Is religion the cause of war and violence in the Middle East and elsewhere?

We are consistently seeing the ghastly side of Islam with public beheadings but we also need to keep in mind the ghastly side of Christianity which was so evidence during the Crusades.

Many conclude that religion, now and in the past, is the cause of so much violence. Karen  Armstrong has just written ‘Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence’. This book has been reviewed by David Shariatmadari in The Guardian.  He says ‘We know that the slaughter of the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, the Opium Wars, the First World War, the Armenian Genocide, Stalin’s Great Purge, the Second World War and the Holocaust, had little to do with religion. Indeed, much of us was explicitly anti-religious. So how on earth have we ended up with the idea – still in evidence in, for example, the comments readers leave on news websites – that religion above all is to blame for human violence.’

See link to this review below:


John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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