Does Richard Dawkins overstate in his book The God Delusion that "Religion is the sole cause of conflict in the world"? What are your opinions?

When we look at statistics, we can argue that religion is not just the major cause of conflict around the world. There are quite many people on both sides of the argument. So let's start a discussion on (with links and citations if possible) whether Dawkins really has overstated the fact, or does his claim correspond with evidence?

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Richard Dawkins is usually right, but violence is usually caused by a) insecurity, b)lack of empathy, and c) vigilante justice. Not necessarily in that order. I do think insecurity and religion often go hand-in-hand. The fear that if women are treated as equals, they will leave faster (the opposite is true). The insecurity of being an upright walking primate (common religious people, just look at your fingers. What else has fingers? Primates).

Religion and authority can be used to use human flaws to their advantages. People really should question everything. 

It seems to me that evil arises from allowing ideology to trump human welfare.  That ideology could be religious, political, economic, whatever.  Follow no faith that calls for blood.

My first thought about this was that the current conflict in Ukraine seems to be about Putin's efforts to expand Russian hegemony etc. . . perhaps to reestablish part of the Russian empire, not a reflection of some religious inspired movement.  Then I came across this:

I'm willing to agree with Dawkins to some extent.  That even if a conflict/war is initially an expansion of power or acquisition of land, religion seems to ultimatly inject itself  into the hostilities as a motivating factor, as if bloodshed is somehow not legitimate otherwise.  I think it might be part of the very essence of religion into which Dawkins obviously has great insight.

Religion is far from being the sole cause of conflict in the world although it is a substantial source of conflict. I would put territory and political power far ahead of religion in starting wars and causing conflicts.

I believe that the main motivator for conflict and war is greed. World War One may well have been kicked off by an Orthodox Serb dissatisfied with being ruled by a Catholic country, but the situation became a war because of the financial and territorial interests of the two power blocks involved. The US entry into the war was motivated entirely by the desire of Woodrow Wilson and his cronies to get involved in a profitable enterprise. Napoleon, when exiled to Elba, was approached by Rothschilds and offered funds (with interest of course) to raise new forces to regain his throne. This resulted in the Napoleonic wars being re-ignited and the Battle of Waterloo. Rothschilds also approached the Prussian and British governments at exactly the same time, offering funds to counter the new threat. Whichever side won, Rothschilds were sure to make a profit out of it.

The current Islamic State mess was caused by the power vacuum created by Western governments who seem to have an obsession with destabilising secular Arab regimes, again for mainly financial outcomes. I do agree though, that religion can be used as a weapon, and a method by which greedy powerful men can hide their own motives from themselves. The Spanish war on native American civilisations being a good example.

Richard, do you have a source for the remark about "Wilson and his cronies"?  I would like to read more.


Good point. Greed is a powerful motivation for war. I have my doubts government is as naïve as the standard church going religious citizen in America. Religion keeps the people ignorant. It disarms the ability to question with false promises and threats of torture if you doubt complete bull shit.

From everything I've learned about economics and finance, some people will sacrifice any values or ethics to get a little richer. War is profitable for every government. Who is killed? The citizens. Who gets richer? The government and the military industry. If you ask me, war is a bad deal for the soldier or the citizen who gets bombed. Not to mention, the citizen overwhelmed in debt because our government is unconcerned with fixing a broken healthcare system.

The United States of America slaughtered the native people of this country to obtain the land. That's a pretty big asset. The land mass of North America. This country was founded on ruthless greed. The Indian Wars was a long list of atrocities against the first people to live on the land.

Religion is a good way to cover your shit. I think that's true of all classes. Members of whatever religion is most popular in a country are thought of as good not by deed but by association. The donors to a church are more respected than the average person who slips what they can afford into a collection plate.

In a recent statement to a select committee British foreign secretory Philip Hammond doubted the chances of a swift solution to the crisis in Libya. He did however state that they had grounds for cautious optimism of an eventual resolution to the problem. He went on to explain that the dispute, being of a more political and economic, rather than an ideological nature, made it easier to get people to sit down and discuss their grievances. 'Had it been otherwise' he said 'we would have held out little hope'.

This doesn't mean that the major cause of war is religion, the major cause of war being men. What it does indicate however is the intransigence likely to be displayed in a religiously fuelled dispute as opposed to a territorial or matter-of-honour dispute.

It's easier to split up the spoils than agree to the number of angels on the head of a pin.

Where is that quotation in TGD?  My computer can't find it.



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