August 15, 2021

Refuting atheism's claims

 Courtesy of Gwyneth Paltrow, this constantly rehashed trope:

Every single problem in the world is due to religion; that's her conclusion. It's based on the idea that religious conflict has caused more death than any other reason in history.  Let's forget disease and famine for a moment.  And old age. Let's also set aside conflating all religions as equally guilty of war deaths.  And let's assume she meant wars of religion as opposed to non-religious conflict since she mentions war specifically.

While it's hard to estimate how many people have died due to wars, one reasonable estimate has it that 500 million people throughout human history.

If, out of the thousands of wars throughout history, I pulled out 20 of the larger wars of conquest, rebellion or ethnic conflict, I can come up with more than half of total deaths due to war that were not religious. 

1. World War II (70-85 million deaths, minus approximately 6 million Jews who were killed by the Nazis. The overall war was not religious in nature). On the conservative side that leaves 64 million deaths. 

2. Three Kingdoms War (38 million deaths)

3. Mongolian conquests (30 million)

4. Qing conquests (25 million)

5.  World War I (20 million)

6. Timur wars of conquest (17 million)

7.  An Lushan Rebellion (13 million)

8. Hui Minorities War (an ethnic, not religious war) (12 million)

9. Chinese civil war (communist revolution) (8 million)

10. Russian civil war (7 million)

11. Second Congo War (4.7 million)

12. Napoleonic Wars (3 million)

13. Hundred Years War (2 million)

14. Mfecane (Shaka Zulu) conflicts (2 million)

15. Korean War - (1.5 million

16. Soviet War in Afghanistan (1.2 million)

17. Nigerian civil war (1 million)

18. Mexican civil war (1 million)

19. Vietnam war (1 million)

20.Gallic Wars (1 million)

That's 252.4 million deaths out of an estimated 500 million deaths. Those 20 conflicts/wars alone,  caused more than half of the estimated total deaths in human history of war.  Those are non-religious in nature.  Now to be fair they are for generally three different reasons, and if all of the other wars combined were religious in nature it would be the single biggest factor in deaths due to war, and her statement would be correct.  But that is not the case.  I only pulled 20 larger conflicts out of history. I'm confident that many, many more wars were fought that were not religious and it would significantly alter that number.  Furthermore, if we look at wars of territorial expansion and rebellions and combine those as being wars about power, which essentially is what they are both about,  then 19 out of the 20 I have mentioned would qualify as such and make at a minimum 48% of wars about power.  That clearly would be the single biggest factor since the one ethnic war I mentioned accounts for another 2% leaving at a maximum 50% of all wars needing to be religious in nature for Paltrow's quote to be valid. That would include the Iraq war, the American Revolution, the American Civil War,  you get the idea.

The point is don't let this trope get past you without challenging it.

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