“The witch no. 1″ lithograph (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This age old question has been pondered back and forth between historians for awhile. In truth, the topic has fallacies that people all over the world come to the conclusion of. Without religion in the world there would be no belief but that wouldn’t stop the wars or would it? Many people tend to lean towards religion causes every war or we have to blame this religion because of the war. Most wars are not caused by religion, but some violent acts lead to religion based wars.
One of many fallacies of religion is that there is no between science and Christianity. If anyone did not follow the Bible or what the Pope says they were persecuted. Many great people of the past have either had to hid their discoveries, renounce or be tortured and then burned at the stake. If they did not follow the orders of the justice system of the church would deal the heretics. “Copernicus had concluded by 1500 A.D. that that the sun is the center of the solar system, but he kept his theories secret for 30 years, not wishing to draw the wrath of the Church ” (Kangas).
Then continuing to a familiar scientist name Galileo, he discovered that earth was not the center of the universe but in fact revolved around the sun. But, he received a great deal of persecution from the Church. He was given orders to renounce his beliefs or be tortured for being a heretic. But, the Church never actually convicted him just threatened him. In the end he renounced and was on house arrest the rest of life. This proved that Christians had some dark days; and a great deal of violence towards heretic. Then there were those who just wanted to discover something new to improve everyone’s knowledge. The justice-system of the Church or Inquisition and Pope drove fear to the people’s hearts everywhere making them believe Christianity was the only way.
The Church for long has been telling others what they should or should not do. “First, the Church tries to crush the “heretical” view, often through censorship and persecution of the scientist” (Kangas). Then the misconception that the earth was flat and you could just fall right off. “The earth was flat, in accordance with its many descriptions in the Bible. Catholic bishops warned Columbus that he would fall off the edge of the earth for his lack of faith” (Kangas).
During the 15th century, Queen Mary I of England held fast to her religion during her father King Henry V’s rule and then her step brother King Edward VI’s rule. Then finally just one final obstacle stood in her way of the throne, the infamous Queen Jane Grey. She was only queen for nine days and then Mary came storming in with her followers and burned conspirators and beheaded them. She locked Jane and her husband in The Tower to await their trial. She named herself queen and began her bloody reign. Throughout her reign as queen she had protestants beheaded or burned at the stake for Catholicism was the only way. Over 300 Protestants including Jane and her husband were burned at the stake or received harsher punishments.
Another event during the 15th century was the religious wars of France. It was a series of nine wars between the years 1560 and 1590. For 30 long years there was war, seven of the nine were civil wars between Catholics and Protestants. The country was divided into two due to religious differences. Huguenots versus Catholics each had their own king or queen reigning over their own people. Huguenots are today’s Protestants. Queen Catherine of Navarre took charge after the death of her husband and her son Prince Henri IV of Navarre would one day be the future king of France. But, the Medici family that had taken province in Paris, France would not cease, they would never let a Huguenot be ruler of France. Margot and Henri were soon wed in hopes to calm the feud between the two families. War continued on when the Queen ordered the deaths of any Huguenots in Paris. This was because the people of Paris wanted revenge against the Huguenots. Therefore her act cost over 30,000 lives all being Huguenots. The Prince continued to fight for his people against the Catholics. Finally, the King asked for peace but was stabbed, ending the Medici reign and Prince Henri IV was now king of France. This was the end of the religious wars of the 15th century.
The civil wars of France were quite a tragedy to the country. But, the wars would have ended long before thousands were killed, if it had not been for the acts of two very stubborn women.
“In 1562, Catherine’s Edict of January showed some consideration for the
Huguenots. The Catholics felt that this was completely out of line and
The Massacre of Vassy in March 1562 officially started the Wars
Although, they did have their reasons and their own beliefs, the two women could of set aside their differences and had religious freedom throughout the country which Prince Henri IV brought about during his reign. The Pope himself said that religious freedom was blasphemy.
