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Author Topic: Has there ever been a war fought purely on religious grounds?  (Read 1711 times)
Governor Simfan
Simfan34
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« on: April 17, 2012, 03:35:22 pm »
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One common criticism of religions and religious belief in general is that it leads to strife an violence. Now I've given that some thought, and I'm forced to wonder- are "religious wars" ever about religion? The Troubles, Islamism, the Wars of Reformation- all of these can be boiled down to secular causes on which religion was transposed. So now I ask you- has there ever been a war that was truly about religion, doctrinaire conflicts, or the like?
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 06:57:08 pm by Simfan34 »Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2012, 03:52:26 pm »
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You actually could argue some of the Wars of Reformation, but other than that I really can't think of any. Even Muhammad's conquests and those of his immediate successors had inter-city, ethnic, and urban-rural elements.
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SJoyce
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 04:43:01 pm »
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The European wars of religion (Schmalkadic War, German Peasants' War, Second War of Kappel, Eighty Years' War, French Wars of Religion, Thirty Years War, Wars of the Three Kingdoms). Sudanese Civil Wars were between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south, which was one reason for the split. The Crusades, of course; all of them, not just the ones to Jerusalem, like the Cathar and Northern Crusades. The Lebanese Civil War pitted Sunnis against Shiites against Christians. The Reconquista certainly had religious elements involved. Muhammed's wars are certainly arguable as such, and subsequent conquests as well up to the Great Turkish War. The operations of the Irgun were religiously motivated in Palestine in 1948, and the subsequent Palestine-Israel conflict can be seen as a religious war. The separation of India and Pakistan was mostly for religious reasons, and Sikh separatists in India fought for their religion as well. The Abyssinian-Adal War in 1529-1559 was a religious war between the Muslim Somalis and non-Muslim Ethiopians. The series of riots in Nigeria over the past few decades has typically had religious undertones. The Buddhist Uprising was a purely religious uprising in Vietnam.
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Governor Simfan
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2012, 05:32:51 pm »
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The European wars of religion (Schmalkadic War, German Peasants' War, Second War of Kappel, Eighty Years' War, French Wars of Religion, Thirty Years War, Wars of the Three Kingdoms).

These were wars over the effort of leaders and to either expand (Henry VIII, German Princes, Cavinist Geneva) or protect (The Holy Roman Emperor, the Pope, the French kings) temporal power.

Sudanese Civil Wars were between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south, which was one reason for the split.

Most Southern Sudanese adhere to traditional religions. This was about the North attempting to suppress the South in order to maintain control over its natural resources, as well as a good deal of ethnicist Arabism.

The Crusades, of course; all of them, not just the ones to Jerusalem, like the Cathar and Northern Crusades.
Efforts of leaders, again, to expand their powers.

The Lebanese Civil War pitted Sunnis against Shiites against Christians.

The Christians wanted to maintain the confessionalist status quo that had given them disproportionate power based off dated censuses, while the the others both wanted to increase their powers.

The Reconquista certainly had religious elements involved.

Elements or motives? It was a war over who would control Iberia.

Muhammed's wars are certainly arguable as such, and subsequent conquests as well up to the Great Turkish War.

What Nathan said, and imperial motives thereafter.

The operations of the Irgun were religiously motivated in Palestine in 1948, and the subsequent Palestine-Israel conflict can be seen as a religious war.

Come on, this is an ethnic fight over land- over whom it belongs. Jews are not only a religious group, but an ethnic one.

The separation of India and Pakistan was mostly for religious reasons, and Sikh separatists in India fought for their religion as well.

These have more to do with, again, cultural identities than actual religion.

The Abyssinian-Adal War in 1529-1559 was a religious war between the Muslim Somalis and non-Muslim Ethiopians.

Not even ethnic, but national. You are gravely mistaken if you assume Ethiopia, even the northern highlands, to be either ethnically or religiously homogeneous

The series of riots in Nigeria over the past few decades has typically had religious undertones.

These are again ethnic conflicts- pitting the northern peoples against the southerners. Nigeria has been a story of ethnic conflict- that of Northerners seeking to exert dominance over the resource-rich south and to a limited extent vice versa.

The Buddhist Uprising was a purely religious uprising in Vietnam.

This is the most likely, but still it stemmed from Diem's concerns of Buddhists' loyalty (or lack thereof) as opposed to his having a problem with them purely because he was Catholic and they were not.

In not one of these wars was one side fighting over religious doctrine or because X group was heathen or the like. Similarly, the Lebanese Civil War would not have been any different had you replaced religious groups with ethnic groups- they are in most places to a degree synonymous. Conversely, had the only thing
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2012, 06:38:46 pm »
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Conflict at the level of war is rarely started purely on religious grounds, but religious reasons have oft been used as justification (sometimes primary, sometimes secondary) and religious differences between two sides oft serve to dehumanize the enemy more than would normally occur.
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SJoyce
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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2012, 07:30:12 pm »
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The European wars of religion (Schmalkadic War, German Peasants' War, Second War of Kappel, Eighty Years' War, French Wars of Religion, Thirty Years War, Wars of the Three Kingdoms).

