How many people have been killed in the name of religion?

I tend to keep my eye on the climate of debate between the religious and atheists, many of whom take science as their “belief,” and what I often hear coming from the atheist camp is “how many people have been killed in the name of religion?” It’s a valid point. The crusades killed a whole bunch of people, which is a understatement. Wars are still being waged in the name of religion, primarily initiated by Muslim extremists, or so I’m told.
But before we judge so quickly, let’s consider the death toll that science made possible by the use of:

Physics: the long bow, the crossbow, the canon, grenades, muskets, rifles, pistols, missiles, bombs, et cetra.

The automobile: drunk driving, vehicular homicide, many other various accidents

Oil for automobiles: WAR

Chemistry: mustard gas, blood agents, nerve agents, blister agents, etc, etc, etc

Biology: anthrax, cholera, etc

And the 20th century’s greatest examples: atomic bomb, hydrogen bomb, nuclear bomb

This list is, of course, only partial.

It’s true, however, that science has been very beneficial to life through modern healthcare and technology. We can’t begin to count how many lives have been saved and improved because of them. But if we’re going to compare religion to science, we must be as fair about religion’s benefit to people’s lives, as well as the destruction it causes, just like science. Countless lives have been improved by faith in the form of personal emotional refuge in times of need, as well as the immense amount of local, state, country and world charity that churches provide. (I cannot comment on other religions, but I’m sure they are charitable, as well.) I’ve read several times where atheists say something similar to “atheists do the right thing because they’re human; christians do it because they’re told to.” It doesn’t matter for what reason they help others, the point is that they do.




One Response to “How many people have been killed in the name of religion?”
  1. Jon Halvorsen says:

    However, were the people killed by those weapons killed in the name of science? People killed by weapons developed and people killed in the name of religion are completely different subjects.


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