In Salem, Massachusetts there was the Salem Witch trials, this is when over 25 women were hung for “practicing magic” or because of some girls playing a game. These women may have been pagan or Wiccan but because they did not “follow the Bible” they were hung. There is also another reason these women were hung. It is said that the trials were started by a group of girls. “Only an unfortunate combination of an ongoing frontier war, economic conditions, congregational strife, teenage boredom, and personal jealousies can account for the spiraling accusations, trials, and executions that occurred in the spring and summer of 1692″ (Linder). The girls would act possessed and say that the women accused were making them see things or do things. And, because the town was fearful they believed the foolish girls.
A common fallacy is that people believe that religion caused World War II. It was started when Germany attacked Poland on September 1, 1939. And, with their attack on Poland came other countries believing they had to act, which came along with six long years of war. But, then the Holocaust, the slaughter of Jews and an attempt of genocide. “To the anti-Semitic Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, Jews were an inferior race, an alien threat to German racial purity and community” (History). Hitler’s hate made the whole country of Germany turn against the Jews and therefore sentenced them to death. Jews were sent to work camps that would starve them, burn them alive, or gas them.
Then there were the secret science experiments done on Jews because to Germans they were like a lower life forms that were worthless. They performed experiments on captive Jewish twins in work camps. Over 1,500 sets of twins and only 200 survived the experiments.
“In 1942 the Luftwaffe conducted experiments to learn how to treat hypothermia.
One study forced subjects to endure a tank of ice water for up to three hours.
Another study placed prisoners naked in the open for several hours with
temperatures below freezing. The experimenters assessed different ways of
re-warming survivors” (Listverse).
The Germans during the war had no mercy on Jews and did not care if they were hurting them. Jew were forced to endure torturous experiments from scientists which is probably the worst way to die at the time.
Some may believe that Africa doesn’t have any religious wars or religious violence because they think that they are just starving. But, that is just a fallacy. The people of Uganda face a terror that isn’t just hunger but instead they face their own people. A group known as the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), led by Joseph Kony. Joseph was once a Christian but believed he had received vision from God and broke away to start the LRA or also called the army of children. He terrorizes the country of Uganda over and over again by kidnapping, raping, and murdering children. Many of the children become a part of his army which he forces to torture, rape and murder their own siblings and other children. Over 20, 000 children have been abducted, enslaved and brainwashed by this group. The LRA is at war with the Ugandan Army, it had first started as violence but turned into a civil war when officials became involved. Joseph Kony is still to this day terrorizing Uganda and has been since 1987 which is over 19 years.
What people believe to be religious wars or violence is not true. It is the people that start these acts of war or violence. People have religion and beliefs therefore they cause their wars and violence. It is what they believe so therefore they must fight for it. But, that is true to any context. If you believe in something you must stand up for it. But, what is being said is that people and their feuds, money, and beliefs cause this. One religion will believe they are more powerful than the other or another will believe they are better. So, they must prove it the world. Throughout the years, there have been wars, tears, and bloodshed. There has truly been more violence caused by religious beliefs over wars caused by religion. Some violence acts have led to religious wars or “holy wars” throughout history. But, most religious violence is just acts of hatred towards others beliefs.
Children of Uganda. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 July 2011.
History. N.p., 2008. Web. 20 Nov. 2011
Hitchens, Christopher. “Childhood’s End.” Vanity Fair Jan. 2006. Web. 9 July 2011.
Hoods and crosses: Barbara W. Tuchman. A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century.
New York: Ballantine) 1978. p. 113.
John Winthrop. The History of New England from 1630 to 1649 (Boston). 1853. II. p. 73.
Kangas, Steve. Huppi. Ed. Steve Kangas. N.p., 2010. Web. 20 Nov. 2011
Kent, Emerson. EmersonKent. Ed. Emerson Kent. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2011.
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Listverse. N.p., 14 Mar. 2008. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.
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The Team. Invisible Children. Ed. Kathyrn Lang, Jesse Eslinger, and Kevin Trout. N.p., n.d. 9 July 2011.