Religion as an excuse for war?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by poolking, Aug 10, 2003.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Dominique -

    A considered post - but can I add a question?

    This question revolves on - do the sacred texts of any religions preach war as a principle? The answer is, as you say, no.

    In my view, war is no part of the doctrine of any faith, but again, any faith can bend the teachings to suit - which is what man does - and this is the politicising of religion that you speak of.

    So do we dispense with religion? I think not.

    Enshrined in the doctrines of all the great traditions are the means and the methods to attain the highest ideal of human possibility - an ideal that finds its only full and complete expression within the doctrines of these traditions, and likewise it is religion alone thatt presents man with the total fullness of his possibility.

    Without them, we are reduced to a secular humanism, we are prey to a science that insists we are born for nothing, and meant for nothing, in a meaningless clockwork universe.

    It is possible for religions to exist peacefully, and even co-operatively. The oldest Christian monastery in the world exists because the Moslems guaranteed its safety when asked to do so by the pope.

    If you look at the history of Japan, you will find the Buddhist monastic orders founded some of the most militant and aggressive organistations - the Buddhist warrior-monk is legendary in Japanese history - and at times they terrorised not only the population but the throne itself.

    An emperor once said "There are three things we cannot control - the weather, the rice harvest, and the monks of Mount Hiei."

    Christianity, beyond any other faith, is a religion that preaches love as a foundational and non-negotiable principle.

    War in recent history continues unabated, regardless of the decline of religious influence, and contrary to common opnion actually surpasses anything that's gone before in scale and brutality - man simply finds other reasons to justify his own ends - pure politics, economics, whatever - and the modern problem of terrorism is entirely political, religion is nothing but a cover assumed by both sides in the affair.

    Thomas
     
  2. Bandit

    Bandit Well-Known Member

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    it used to be called comparative insanity or insane religion.:D It is like an addiction. I like CR a lot too and welcome.
     
  3. sangam

    sangam Member

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    We are by nature designed to identify ourselves with groups. It gives a distinct evolutionary advantage to the human species. The corollary to this is the exclusion of everything that is not a part of the group.



    Another basic property of the human psyche is to be able to justify to oneself and convince oneself of the righteousness, superiority and at times inevitability of our positions (i.e. beliefs, adherence, etc,) and actions. This is a self protective mechanism to enable us to have an overall positive regard for ourselves.



    God realisation is supposed to lead to a state where the person can appreciate 'vasundhara kutumbakam'-that the whole world is one family.



    For the rest of us, though we can intellectualise and in moments of self-induced emotional highs be able to perceive a version of this state. Honest introspection would reveal otherwise.



    For example, recall the intrusion of a Hindu zealot who criticised the description of Hinduism in CR. how we all felt an instant solidarity and closed ranks against him. Was it not a just a small scale version of the topic in discussion.



    Differences between groups leading to physical violence are inevitable, as the history has shown ample of times.



    Though it does depend to some extent on the characteristics (core beliefs, expectations from the members and others, etc) of the group in question. It is not an exclusive attribute but a mere manifestation of underlying mechanisms
     
  4. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

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    Even more so, how many mentions are made in Scripture of feeding the hungry, caring for the ill, clothing the naked, and so on? A compared to the (seven, I've heard) verses dealing with homosexual acts?


    Off topic, Brian, I very much appreciate that you show such a lively interest in this, your creation - I've noticed already how often you ask questions that start up interesting discussions. I thank you for that.
     
  5. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

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    But...back to religion and war.

    You have something I want (land, fruit or nut trees, herds of sheep or cattle, oil - whatever).

    I have no reasonable expectation that you'll give them to me.

    I'll just take them, and kill you in the process, because that's a permanent solution.

    That's not a good thing, what I'm planning on doing.

    The only way I can turn it into a good thing is if you're evil; then I can justify it to myself (and, with good PR, to the world).

    Sooooooo, The Almighty One said I should do it. OK, not really. There's nothing specific about "take that land from those people". Slight problem there.

