It’s often said that religion is the cause of conflict and that the world would be a more peaceful place without it. It’s a convenient stick with which to beat people of faith, but sadly it’s an idea that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. A study of major conflicts in the 20th century concluded that religion was a causal factor in s small minority, and that the greatest slaughter was carried out at the hands of atheistic regimes. So while it may still be true to say that religion does cause conflict, it’s not true to suppose that the world would be a more peaceful place without it, and here’s why:
I live next door to a children’s pre-school and during the summer months the children play outside in the yard. Their happy chatter is often interrupted by raised voices, squabbling and tears as playtime descends into conflict. As far as I’m aware they’re not fighting over religion, but over some toy or other that two children want at the same time. This tells me that it is human nature to fall into conflict and we do so for all sorts of reasons. Sadly sometimes religion can be one of those reasons, but don’t let’s suppose that we would fight any the less without it.