“Religion causes wars”
by Tom Price
The British zoologist Richard Dawkins says that, ‘Religion causes wars by generating certainty.’ And the news that constantly beams into our homes and cars reminds us that the most violent and seemingly intractable contemporary conflicts (9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, Bosnia, Sri Lanka) have taken place across lines of religious difference.
What is more worrying and relevant is that these conflicts have often been fed, in more or less direct ways, by appeals to religion. Then there have been the explicit appeals to religion in the formation of anti-Western revolutionary ideologies. And the videos of suicide bombers giving their overtly religious justifications only fans Dawkins’ fire. More broadly, our concern has grown over the role of religion in the shaping of civilizations, and in its responsibility for crystallising hostility between and among different civilizations. The suggestion that, ‘Belief leads to intolerance and ultimately to conflict’ is one of the most popular ideas around, but is it true? Is it a naive urban myth? Is it sophisticated enough? And what can Christian believers who want to stay true to the Biblical portrait of a certain hope in a certain saviour through a certain gospel say in reply?…
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