Is Religion the Main Cause of War?

Recently a gentleman at work approached me with this question, “David how many people have to die in the name of religion?” He went on to say “that religion must be the number one cause of war in human history “. In our society there are many misconceptions about religion that are taken as facts. Most of us have heard these statements and we have accepted them as facts, because they sound like truth. But are these statements correct? Is religion the main cause of war in human history? In Encyclopedia of Wars authors Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod make a comprehensive listing of wars in history. They list 1763 wars of which 123 (7%) have been identified as primarily religiously motivated. These religious wars account for less than 2% of all people killed in warfare. Religion can be a cause for conflicts, but the main cause of most wars are ethnic or nationalistic rather than religious. Even in ancient times most wars were fought for territorial gains, expansion of kingdoms and other reasons. I have come to the conclusion that the main cause of war is the human heart in its fallen state. Mark 7:21-23, James 4:1-2.

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