Debate Info

Religion Secular
Debate Score:121
Total Votes:128
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Argument Ratio

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 Religion (45)
 Secular (50)

Debate Creator

timber113(796) pic

Tally: As many religious wars versus secular wars. Who killed more?

At least one sentence needs to be used to clarify why the specific war was considered religious or secular. Controversy on certain instances can be used on both sides, for example World War 2 can be considered as secular or religious, dependent on the individual. The number of people killed should be listed, the timeframe of the war, and the total tallied. All wars that one can remember should be taken into account. It is imperative that one must not use a ruler being religious or non religious as motive to start the war. Instead the motive to be considered should be the goals of the war Expanding of land or battling for resources can be considered secular, even if the individual soldiers were motivated by religion. This is because the motivation of a soldier has nothing to do with the beginning of the war. For example, Roman men had to fight wars as a part of civic duty and were taken from all classes, whether they wanted to fight or not, or whether they were religious or not. They would have been on the battlefield, which means the war would have started. The point is do not say, "Because this person is a Christian or Jew it is a religious war."  


Side Score: 57


Side Score: 64
3 points

Come on. Most wars are over religion, be it Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or any of the varieties of paganism.

Side: Religion
Cuaroc(8827) Disputed
2 points

Have any facts to back your statement up?

Side: Secular
LibPatriot(328) Disputed
1 point

You are the most unreligious person on this site. Why are you contradicting my statement that religion causes wars? All Qaeda is religious. Hezbullah is religious. The Arab-Israeli war? That was over religion. Crusades? Religion. Ann Coulter said that we should "kill their leaders, bomb them, and convert them to Christianity. Religious? You betcha. George Bush and other religious conservatives sited a believe in "God" at the time of going to war with Afghanistan, and Iraq, and now we have learned nothing about our first mistake with Al Qaeda?

Side: Religion
timber113(796) Disputed
2 points

This is really lazy, I just posted a majority of wars that was not religious from a little research. Don't let 21st century Dogma get to you, most wars were not relgious.

Side: Secular
LibPatriot(328) Disputed
1 point

I am religious myself. I do not buy into "21st Century Dogma". I just believe what I feel to be right. How about we stick to the facts, eh?

Side: Religion
Thejackster(517) Disputed
1 point

Secularism has never fueled any war, religion has fueled many over history.

Side: Religion
1 point

No. Most wars are fought for secular reasons. Religion has historically been used as a tool to encourage the masses to fight. There are other ways to do this, but none as easy as capitalizing on a pre-existing belief system that permeates most of the lower class.

Side: Secular
1 point

Come on. Most wars are over religion, be it Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or any of the varieties of paganism.

So what religious war caused more death's then World War I and World War II?

Side: Secular
1 point

No wars did. World War II was the war that caused the most deaths ever. World War I was really bad, but it wasn't as horrible. World War II caused more deaths than all religious wars combined, based on my statistics.

Side: Secular

This really boils down to "How many we're killed in wars born of ignorance and delusion?" vs. "How many we're killed in wars born of other shitty things?"

I don't see that it matters.

The fact remains religiosity breeds war.

Side: Religion
timber113(796) Disputed
2 points

You are on the wrong side though. You are basically arguing that religion has killed more people when you place an argument on this side, what is your proof for said notion?

"How many we're killed in wars born of ignorance and delusion?" vs. "How many we're killed in wars born of other shitty things?"

I think you meant to say were, not 'we're' but I could be wrong. Anywho, any opinion can start a war, and people have started wars over women before. Heck, I could start a war dictating the glass is always half empty and never half full. So let us just drop everything under one umbrella and call it ignorance and bigotry on a whole.

The fact remains religiosity breeds war.

Every opinion breeds war so it is better to say opinions breed war.

Current tally for secular war: 83 000 000

Side: Secular
Euler(14) Disputed
1 point

WW2 was religious, had religious leader in the front, Vat an was backing it. It included genocide of jews... pretty much all soldier were religious in all wars...

