Last modified on February 22, 2024, at 03:34
Two U.S. taxpayer-supported Ukrainian soldiers, the one on the left wearing Nazi SS Galicia Division insignia, and on the right Nazi SS Totenkopfverbände insignia.

War is a prolonged state of violent conflict between two or more states. War has been conducted for many purposes, such as the acquisition of goods, seizing enemy territory, to satisfy the honor of the sovereign, eliminating a threat to the homeland, stamping out rival religious sects (see Religious war), or exporting political ideologies. Warfare between factions within a single state is called civil war.

Wars have often been periods of great technological innovation as each side finds itself faced with the necessity of creating new methods of offense and defense to ensure national survival.

The American Civil War, coming shortly after the Industrial revolution in the United States, introduced mechanized warfare to the world with accurate rifles, metal warships, railroad transportation of forces and material, and instant communication via the telegraph.

World War I (1914-1918) introduced air combat, chemical warfare, submarine and tank warfare, and the large scale deployment of the machine gun.

World War II (1939-1945) refined tank tactics in the form of the Blitzkrieg, and introduced large-scale strategic bombing of enemy cities. The aircraft carrier took mastery of the seas. It ended with the first (and only) use of nuclear weapons.

When the Cold War began in 1947, there have been a few international wars and many civil wars with outside actors, such as the Vietnam War and the Korean War.

World War I, World War II and Darwinism

Historically, the most prominent and vocal defenders of the theory of evolution which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists or agnostics.[1]

The founder of Darwinism, Charles Darwin, was an agnostic/weak atheist (see: Religious views of Charles Darwin).

There is historical evidence indicating that Darwinism was a causal factor for WWI and WWII (see: Irreligion/religion and war and World War I and Darwinism).

Academic studies consistently challenge link between religion and war

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been involved in over 200 wars;[2] the Russian Federation has been involved in 4.

Academic studies and other research consistently challenge the link between religion and war.[3] See: Irreligion/religion and war

Louise Ridley in her article entitled Does Religion Really Cause War - And Do Atheists Have Something To Answer For?:

But academic studies consistently challenge the link between religion and war. Research published in October from the New York and Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace looked at all of the wars that took place in 2013. It found no 'general causal relationship' between religion and conflict.

In fact, religious elements played no role at all in 14 (40%) of the 35 armed conflicts in the research, and only five (14%) had religious elements as their main cause, the report showed. All of the wars had multiple causes, and the much more common motivation was opposition to a government, or to the economic, ideological, political or social systems of a state, which was named as a main factor in nearly two thirds of the cases studied.

The Encyclopedia of Wars, an extensive study published in 2008, chronicles 1,763 wars throughout human history. It names just 123 as 'religious in nature' – a little under 7%.

The Institute for Economics and Peace report also found that having less religion in a country doesn’t make it more peaceful. The proportion of atheists in a country had no bearing on levels of peace.

Countries with the highest levels of atheism – mainly communist or former communist states like Russia and the Czech Republic – were not necessarily the most peaceful. North Korea, which has one of the lowest rates of people practising religion, was one of ten 'least peaceful' countries in world last year, according to the report.[4]

Further reading

  • Dupuy, R. Ernest, and Trevor N. Dupuy. The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 B.C. to the Present (1993)


See also


  1. Multiple references:
  2. Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2023, Congressional Research Service, June 7, 2023.
  3. Does Religion Really Cause War - And Do Atheists Have Something To Answer for? by Louise Ridley, assistant news editor at the Huffington Post UK
  4. Does Religion Really Cause War - And Do Atheists Have Something To Answer for? by Louise Ridley, assistant news editor at the Huffington Post UK