As the situation in Gaza becomes worse by the day, the apologetic challenge this weekend is most likely to centre on the role of religion in fomenting this conflict. The question we have probably all faced on occasions is whether religion is the main cause of war, with the suggestion being made that the world would be a much more peaceful place if only there was no religion. Richard Dawkins has put it this way: “Religion causes war by generating certainty.” And John Lennon encouraged us to:
Imagine there's no countriesIt isn't hard to doNothing to kill or die forAnd no religion tooImagine all the peopleLiving life in peace
Well, we all want to ‘live life in peace’; the question is whether removing religion is what will achieve it. In a great article on the bethinking website, Tom Price details a range of responses we can make to this challenge including the following: atheist secularism has caused just as much bloodshed; it’s an abuse of Christianity that has led to violence not its genuine practice; ultimately it’s people that kill, not religion.
Now I just want to make a brief point. Dr. Thacker points out that the Twentieth Century was the bloodiest century in recorded history. Some of that has to do with the technological advances we have seen, it is so much easier to kill than it has been in the past. But the fact that guys like Hitler, Mao and Stalin doesn't prove "irreligion is more deadly than religion"as much at is demonstrates that political ideology is dangerous, especially when ideologues get into power. That is why it is so important for us to restrain the power of government, because in the hands of the wrong people it is deadly.