Side: Religion
1 point

You are all missing a very important detail. That there is a big difference between Willing to do and Being capable of doing so.

for example:

I am quite sure that most of Islamists would have problems with nuking whole USA and or Europe. Killing all nonMuslims, killing billions but they are not capable of doing so, they are backward primitives with sticks and rocks but does that makes their "religiosity" more peaceful than secular societies?

Side: Religion
timber113(796) Disputed
1 point

Willing to do vs capable of doing?

Okay, lets play. How many wars have American's fought because they were willing and capable? Must be a lot. How many did they kill? A lot. So the secular community of America is just as bad as your silly example.

Side: Secular
Thejackster(517) Disputed
1 point

Most people in the US army are conservative christians, bushs war on terror was "inspired by his faith" , billions of US dollars are given to the nation of Israel every year because the population is convinced that if jesus comes back that he will be displeased if the Jews aren't in control of the holy land, even in secular conflicts there is always a religious based motivation.

Side: Religion

There have obviously been many wars that WERE secular but were talking about wars fought FOR secularity vs wars fought FOR religion. I honestly dont think there has ever been a war where secularity was a cause or goal. Maybe a factor in some cases but i dont even know about that. On the other hand religion has definately been a cause, factor, driving force, purpose, ect ect ect for a plethera of wars back as far as it has existed and continues today.

Side: Religion
Consigliere(183) Disputed
1 point

Maybe in minute detail, however wars are caused by people. Nothing more, nothing less. Humans have their differences. It's in our nature and it's how we work mentally. Our opinions decide our actions, and differing opinions will conflict and if serious enough start violent outbreak.

Side: Religion
timber113(796) Disputed
1 point

Denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis

That is the meaning of secular. So a lot of wars have been fought over secularism.

There have obviously been many wars that WERE secular but were talking about wars fought FOR secularity vs wars fought FOR religion.

No no no, this is not if they were fighting or secularism, this is to consider if it was secular or religious.

On the other hand religion has definately been a cause, factor, driving force, purpose, ect ect ect for a plethera of wars back as far as it has existed and continues today.

My long list shows that is not true.

Side: Secular
AveSatanas(4433) Disputed
2 points

Denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis

That is the meaning of secular. So a lot of wars have been fought over secularism.

I dont know what is meant by "denoting attitudes" but that definition is decent i suppose.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines secular as:

1a : of or relating to the worldly or temporal b : not overtly or specifically religious c : not ecclesiastical or clerical

2: not bound by monastic vows or rules; specifically : of, relating to, or forming clergy not belonging to a religious order or congregation

A better definition ive heard is simply put: being indifferent to religion or having nothing to do with or any opinions on religion.

That means no negative opinions either.

No no no, this is not if they were fighting or secularism, this is to consider if it was secular or religious.

Well then no shit most wars are secular. Just as most music, books, TV shows, and daily activities are secular. 99% of anything a given person does in their lifetime is secular. So i dont see what point this debate makes.

My long list shows that is not true.

No it doesnt. it is a list of wars that were secular, not that secularism was a driving force, cause, factor, or purpose. When i brush my teeth that is a secular activity, that doesnt mean im doing it because of secularism or to be secular and i dont even think of secularism when im doing it. Religion on the other hand actually fuels conflicts and IS a factor, cause, driving force, purpose, ect for many wars. There is a key difference. There has never been a war fought for secularism unless you wanna count the American Revolution but secularism was only a very small piece of that. MANY wars and conflicts in history were religiously motivated:

Crusades 1-5

The Inquisition

The thirty years war

The French Wars of Religion

The Salem Witch Trials (and all witch trials in general)

The Nigerian Civil War

Second Sudanese Civil War

The Lebanese Civil War

And an array of many random muslim and christian conquests all over the place.

And i guess ill throw in WW2 because Hitler used religion to rally troops and tried to anhiallate the jewish people AND faith

Side: Religion

There are no such thing as "Secular War", almost every war in history has had a basis in religous beliefs.

