All through history, nations have battled against each other over borders and the control of land. Whoever controls the land has the power. From the land come the resources needed for the essentials of life: food, shelter, energy, transportation and security.
This has been true from the dawn of man, until today. Even now, nations battle over land and what that land offers.
When these nations meet in conflict, their peoples become enemies. And, more often than not, these peoples have different religions. Recognizing this difference, the leaders of warring nations can use religion to unite their people against their opponents.
Religion is entrenched into the culture of every nation. The good intentions of each culture can be the same even while their religions differ. Since all peoples believe their religion is the right one, their leaders can argue that only they fight on the side of good. What’s worse, each usually understands little of its opponent’s religion or motivation. This ignorance is an advantage for the leaders of warring nations. Each side can be encouraged to fight to preserve its religion from the threat of the other.
Moreover, religion is a simple difference between one side and the other. Outside of the political reasons for a conflict, a religious struggle is easy for all to understand. Religion becomes the uniform, while the real motivation for conflict gets buried. Further, fighting for one’s religion is an emotional motivator, leading to self-righteous vengeance. This revenge, at any cost, can be used by a nation’s leaders to further motivate any society.
Historically, for generals on the battlefield, both victory and defeat can be easily explained through religion. Victory is the reward for fighting on the side of good, and defeat is the inspiration to fight harder.
It is not for religion that man fights. No, it is for land and power. Religion is just the simplest, and most motivating, differentiation on the field of battle.
Through the coming months, I will write about various conflicts and describe how they are fought over land and power, and not because of religion.
So, stay tuned …