We often hear people say that “religion causes wars” – so if you scrap “religion” then there won’t be any more wars! Simple eh?! Let’s take a look.
What do we mean by “religion”? We mean just this: a set of beliefs and behaviour by which the members of that religion try to steer their lives. That is all.
Now two things arise from that definition. The first may surprise you: we are ALL religious! Whoever you are, wherever you live, how ever old or young you are, whatever your circumstances in life – YOU – ARE – RELIGIOUS! And the reason is very simple. Every human being who has ever lived steers their lives by a set of beliefs, a set of assumptions. “I’m not religious!” they say – but that is nonsense, for any of us.
The most devout Buddhist lives according to a set of beliefs. The most “fun-loving”, drug-fuelled, drink-sodden, sex-crazed student is also living according to a set of beliefs – a very different set of beliefs certainly, but beliefs all the same. Both therefore are “religious”, because both have a set of beliefs by which they are living their lives.
If you think of yourself as “not religious”, think again! – you are just as “religious” as everyone else on the planet. You might like to take a step back and consider the beliefs you yourself have, and by which you are steering your life – whether you are aware of those beliefs or not. Where did those beliefs come from? How and why have you taken them on board for yourself? In what ways do they affect how you live your life – such as over your time, money, relationships or pastimes?
So any deeply-held beliefs – which are by definition “religious” – are bound to clash with other peoples’, also deeply-held, but contradictory, beliefs; and sometimes those clashes can lead to war. That means we have to agree: Yes, “religion” DOES sometimes cause war! – because “religion” actually covers ALL beliefs, be these beliefs either trivial or deeply-held about the ultimate meaning of our lives, and “religion” covers ALL people! And caught up within this are the many other reasons for wars as well – which all too often come down to fear or greed.
That brings us to the most important question in all this. The problem is not actually about “religion” as such, and the problem of war will never be solved by us “getting rid of religion” – that’s impossible, because we will never get rid of beliefs. The real question we must ask, and answer, is just this: “Which of all the beliefs on offer are the most likely to be TRUE???”.
The Christian Faith, of all those beliefs on offer, sits on very, very strong credentials in support of it being TRUE, and this website plays its part in helping us consider those credentials. The stakes are indeed high – war and peace, right and wrong, truth and falsehood, life and death, God and us.
Taking these matters seriously makes a great deal of sense.