    I know! The Almighty One said that sinners are an abomination. And I say those people are sinners (never mind that I am a sinner, too), and abominations cannot be allowed to thrive, so I'll be serving The Almighty One if I kill them off and take what I want.
     
  6. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Were that it oh so simple, warring over socio/economics and tribal god images...

    Unfortunately we aren't that lucky...

    v/r

    Q
     
  7. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

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    Quahom1,

    For what other reasons do you think that the human animal goes to war?
     
  8. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    First off, I do not consider Humans as animals. As much as I love animals, I do not concede that Humans are equal to or lower than (for that matter), than the other critters that roam this planet.

    I opine that the two primary reasons for one to war with another is for conquest, or for defense. However, in between these are a miriad of other reasons that are very complex (and often cleverly conceived).

    Like one opponent deliberately declaring and waging war on a superior opponent, knowing full well they will lose, however also having the innate certainty that their loss, will ultimately become their win. They choose an "enemy" who loathes vanquishing, and anticipates that the winner will rebuild their "land" and lives into a better condition than it was before they began the fighting...

    Often times we fight because of misunderstanding, miscommunication, and "needs" unfulfilled. (sounds like a husband and wife, doesn't it) :eek:

    Ironically, war is one of the most intimate relationships two can have in life...:rolleyes: Why? Both opponents consider the other to be very important to them...and want something very desperately from the other (regardless of what that is).

    my thoughts

    v/r

    Q
     
  9. Out There

    Out There Servant of God

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    Regarding Palestinian and Israeli conflict....the main issue being disputed is not influenced or driven simply by a conflict of religious ideologies. Religion do have something to do with it but it's definitely not the main factor or contributor to the tug-of-war. It's all to do with land...the conflict which is commonly described as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict speaks for itself. It's not a battle between Islam or Judaism, for over 1400 years with the exception of about 2 centuries of Christian rule, the Jews have lived peacefully and survived throughout the ages within Muslim lands. No real Muslim hate Jews and I'm sure not all Jews hate Muslims, there are quite a significant number of Israelites even who are protesting their government's policies. So what I'm trying to say here is that the battle being fought over there is between Zionist Jews and Palestinian Muslims and NOT between Islam and Judaism or Judaism and Christianity or Islam and Christianity.
     
  10. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    The battle is over land that a particular people occupy, and another people want.

    The battle from outside the land is a hatred for a particular people that other people want destroyed.

    Palestinians want the Israelis pushed into the sea. Iranians want the Israelis obliterated. The president of Iran has declared as much (for example). The Egyptians tried, the Syrians tried, and I believe Jordan tried. All since 1948. They all failed.

    Israel's goal is to survive as a people and keep the land they have (that is good incentive to fight like hell).

    You are right, it has nothing to do with religion, when it comes down to brass tacks. It is one people's claim over anothers' claim over a piece of land, and it is outsider's intention to get rid of a particular people, for whatever reasons.

    v/r

    Q
     
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I don't buy any of it. During the cold war the US and Russia were at odds...and we were told how terrible the communists and Ruskies were...we lived under nuclear threat...we berated Pravda for being a the party line newspaper...Thier gov't told them much the same thing...and in truth the Washington Post, NY Times, most major media spouted the gov't hate and fear line...

    Now we know that it was all orchestrated from the tops of both sides...around the world, people want food on their table, a roof over their heads, and their babies to go to sleep without fear.

    Tis our leaders...those that gain/have the drive, the arrogance to believe they are the only way our country will survive...that transposes as they gain power into the world domination need..or at least garnering more and more power and influence.

    I've spoke with Iranians, Palestinians, Israilies, Saudis and on and on...not to say I haven't found a few radicals that follow the company line...not hard to find a racist or fanatical christian (I'm not putting either in either pot) in the US either. My way or the hiway is not dead in the lower echelon, their are those with illusions of grandeur....but over all...most people are loving, forgiving, caring, compassionate and could care less about eliminating those over the border, or taking the border or moving the border.... they would just like safety and comfort for themselves and their family...and the opportunity to assist others in this as well.