Side: Religion
timber113(796) Disputed
1 point

Dude, you are probably ten cuils away from reality. Was the Trojan war religious? Well, was it, or was it a fight over a stupid woman? What about the first and second punic wars, formulate the religious reasoning behind that.

Side: Secular
Thejackster(517) Disputed
1 point

The trijan war possibly never even happened, there are no historical evidence outside of Homers lliad that shows record any such conflictbtook place, even if it did the only record of it within homers story depicts it within a mythological stance, most likely exaggeratted.

Side: Religion
1 point

the secular votes must be trolling, nobody kills for being secular......................................

Side: Religion

I would say religious wars, because even today in the Middle East in 2015, the Islamic faith is paramount for the cause of war.

Side: Religion
2 points

1st Punic War: 400000

In Sicily, the cities of Messana and Syracuse were at war. Separate factions in Messana asked Rome and Carthage for help.The Carthaginians arrived first, but were driven out by the Romans.The Carthaginians then allied with Syracuse, thus starting war with Rome

2nd Punic War: 770000

The Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome was ignited by the dispute over the hegemony of Saguntum, a Hellenized Iberian coastal city with diplomatic contacts with Rome.[4] After great tension within the city government, culminating in the assassination of the supporters of Carthage, Hannibal laid siege to the city of Saguntum in 219 BC. The city called for Roman aid, but the pleas fell on deaf ears.

Siege of Carthage: 445000

Carthage was being hassled by Roman allies in Africa, but the previous treaty dictated they were not allowed to fight back. Carthage decided to fight which resulted in the Third Punic War because Rome retaliated. Rome also captured Greece, which is not taken into account here.

Social War: 300000

The captured allied states of Rome revolted, for independence because of no citizenship.

Mithridatic Wars (there were three) 720000+

The first was basically a fight for expansion of land between the Pontian Empire, Rome and Nicodemian Empire. The second Mithridatic and third mithridatic wars were a continuing conflict after Pontus lost the first.

Caesar's Gallic War: 700000

Caesar plundered territories to get Rome and himself out of debt.

Boudica's revolt: 150000

Boudica revolted against Rome's attempt to capture and disarm the entire Icenian tribe after the death of her husband and king.

Probus German Wars: 700000

Decline and Fall of Rome: 7000000

Total from Rome alone: 13000000

Side: Secular
Cartman(18192) Disputed
2 points

11,500,000 Thirty Years' War

Side: Religion
Axmeister(4320) Disputed
4 points

That figure is in dispute, the exact amount if unknown but estimates range between 3,000,000-11,500,000

Either way, I believe I can top that with the Second War between China and Japan with casualties of 27,000,000

Side: Secular
timber113(796) Disputed
2 points

Total from Rome: 1300000

Axmeister's addition of Second War between Japan and China: 27000000

Started due to imperialist policies of Japan.

World War 1: 37000000

Somali Civil War: 1000000

Starts over power struggle between parties. This is an account of the amount of dead soldiers.

Congo War since 1998: 5000000

Fight over rare earth.

Total: 83000000

Side: Secular
Thejackster(517) Disputed
1 point

All the wars ivolving the Roman Empire were all unanimously based on religion, it was to indoctrinate other civilizations into their customs and suppress any that differed, hence why they segregated the Jews by placing them in Palestine.

Side: Religion
timber113(796) Disputed
2 points

What are you even talking about? I don't think you read any of the reasons dragged straight from wikipedia. Nothing was about religion, in fact if what you are talking about is the truth, the Romans would have never even remotely considered adopting the hellenistic gods. They would be as xenophobic as the Spartans. They would also not have client states and allow them to retain their own culture in certain instances. The Caesar Gallic wars was just one war which is a perfect example of not being unanimously based on religion.

Side: Secular
ColumCille(9) Disputed
2 points

Wait, what? "placed them in Palestine?" The Roman's didn't place the Jews in Palestine, they conquered an existing Jewish population there.