These were wars over the effort of leaders and to either expand (Henry VIII, German Princes, Cavinist Geneva) or protect (The Holy Roman Emperor, the Pope, the French kings) temporal power.

Sudanese Civil Wars were between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south, which was one reason for the split.

Most Southern Sudanese adhere to traditional religions. This was about the North attempting to suppress the South in order to maintain control over its natural resources, as well as a good deal of ethnicist Arabism.

The Crusades, of course; all of them, not just the ones to Jerusalem, like the Cathar and Northern Crusades.
Efforts of leaders, again, to expand their powers.

The Lebanese Civil War pitted Sunnis against Shiites against Christians.

The Christians wanted to maintain the confessionalist status quo that had given them disproportionate power based off dated censuses, while the the others both wanted to increase their powers.

The Reconquista certainly had religious elements involved.

Elements or motives? It was a war over who would control Iberia.

Muhammed's wars are certainly arguable as such, and subsequent conquests as well up to the Great Turkish War.

What Nathan said, and imperial motives thereafter.

The operations of the Irgun were religiously motivated in Palestine in 1948, and the subsequent Palestine-Israel conflict can be seen as a religious war.

Come on, this is an ethnic fight over land- over whom it belongs. Jews are not only a religious group, but an ethnic one.

The separation of India and Pakistan was mostly for religious reasons, and Sikh separatists in India fought for their religion as well.

These have more to do with, again, cultural identities than actual religion.

The Abyssinian-Adal War in 1529-1559 was a religious war between the Muslim Somalis and non-Muslim Ethiopians.

Not even ethnic, but national. You are gravely mistaken if you assume Ethiopia, even the northern highlands, to be either ethnically or religiously homogeneous

The series of riots in Nigeria over the past few decades has typically had religious undertones.

These are again ethnic conflicts- pitting the northern peoples against the southerners. Nigeria has been a story of ethnic conflict- that of Northerners seeking to exert dominance over the resource-rich south and to a limited extent vice versa.

The Buddhist Uprising was a purely religious uprising in Vietnam.

This is the most likely, but still it stemmed from Diem's concerns of Buddhists' loyalty (or lack thereof) as opposed to his having a problem with them purely because he was Catholic and they were not.

In not one of these wars was one side fighting over religious doctrine or because X group was heathen or the like. Similarly, the Lebanese Civil War would not have been any different had you replaced religious groups with ethnic groups- they are in most places to a degree synonymous. Conversely, had the only thing

European Wars of Religion, Crusades, etc. may have been fought truly by leaders to expand/protect power, but they were called by a religious authority primarily against people considered pagans or heathens. As for the Buddhist Uprising, that stemmed from Buddhist anger against the pro-Catholic policies of Diem.
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Governor Simfan
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« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2012, 08:03:23 pm »
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In not one of these wars was one side fighting over religious doctrine or because X group was heathen or the like. Similarly, the Lebanese Civil War would not have been any different had you replaced religious groups with ethnic groups- they are in most places to a degree synonymous. Conversely, had the only thing differentiating them been religion, the conflict would have likely not happened.

European Wars of Religion, Crusades, etc. may have been fought truly by leaders to expand/protect power, but they were called by a religious authority primarily against people considered pagans or heathens. As for the Buddhist Uprising, that stemmed from Buddhist anger against the pro-Catholic policies of Diem.

It was also largely because for those same reasons of power. The Church's problem with the protestants wasn't doctrinaire, it was due to fear it would lose its own temporal power, and onward.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 09:11:05 pm by Simfan34 »Logged

dead0man
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2012, 11:59:02 pm »
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So now I ask you- has there ever been a war that was truly about religion, doctrinaire conflicts, or the like?
Yes, about 7% of them.  The anti-religious aren't good with numbers and science and stuff.
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Governor Simfan
Simfan34
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2012, 09:55:29 am »
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So now I ask you- has there ever been a war that was truly about religion, doctrinaire conflicts, or the like?
Yes, about 7% of them.  The anti-religious aren't good with numbers and science and stuff.

You just copied the list, didn't you, sjoycefla?
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2012, 03:08:24 pm »
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'William T. Cavanaugh argues that what is termed "religious wars" is a largely Western dichotomy of different power configurations which serves a Western consumer audience.'

That much being said, it's hard to distinguish 'culture' from 'religion', especially in non-modern contexts, and a lot of wars certainly have a cultural component.

Diem's and Kỳ's policies were concerning not so much because they were 'pro-Catholic' as because they were anti-Buddhist.
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2012, 04:17:51 pm »
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Religious wars are truly about religion, and not just a pretext, but are almost always about other things also.  Wars are possibly never purely about one thing. 
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