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Religion and the Cause of War Essay example

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Many times we can’t pin down the precise reason as to why wars are caused, but we can say as to why we choose to fight. We fight to defend what we believe in. Many would say that war is not caused by religion, but what exactly is religion? Religion is “Something one believes in and follows devotedly; a matter of ethics or conscience.” (dictionary) Although many things cause war, one cannot discount the role religion plays in the cause of war. According to Prominent US Catholic theologian Dr. William Cavanaugh “If one tries to limit the definition of religion to belief in God or gods, then certain belief systems that are usually called “religions” are eliminated, such as Theravada, Buddhism, and Confucianism. If the definition is expanded to include such belief systems, then all sorts of practices, including many that are usually labeled “secular,” fall under the definition of religion.” (Cavanaugh) This is a rather interesting statement, if we broaden our view on what religion actually is we can clearly see that “Religion” does have an impact on war. Some would say that religion only deals with those that believe and or follow God or gods others like Dr. Cavanaugh say that religion can consist of something entirely different. With this in mind we will begin our search on the role religion has in war we will first take a look at six out of the many recognized world Religions and what their beliefs are about war. A “Holy War” or a “Just War” is how some Religions justify war. The chart below shows six religions of the world and what their stance on war is. The outer ring shows the religions that do believe in any type of war and the inner ring shows the religions that do not believe in war, as you can see there are more religions t...


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...Dictionary of World History. Oxford University Press, 2000. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Lake City Community College. 29 October 2010 http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t48.e1384

"Crusades" World Encyclopedia. Philip's, 2008. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Lake City Community College. 29 October 2010 .html?subview=Main&entry=t142.e2980>

Cavanaugh, William. T. Lyrical Ballads. London: Oxford U.P., 1967. Print.
"Civil War, American" World Encyclopedia. Philip's, 2008. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University
Press. Lake City Community College. 30 October 2010

Alchin, Linda.“Middle Ages” 16 July 2006. 24 Nov. 2010 .web.


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