Atheists have glommed onto Dawkins' rhetoric as if it were gospel truth, and they have been consistently repeating and defending his belief that religion is the principal cause of war and hatred in the world. But just how much truth is there to Dawkins' statements? As it turns out, not much at all.
To try and either prove or disprove his statements, I decided to put Dawkins' statements to the test, and compare them with documented facts, to history, and see how they match up. Before I get into that I want to disclose the parameters I used and why. What follows are two primary charts and two secondary. The first primary chart contains a list of non-religious based wars, the time period within which they occurred, and the number of casualties incurred (deaths only, not those wounded). In order to keep the chart manageable, and to give Dawkins the benefit of the doubt (somewhat) by keeping the numbers down as much as I reasonably could, I only counted those wars which have occurred since the American War of Independence (1775), and I have only included those wars with a casualty rate of at least 10,000 deaths.
The second primary chart contains all religious based or inspired wars and conflicts from 1095 to the present. I chose the 1095 date in order to include the Crusades since Atheists always want to include them in discussions such as these in order to illustrate what they claim is the barbarity of Christianity as compared to other religious beliefs. This list will show the name of the war/conflict, the time period within which they occurred, the number of deaths involved, and which religious group was responsible. You will notice that for those wars and conflicts that are blamed on Christianity (such as the Crusades and the Inquisitions) I have listed the responsible group as “Pseudo-Christianity.” The reason for this is simply that the wanton killing, massacre and genocide of human beings is antithetical to Christianity, therefore it is inaccurate to attribute these things to Christianity.
To start the ball rolling, I thought I would note an interesting figure from the three-volume Encyclopedia of Wars by Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod, which notes there have been roughly 1,763 wars waged throughout human history. Of these, only 123 have been justified using religion. That's less than 7%. And for those who are bound to wonder, of those 123 religious wars, more than half of them – 66 to be precise – were waged in the name of Islam.
The first primary chart shown here features all non-religious wars between 1775 and 2011:
As you can clearly see, the casualties for non-religious wars are significantly higher than the number for religious wars. And, just as clearly, not only was Richard Dawkins wrong in his assessment, but so are those who relentlessly support and propagate his myth.
And just as an aside for those who might be curious (as I know some are), of those 54,950,392 – 67,387,728 religious war casualties, between 27,106,392 and 28,821,728 were due to Islamic fueled wars and between 7,970,300 and 18,598,000 were due to wars fueled by Pseudo-Christian groups. Just as it is clear that significantly more people died during non-religious wars, it is equally clear that significantly more people have died during Islamic fueled wars than during those fueled by Pseudo-Christian groups.
Before I close this article, I have two more related charts that I would like to share, containing statistics that were not included in the above charts (with the exception of Hitler and Tojo's numbers). The first is the number of deaths attributed to Atheist regimes and governments, and the second chart contains the number of dead and wounded as a result of Islamic terrorist attacks.
Secondary Chart #1:
Of course, there are those, most notably President Obama and Hillary Clinton, who have stated that ISIS is not connected in any way to Islam, that ISIS is not Islamic, however, there are others, including Al-Azhar, Islam's oldest university, who have just as clearly stated that ISIS is Islamic, and they have laid out what I believe are very well reasoned explanations as to why they say that. If you would like to read more on just how Islamic ISIS actually is, here are links to some of the articles I mentioned: