do not follow a religious belief.
You go to church doesn't you? :)--Nabroon 09:14, 5 March 2008 (EST)
I don't go to church out of tradition, and it's not strictly necessary to go to church to be a Christian. Philip J. Rayment 20:14, 5 March 2008 (EST)

Of course we would. Not all conflicts are really about religion. Oh, there may be some rhetoric about “God being on our side” and all that, but most conflicts have been over territory, and the control of resources.

Yes but would there be less?

Well of course people would still kill each other, however a lot of killing would not have happened and there would be less conflict today. The crusades, purely religious motives. The Northern Ireland situation was caused by politics, however if there was no religion, then there would be no labels by which the two sides could remain two sides, and the whole conflict would now be over. Bolly Ottihw 18:20, 20 April 2007

Kaine murdered Able because of jealousy.--jp 10:48, 21 April 2007 (EDT)

I think we would've found a reason to kill each other. But the reality is that now, conservative americans put the faith of the people as an excuse to get what they want.

Exactly. Religion isn't only a motivation - in some cases it is an excuse.

Some other reasons

Well, there's money, pride, oil... Totnesmartin 16:58, 16 May 2007 (EDT)

hey did anyone forget jeffery dahmer? he was just hungry... --Wally 19:50, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

There are a bunch of reason to fight wars that aren't based on religion. Genocide would be rarer though. It is either religiously or ethnically based and without faith the distinction between ethnic groups would be less.

This topic is a loaded question- Barnes


Whatever reasons humanity has to fight amongst each other, one fact will always be certain: Humans are creatures with an ever expanding population, living on a planet with limited living space. Therefore, if you remove every other reason for fighting wars, we will still need to fight wars simply to make room for people to live.--Elamdri 17:06, 16 May 2007 (EDT)

Poorly worded

I think the real question hear is: If their was no belief in God, would we still kill each other. The answer seems to be an obvious yes. Atheists kill as much (and according to some "facts" on this website - even more ...) than people who believe in a higher power. DLerner 10:36, 5 March 2008 (EST)

Murder in the bible

Do you not realize that God kills billions of people in the Bible, a book that we share openly with young children? If not, perhaps, the ENTIRE CAUSE, I think it is at least a good portion of it! Killing people's innocent, newborn firstborn sons in horrible ways? DROWNING EVERYBODY ON EARTH?!?!?!? So much killing is not good for the young minds we expose it to! Also, people start wars based on religion... I HATE ALL YOU STUPID RELIGION CRAZED FREAKS!!!!!!!!!! (Also DLerner, you used the wrong "then" there... I took the liberty of correcting it, idiot!

Who kills the most?

Referring to DLerner above, I would say that in the 20th century anyway, nearly all the genocide was carried out by atheists; see Communist genocide. Over 100 million victims of atheistic communism! --Ed Poor Talk 12:38, 11 April 2008 (EDT)

Completely agreed! Look at atheistic countries like China, Russia, North Korea, and Cuba. These are not bastions of democracy, they are renowned for some of the worst human rights abuses. America was started by William Penn in 1680 as a Christian/Quaker government based on the Bible. The foundations of modern Democracy are based on the Bible specifically, not religion in general. --Jzyehoshua 17:19, 20 July 2012 (EDT)


This argument ignores hitlers religious (catholic) beliefs, and those of the German Nazi party. Also, it mistakes causality. Atheism was enforced by Comunist parties to stop political dissent; communism was not motivated by atheistic world views. Also, an Atheistic worldview is very often a democratic one - it is difficult to simultaneously entertain a materialist worldview and the philosophy that one human is inherently more important than another. Humanism in particular is very fond of democracy, as is a scientific worldview. Also, the claim that democracy is a Christian value is a flawed one. Christianity supports everything from theocracy through monarchy to socialism. Look for example at Scandinavia - quite an atheistic area - is also quite democratic. Also, this argument is looking only at Christianity (common among Christians). Islamic nations are also often un-democratic (not dictatorial). Finally, it is irrelevant to bring atheism into this discussion as it is a disscussion of religion and violence, not atheism and violence.

In reference to whoever made the above comment, I would point out that Hitler just pretended at Christianity for popular appeal, and actually persecuted Christian pastors like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others of the Confessing Church.
It is interesting that atheists expect causality when something unpleasant is linked to atheism, but do not hold criticism of Christianity to the same standard. In other words, why don't they question whether there's causality for their attacks on religious-based wars? They don't ask whether there's causality there.
Modern science is founded, like democracy, upon Christian scientists and statesmen such as Pasteur, Newton, Galileo, Kepler, etc., and for democracy, men like William Penn, John Adams, James Madison, and Roger Williams (even Jefferson was a firm believer in the Bible per the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and founding of the Virginia Bible Society, though he was probably Jewish not Christian).
Bringing atheism into this discussion is VERY relevant, since you cannot address whether religion causes violence without looking at the alternative. If religion causes violence in other words, then why does lack of religion (i.e. atheism) also cause violence? Clearly religion is not the cause therefore of violence, just one of many difference mediums through which violence can manifest. Evil people use religion like science, politics, business, and anything else where power lies to achieve their selfish desires. --Joshua Zambrano 17:07, 28 August 2013 (EDT)

I would like to bring up the treaty of tripoli which very expressly states how America was not founded by judeo Christian beliefs. Of The scientists stated above none were using their beliefs when they made their discoveries and all but Pastuer were persecuted by the church. Galileo was imprisioned for blasphemy. As for the topic at hand some of the worst genocides in history were carried out by religions for their god. The crusades, the holocaust (fun fact 94% of the Nazis were Christian including all that were present at the meeting where the final solution was decided upon), the Rwandan massacres, and don't forget the religious wars in which the Christians went around killing everyone who didn't believe that a Jew died on a stick to save us from himself. More deaths have been caused by religious attacks then all the natural disasters and plagues of the world combined.

The Holocaust was caused in case of Racism. Hitler never referred to Jews.--JoeyJ 12:40, 28 May 2014 (EDT)
Atheists have been the biggest mass murders in history bar none. See: Atheism and Mass Murder. And if it were not for God, there would be no life. Have atheists given a workable explanation for the origin of life? No! Conservative 01:09, 31 December 2014 (EST)
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