Side: Secular
Thejackster(517) Disputed
1 point

Secularism wasn'tbthe motivation behind those, if you are simply setting up this debate to make yourself look like an opininated jerk, then your doing a great job sir

Side: Religion
timber113(796) Disputed
1 point

Religion was not the motivation for them either. And you have made more bigoted statements with the stroke of a key that I could ever dream of in my entire life.

Side: Secular
2 points

Copy past (lazy) -

In their Encyclopedia of Wars, authors Charles

Phillips and Alan Axelrod attempt a

comprehensive listing of wars in history. They

document 1763 wars overall, of which 123

(7%) have been classified to involve a

religious conflict.


William T. Cavanaugh in

his Myth of Religious Violence (2009) argues

that what is termed "religious wars" is a

largely "Western dichotomy", arguing that all

wars that are classed as "religious" have

secular (economic or political)



Similar opinions were

expressed as early as the 1760s, during the

Seven Years' War, widely recognized to be

"religious" in motivation, noting that the

warring factions were not necessarily split

along confessional lines as much as along

secular interests.


Side: Secular
1 point

atheism is so dangerous because they have no moral authority omg so immoral omg so cruel omg omg

Side: Secular
Intangible(4933) Disputed
3 points

Prove that atheism is so dangerous because they have no moral authority omg so immoral omg so cruel omg omg.

Side: Religion
Dermot(5740) Disputed
2 points

Oh ok and if atheists took a leaf out of the good book they would quickly see the biblical God killed 2.8 million people but that's cool because he has moral authority..... Oh and he is a loving God .... Ha Ha Ha

Side: Religion
timber113(796) Disputed
1 point

If you want you can bring it up instead of being so mad and sarcastic about it. God killed 3 million people, people killed 83000000 people. Who do you think is worse? I mean he is God, he should be able to kill us all without anybody saying anything right? He is entitled to taking your life only because he gave it to you, but who are we to kill 83 million lives?

Side: Secular
Consigliere(183) Disputed
2 points

Atheism is not dangerous unless the Atheist is violent about his/her beliefs. Their moral authority comes from their own consciousness or people on earth of higher power.

Side: Religion
timber113(796) Disputed
1 point

Same thing with religion. .

Side: Secular
1 point

I'm a bit surprised by the votes here. All value judgements aside, this isn't even close.

Clearly WWI and WWI were non-religious wars, they were political wars. Rwanda was a non-religious conflict, it was a cultural one.

Given that we are already at 100 Million secular causalities. There just isn't a possible chance of religious wars coming even close to that.

Side: Secular
Thejackster(517) Disputed
0 points

Religion was a part of those culture, Hitler and the nazis believed that the jews were inferior because of their relgion, the japanese expanded their empire because they believed that their emperor was a god

Side: Religion
ColumCille(9) Disputed
1 point

The fact that religion was a part of their cultures does not show that the conflicts and death counts were religiously motivated. You are confusing correlation with causation here. Politics were also part of the Medieval cultures that engaged in the crusades, could I then make the argument that the crusades were not religious wars, but secular political ones? Of course not. Because there are religious people in a culture does not mean that all actions taken by that culture are therefore of a religious nature.

I also have some problems with you historical points as well. The Jews, for example, were not killed because of their religion, but because of their race. Jews who had converted to Christianity were still sent to the death camps. There were race laws that prevented someone with Jewish ancestors from entering high office, regardless of how long his family had been Christian or secular. The Nazis were seeking racial purity, not religious purity (since they were also killing priests and outlawing religious education).

The Soviets (who killed far, far more than the Nazis), were explicitly atheist, so it is hard to argue that their motivations were religious. As such, your argument immediately falls apart.

