Pause for Peace

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EARLY in his book ‘The God Delusion,’ Richard Dawkins asserts that religion is the cause of most wars; a claim supported volubly by fellow Humanists the World over.

As evidence of this assertion, he cites the problems of Northern Ireland and Palestine, yet later, on page 294, he accepts, ‘it is politics, not religion, that has actually been the cause of the strife in Northern Ireland.’

Strange how rarely folk repeat this acknowledgement, which necessarily undermines his whole argument, for considering the past century, I cannot identify a single conflict for which religion was in fact the root cause.

Religion played no part in the 1914-18 war, and little in the Second World War, entirely caused by the expansionist policies of Germany, with Hitler’s persecution of Jews being very much a secondary consideration for the Allies.

The ‘Cold War’ and the current tensions between Russia and the West, together with the Korean and Vietnam Wars were based on ideological differences between Capitalism and Communism; the Suez Crisis followed the Egyptian decision to nationalise the Suez Canal; the Falklands War was about ownership of land; and the numerous conflicts in Africa are largely tribal power struggles.

Religion played no part in any of these.

And even the conflicts in Palestine and the Middle East are primarily due to the Allies’ thoughtless and arbitrary creation of a new state, taking land by force from the local people.

For when I lived and worked in Lebanon I found many Christian and even Jewish Palestinians, deeply angered by the loss of their ancestral land, creating the present problems in that region.

So why should people kid themselves and try to browbeat others into believing religion is the cause of all wars, when the contrary evidence is so overwhelming?

I can only conclude it’s the irrational need to find any excuse to avoid having to accept the legitimate and entirely loving claims of Jesus Christ.

For I can’t think of a single example of Jesus encouraging conflict and his true followers should similarly be men and women of love, joy and peace.

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