The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Religion Is the Cause of Most Warfare: What Twaddle!

Could something like this start a war???
Waking up this morning, I heard a BBC correspondent and interviewee opine that the cause of most organized warfare is ... religion. This is a quick, easy, cheap, and essentially misguided throw away answer that has been repeated so often it has become common wisdom. However, it is basically twaddle, piffle, useless claptrap.

This ready answer reminds me of the story told me by the president of a particular company. Back in the 1950s, he stated that this company was the world's largest of its sort. They had refurbished and expanded the place and they felt this would be a great sales tactic. Now, this president did not know if his company was the world's largest or even the nation's largest. But, he figured the claim was good for business and he would take it down if anyone contradicted him. Nobody did and in many books today you'll find that claim listed as fact. The same is occurring with this little bit of fluff about warfare.

Let's go back shall we, waaay back around 4,000 BC to Egypt and Mesopotamia. Back there, we'll find other culprits lurking in the darkness. Of course, to give you a little something from Christianity and Judaism to look at, you can check out Genesis 4 and find what I'm about to tell you. Scholars have felt that organized warfare may have had its start in ... agriculture. Yes, blame the farmers. They are the hawks you seek!!! (Not really, calm down folks.) Yes, with agriculture came land value. With agriculture came staying in one spot for an extended period of time and working the land up into something really valuable ... a "breadbasket." With agriculture comes people staying in one place. With people staying in one place comes organized society. With organized society come leaders who are in charge of a large number of people, all of whom need to eat. With large numbers of people all needing to eat, the leaders look to other valuable, food producing plots of land that other kings are in charge of and they decide to make them their own. Voila, organized warfare ... and not one single solitary angry priest required.

Now, around 2700 BC you get the first standing army in Sumer. Once you have a standing army, you need to use it. So, you attack that rival king and take his breadbasket land.

Or, perhaps your rival has lots of pretty yellow gold, or perhaps shiny silver, or hard diamonds, or some other stone or metal people were placing inordinate value on. You decide as king you need to have that instead of food, so off you go to attack with that wonderful standing army of yours decked out with bronze weapons. There you go. Other reasons to fight. And still no need to involve religion.

Through all this we have that leader or those leaders. We humans have this bizarre habit of making strong men into leaders, whether they have the brains for it or not. We also make old people leaders, wizened and full of years ... and without any skin in the war games who feel free to send other people's loved ones off to fight. Now, perhaps, just perhaps, the leaders we lift up have more to do with organized warfare than the farmers, the valuable land, or the organized society.

Then there is the general pissiness of humanity in general. Now a great many major religions will tell you that we are good people, we humans, but we have a disturbing habit, a terrible flaw in us that turns us to violence, destruction, and death. We are a generally cranky bunch who like to provoke each other, poking incessantly at each other with one silly trope, one too often quoted common wisdom that is simply BS, and eventually the poked human takes a swing. The other human shrieks, his buddies come running, the other guy shrieks, same result, and before you know it, you're at war.

Then, there's this really foul habit we humans have. We kill off, with great regularity, all those who tell us we humans have a better nature and we are intended to live together in peace ... many of whom have been great religious leaders.

Peace be with you.

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