    I got my schooling in this in the past 30 years hitchhiking coast to coast, border to border, meeting and being treated wonderfully by all walks of life...tens of thousands of miles on my thumb...people are wonderful....those in power get warped by the efforts it takes to gain that office.

    imho
     
  12. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    I didn't make up Hamas' declaration to push Israelis into the sea. They published it themselves. They now control a great deal of the Palestinian government. Nor did I make up what the Iranian President said concerning the annhilation of Israel, He declared it several weeks ago publicly.

    I didn't make up Egypt and Syria attempting to attack and take over Israel. That occured in 1948, 1967 and in 1972. The first was immediatley after Israel became a "soverign" nation again, And I believe The second one was called the Six days war and the other the Yom Kippur war.

    These are historical facts, not opinions.

    v/r

    Q
     
  13. mahogan

    mahogan tgyhuj

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    Re: Religion as an excuse for war - early days

    The Crusades and the Inquisition are ofen used as examples of early religious wars. What about the spread of European culture in general, which always seems to have included an element of 'religious conversion' - from the Spanish conquests onwards.

    Going back earlier, would the Greco-Roman conquest of Egypt and the rise of Ptolemy count as a religious war - it did result in the end of Pharonic culture, evidenced in the rise of Coptic art.

    The Roman wars against the Jews - was this a religious war or a war waged by the Romans against the people occupying Palestine, which happened to be Jewish?

    Do religious wars predate monotheism?

    Were the earlier wars primarily economic and geographic rather than theological?

    On the last point, I quote Darius's and others (Middle Eastern and Ethiopian) conquest of Egypt and Egypts spread through other regions, where there was no requirement for the conversion of groups to new forms of worship.

    One could also cite the spread of the Mongol empire, which required surrender more than specific changes in worship.
     
  14. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Re: Religion as an excuse for war - early days

    One could also site the push of the Moors...they spread all the way to Spain, and killed everything in sight.

    just a thought

    v/r

    Q
     
  15. mahogan

    mahogan tgyhuj

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    What the Moors (monotheists) did in Spain seems to support the idea that religous wars are linked to monotheism.

    I would not argue that the Moors killed everything in sight, this is not supported by research, architecture or history. There are many instances of multicultural existence in southern Spain, exemplified in the Alhambra of Granda and the architecture of Cordoba and Seville. None of which helps to identify the link between religion and warfare. The history of Spain during the wars between Africans, Europeans and Arabs is very complicated and becomes political; I would argue that it was the politics that led to the massacres (this was not the first time that 'the enemy' was accused of eating babies and raping women wholesale,nor was it the last), rather than the religious aspects.

    Occupations by any invader were often bloody, with citadels given the option of surrendering or being annhialated.

    Still - religious wars and their link to monotheism, as opposed to economic wars of expansion?
     
  16. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Well, once again it is pointed out wars were anything but religious. The only thing it seems that was religious about any of the wars was the name applied to them. (personally, I find it wonderful to be found wrong about Moors).

    v/r

    Q
     
  17. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    So far as I understand it, it was the Christian re-conquest of Spain that was the bloodier war.
     
  18. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    Lasting peace can never be established while people are learning to kill. but no worries , wars will soon cease
    He (Jehovah)is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. psalm 46;9


    (Isaiah 11:9) They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.


    (Micah 4:3) And he will certainly render judgment among many peoples, and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. They will not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war anymore
     
  19. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Taking a long time to do it, Mee - you're quoting from passages more than 2000 years old.
     
  20. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    True , and Gods word always comes true
    The words found at Isaiah 2:4 are actually part of a marvelous prophecy, a prophecy about true peace—and it is undergoing fulfillment right in our own time. Before proclaiming the thrilling prospects of no more wars and weapons of war, the prophecy says: "It must occur IN THE FINAL PART OF THE DAYSthat the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it all the nations must stream. And many peoples will certainly go and say: ‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; AND HE WILL INSTRUCT US ABOUT HIS WAYS ,and we will walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem."—Isaiah 2:2, 3 So it is happening
     

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