It is true that the Japanese believed their Emperor was a god (though the sincerity of this belief varied greatly). But the Emperor was not the one pushing WWII. The military was. The military was made up of extremely secular Japanese who largely pushed the Emperor into the war. And they didn't do so because he was a deity, they did so because they needed access to large mineral deposits in China, rubber and oil in the south Pacific and territorial buffers from other large powers. None of those are religious reasons, they are secular, political concerns.

Side: Secular

I'm going to have to vote on the secular side, considering that most religious wars were actually fought for secular reasons; religion was mainly used to facilitate getting the lower classes willing to fight. This is not the only method, it's just one that happens to be particularly effective; playing on an existing belief system. Take religion out of the picture and other methods would be found.

It's easy to dress up a lot of wars as being religious wars simply by pointing out that X% of one side was one religion and Y% of the other side was another, but very few wars overall have been started for religious reasons.

The US Revolution was a religious war- motivated primarily by freedom of religion; WW2 was not, despite the fact that the Jews were targetted- recall that Jews are not only a religion but also an ethnic group.

Religion has been called the opiate of the masses for more than one reason.

Side: Secular

Secular Wars by far (World War I, World War II, etc.)

Supporting Evidence: Wars (
Side: Secular
SexyBanana(306) Disputed
1 point

a christian started wwll..................................................

Side: Religion
1 point

Everyone will hate me for looking this up and making this HUGE list, but I did because I found this topic quite interesting. So, I looked up "all wars ever" and Wikipedia (yes, I like Wikipedia. I trust it.) came up with a list. And then I thought it would take forever to read every article on every war in history, so I looked up religious-caused wars. Then I wrote them all down. I then went back to the Wikipedia page and wrote down all wars that I didn't write down before. Then I realized the list only consisted of early modern to modern wars (about year 1000-present). But these have more casualties anyway. But, let's go to my list:

Religious-caused wars and death toll (in no particular order):

Thirty Years' War = 3,000,000 - 11,500,000

French Wars of Religion (Huguenot Wars) = 2,000,000 - 4,000,000

Second Sudanese Civil War = 1,000,000 - 2,000,000

The Crusades = 1,000,000 - 3,000,000

Lebanese Civil War = 130,000 - 250,000

Wars of the Three Kingdoms = 315,000 - 735,000

"War on Terror" = 272,000 – 1,260,009

Albigensian Crusade = 200,000 – 1,000,000

Iraq War = 176,913 – 1,120,000

Islamic insurgency in the Philippines = 120,000

Palestinian-Israeli conflict = 115,311

Iranian Revolution = 2,781

Iraqi insurgency = 8,136+

Taiping Rebellion = 20,000,000

Afghan Civil War = 15,000 - 18,000

Algerian Civil War = 44,000 - 150,000

Fatah-Hamas conflict = 600+

1999 Shia uprising in Iraq = 200+

Central African Republic conflict = 2,000

Civil war in Tajikistan = 50,000 - 100,000

Cristero War = 250,000

Internal conflict in Burma = 210,000

ISIS/ISIL activities = 5,576+

Muslim civil wars = info not found

Somali Civil War = 300,000 - 500,000

Sri Lankan Civil War = 60,000 – 100,000

Civil War in Iraq = 2,338,965

Islamist insurgency in Nigeria = 15,000+

Operation Zarb-e-Azb = 1,356

The Troubles (Northern Ireland) = 3,530

War in the Vendee = 170,000 - 200,000

Second Sudanese Civil War = 1,000,000 - 2,000,000

Sudan-SRF conflict = 643 - 1,500

War in Afghanistan = 20,000 - 35,000

War in North-West Pakistan = 28,338+

Peasants' War = 100,000

Black Hawk War = 527-677

1838 Mormon War = 22

Morrisite War = 9

Second Sino-Japanese War = 18,000,000 - 23,000,000

Lord's Resistance Army insurgency = 200,000 - 500,000

The sum of all of the (maximum) values is: 74,672,001 deaths. (A lot of deaths caused by religion!)

