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Friends, I know some of you have been soldiers and have fought for what at that time you thought was right and I can't take fault with you. Many of you have killed or seen their friends killed in battle lines and I don't have words enough to express my condolences. That said, I think all war is born of superstition. I have not looked at the history of all the wars that have been fought, but I think we can agree that the greatest percentage have been to defend a particular creed.

I contend that religion is the number one consumer of war and needs the support of state to continue. Some of you will object, I expect that, but I think if mankind was educated and every man thought for himself, we will have no wars. No man would want to kill another. No man would see another as being less human.

Here is my thought on this subject.

What are you comments?

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Comment by Claudia Mercedes Mazzucco on April 9, 2013 at 12:40pm

Onyango, I have a deep desire to “set the record straight” on the true nature of the religious experience. I agree out of my deep conviction that we must seek out the root causes for the dark side of religion and its exploitation by militants.

Comment by Onyango Makagutu on April 8, 2013 at 4:14pm

Claudia, the story is quite interesting. And I hear most Britons are not so happy about Thatcher as I had thought unless what I see on social media is wrong.

I don't disagree with you. As I have said repeatedly in my responses to you is that not all wars have a religious element, but that most looking at the history of our species have been fought with god expected to deliver victory to either side. I have also indicated that in some of these wars, the power of the respective gods was at stake, this does not mean that gods exist, no it only means these people believed they do and that the gods were concerned with them winning such wars. 

I don't know where you disagree with this.

Comment by Claudia Mercedes Mazzucco on April 8, 2013 at 2:59pm

Onyango, Let me tell you a story which is also a remembrance of Margaret Thatcher who died today in London.

There are two Islands in the South Atlantic ocean which are under British sovereignty. They have always been British territory. The people on them are British and they still owe allegiance to the crown and want to be British.

Problem is: the Falklands are situated only 290 miles (460km) off South America's coast which is Argentina’s coast. The Argentine people, therefore, have always believed the Islands must belong to the nearest country, so they convinced themselves, against History, that the Islands belong to them, though the Falklands were never (ever) under the jurisdiction of an Argentine government, except during a brief period of time between April and June 1982.

The Falklands Islands were occupied by Britain in 1832. Before the Spaniards had landed and explored them, but did not really made them part of the Spanish Empire. The Falklands were no more than two “rocks” abandoned in the vast South Atlantic Ocean. Never could I guess why Argentine people feel entitled to the islands. There is no cultural attachment that they could experience toward them. It is simply a false belief completely unconnected with reality. But in 1982, they thought the world, notably the United States, would agree with them, and Argentine President, General Leopoldo Galtieri, went to war against Britain to recover the Islands. And no God was involved.

My point is: You don’t really need God as an excuse to start a war. You only need to pass a false belief generation after generation, create a misplaced feeling of “patriotism,” and find the right moment to exploit both.

By the way, the people of Argentina never admitted defeat over the Falklands and never will. Their presidents keep renewing claim to Falkland Islands, and attempting unsuccessfully to reopen sovereignty talks.

Comment by Onyango Makagutu on April 8, 2013 at 2:00am

Claudia, I think we are talking past each other.

I don't believe god exists nor that heaven or hell or whatever other place theists believe in. All am saying is to the people involved, they believed they were in consort with gods. When Justinian fought the Persians it was not just about the glory of Rome, but their god's power was at stake too. When Peroz or Khursow I fought Rome, their god was also at stake to show whom he favoured.

Comment by Claudia Mercedes Mazzucco on April 5, 2013 at 3:53pm

Onyango, Yes, I am saying no to the idea that majority of wars involve celestial beings because there is no such a thing as a celestial being. Do you think that heaven is a place outside earth where God/gods live? We can only speak of “celestial beings” if we can previously assumed that heaven is real. I didn’t say that forgiveness should be exempt from determinism. I said that to compassion transcends determinism. For it comes from the esxperience of empathy to feel compasion toward others.

Comment by Robert Joseph Jagiello on April 3, 2013 at 8:54am

Got to go exercise now, but as I recall either the Wermacht or SS had belt buckles that said: "Gott mit Uns" or some such sentiment.

Comment by Robert Joseph Jagiello on April 3, 2013 at 8:52am

Michel: Perhaps if those poor fellows hadn't had the solace of a mythical afterlife, they would be less inclined to participate in the killing fields experience -- thus, less war!

Comment by Michel on April 3, 2013 at 8:33am

@Claudia - True, WWII wasn't per se a religion-inspired war. Perhaps it is because religions are indeed losing some ground in these modern times. But one thing is certain, in most cases the belief in an afterlife provided a measure of individual solace to the poor fellows who had to put their lives on the line.

Comment by Onyango Makagutu on April 3, 2013 at 12:46am

Claudia, I already conceded that all wars are not about a religious creed. I just said majority involve celestial beings. Are you saying no to this?

And why do you think forgiveness should be exempt from determinism?

Comment by Claudia Mercedes Mazzucco on April 2, 2013 at 5:55pm

Montaigne suggests that the better part of wisdom is to tolerate the tastes and conventions of one’s contemporaries, but in a gentle spirit of skepticism. “To understand is to forgive,” said a common French saying. Understanding and forgiveness are complementary human attitudes. To understand implies the belief that behavior is governed by deterministic laws; to forgive is an act of compassion which transcends determinism.

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