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Religion and its history and culture of holy wars

Battle of Hattin - A Holy War fought in the history
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How religions came into existence by killing thousands

When Homo sapiens just grew better than their brethren- the other members of the ape superfamily- after gaining the cognitive ability to float their thoughts, they must have been either clueless in ignorance and awe-inspired by their sudden abode or shouldn’t have given much ponderance to the purpose of life, let alone mind their daily battle for survival. The latter sounds more plausible with an inherently chaotic species in the beginning and the former happened later in their journey in the form of religion.

Contrary to the contemporary thought, religion is one of the most powerful institutions that allowed clueless Homo sapiens in the beginning to coordinate and form a society together in unity. Also, it is one of the foremost reasons why society and culture unfolded the way they are today. Likewise the status quo, the beginning of religions was not without bloodshed.

In fact, almost every religion as an institution today is built on the boneyards of thousands of lives that did not accept its sanctity.

Human beings born alone in the wilderness formed smaller tribal bands and believed in a supernatural power; practised ceremonies to appease that unknown mystical force in order to protect the group of people from ferocious beasts, extreme weathers and whatever is not in their control that is life-threatening.

There was as many number of beliefs as the number of bands. Several thousands of them. Several thousands of gods, deities, ceremonies etc. All these belief systems were united by what we call as the major religions today. Without religion as a unifying force, we might not be one global society today.

Religious wars from within

Uniting thousands of individual belief systems did not happen in peace as expected without any bloodshed. Giving up personal beliefs over an imaginary, sacrosanct entity for yet another imaginary creature cost lives of thousands of people. Apart from external threats, divisions within a religion also have led to gory killings akin to modern day wars between Shia and Sunni states. Religion back then and even today is nothing but a killing machine.

When the Roman empire asked Christians to pay respect to the sacrosanct statehood, their monotheistic beliefs disallowed them to share sanctity between two entities. This led to the widespread persecution of Christians.

After the death of Prophet the Muhammad, the Caliph Abu Bakr didn’t receive support from certain Arabian tribes who remained loyal to the Prophet even after his demise. This led to a series of attacks against the tribesmen. The war between the Protestants and Catholics has killed millions over a difference in opinion while interpreting faith.

Religion was never about peace and still, it continues to be the same. But, teachings in texts have been overwhelmingly successful in keeping the major portion of the community ignorant to the truth besides killing many.

In history, wars have been fought to save religions and to enter heavens afterlife. Deaths in holy wars were not painless. In modern times, wars have been fought to destroy religions that are considered barbarian. Wars motivated by religious reasons have been ugly. Throughout the time, religion has been one among the many reasons for some major wars despite spreading peace and harmony through their holy texts.

Are holy wars holy anymore?

But, does religion still exist in modern times and its conflicts? While faith isn’t providing meaning and purpose for our lives, it surely helps political agendas to fuels tension and kill people in huge numbers.

Faith offers no solace to the praying hands and teary eyes in the war-torn zones. It offers leeway to tyrants and oligarchs to kill the already crippled faith of millions. Hence, in fact, religion should be taken out of the war equation. It is only the greed and despotism that are fighting wars in today’s world.

Religious conflicts of the past are only used as a pretext to advance political agendas and plunder wealth from other nations. There is nothing holy in the 21st-century crusades.

Beheadings and explosions happen not only kill but to spread tension among people that the world is not a safe place.

Below is a list of some of the deadliest religious wars of our times.

Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the US and so Yemen and many others:

The Shia and Sunni divide combined with geopolitical tensions have killed and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. The conflict has spread like cancer throughout the middle east region involving countries like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Egypt. The region is highly destabilized and has seen millions of people die in the past.

Islamic State, a non-governmental extremist organization from the Islamic sect carries out massacres across the region.

Africa

The impoverished continent has no shortage of conflicts. Boko Haram, another fundamentalist organization, has wreaked havoc in Nigeria, a West African country with 250+ ethnic groups. Lake Chad Basin in the northeastern part of the country is facing one of the worst humanitarian crisis with nearly 17 million people affected, according to a UN report. The rest of the continent also faces crises with conflicts ongoing in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Sudan.

Boat People

Buddhism is one of the most peaceful religions in the world except in Myanmar. The Buddhist monks have waged war against the Muslim community that has led to the displacement of thousands. In March 2018, Time magazine reported that 43000 Rohingya parents are missing and are feared to be dead.

Read about other religious persecutions across the world.

Featured Image: By Said Tahsine (1904-1985 Syria) – http://www.discover-syria.com/photo/11177/من%20أعمال%20سعيد%20تحسين, Public Domain, Link

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