Not included in this list are the religions I found but could not find the death toll. Here they are:

Hussite Wars

Eighty Years' War

Schmalkaldic War

First War of Villmergen

Maccabean Revolt

Ottoman-Persian War

Pagan reaction in Poland

Roman-Sassanid War

Toggenburg War

Non-religious caused wars and death tolls (again, no particular order):

World War II = 85,000,000 (Single-handedly more deaths than all religious-caused wars combined)

Mongol Conquests = 70,000,000

Qing dynasty conquest of Ming dynasty = 25,000,000

World War I = 40,000,000

An Lushan Rebellion = 13,000,000

Chinese Civil War = 7,500,000

Conquests of Tamerlane = 20,000,000

Russian Civil War and Foreign Intervention = 9,000,000

Dungan revolt = 10,000,000

Napoleonic Wars = 6,000,000

Second Congo War = 5,400,000

Shaka's conquests = 2,000,000

Korean War = 1,200,000

Conquests of Mehmed II = 873,000

Vietnam War = 3,800,000

Mexican Revolution = 2,000,000

Iran-Iraq War = 1,000,000

Japanese invasions of Korea = 1,000,000

Soviet war in Afghanistan = 1,622,865

Seven Years' War = 1,400,000

American Civil War = 618,000

Spanish Civil War = 500,000

First Indochina War = 400,000+

Algerian War of Independence = 1,500,000

Third Northern War = 350,000

Bangladesh Liberation War = 3,000,000

Second Burundian Civil War = 300,000

Philippine-American War = 234,000

Colombian conflict = 200,000

Syrian Civil War = 260,215

War in Darfur = 461,520

Iraqi-Kurdish conflict = 320,100

Great Turkish War = 384,000

Mexican Drug War = 106,800+

Western New Guinea War = 400,000

Insurgency in Laos = 100,000

Aceh War = 107,000

Mahdist War = 90,969

Goryeo-Khitan War = 90,000

Mozambican War of Independence = 88,500

Ituri conflict = 60,000

Kurdish-Turkish conflict = 45,000

Iranian-Kurdish conflict = 34,000

Ethnic conflict in Nagaland = 34,000

Insurgency in Northeast India = 25,000

Ragamuffin War = 20,000

First Opium War = 20,069

First Anglo-Afghan War = 17,200

Balochistan conflict = 17,065

Nigerian Sharia conflict = 15,000

Republic of the Congo Civil War = 13,929

Naxalite-Maoist insurgency = 13,812

Insurgency in the Maghreb = 6,000

South Thailand insurgency = 5,469

Casamance conflict 5,000

Chilean Civil War of 1891 = 5,000

Conflict in the Niger Delta = 10,000

These are backwards because I copied them from Wikipedia since I didn't feel like writing them down word for word.

2,000 – 2010 South Kyrgyzstan ethnic clashes (2010)

1,643–2,237 – War of Transnistria (1992)

1,554 – South Yemen insurgency (2009–present)

1,229 – Basque conflict (1959-2011)

1,227–5,600 – Kargil War (1999)

1,119 – Political violence in Egypt, 2013 (2013–present)

1,000–1,500 – Cabinda conflict (1994–present)

1,000 – 1991–92 South Ossetia War (1991–1992)

846 – 2011 Egyptian revolution (2011)

659–2,496 – Russia–Georgia war (2008)

391+ – M23 rebellion (2012–present)

174–194 – United States occupation of Veracruz (1914)

95 – 2013 Guinea clashes (2013)

84–134 – Lahad Datu standoff (2013)

47+ – Allied Democratic Forces insurgency (2007–present) (2007–present)

A lot of wars, huh? This world is corrupt no matter how wars began. Wars are bad and pointing fingers at the people who caused them isn't going to solve our problems.

The sum of all of the values is 307,805,040 deaths.

74,672,001 < 307,805,040

Statistically speaking, the casualties of secular wars combined are greater than the casualties of religious wars combined. But war is not good in general. Instead we can solve our problems with peace.

Side: Secular