Essay:Refuting the myth that religion is the main cause of war and suffering in the world

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I found the first ridiculous claim that "religion is the cause of war" from this publication on

The author makes the claim that most sources of war originate from religion with the following paragraph:

"Human life and social structuring always derive their momentum from the belief mechanism. With belief, humanity establishes astonishing structures, civilizations as well as self-destruction. Although using belief mechanism is an essential fundamental formation of societies and civilizations, unintelligent use of belief may cause relentless warfare and self-destruction. This type of unintelligent use of belief stagnant belief system puts humanity to high risk of suffering and pain. Therefore, belief mechanism must evolve to acknowledgement and must be used intelligently for the prosperity of humanity. Religion has been using this mechanism for many centuries and causing mass amounts of conflicts between human societies. Most sources of war originate itself from structured religion and belief system, what we call religion."

This is in fact a common claim of atheists and anti-religionists. The atheist blogger Austine Cline on, writing for atheism also agrees with this preposterous claim about religion, writing the following for a list of books he uses to support his argument:

"Religious leaders normally argue that religion is a force for good and love in the world. Yet, at the same time, we see religion regularly used for war, mass murder, terrorism, and even genocide."

The claim that religion is the cause of most wars and suffering in the world is also a Google suggestion for when you type in "Religion is" which shows that it is something many people consider to be true.

Is religion really the main cause of war and most suffering in the world?[edit]

It's easy to see why atheists and anti-religionists might think that way when you hear of all the Islamic terrorists doing bad things and when you look at history and see the bad that Catholic Church did with the Inquisition, the Witch Hunts and the persecution of Galileo and others the Church deemed to be heretics. However a through examination of history reveals that that most of causes of wars and suffering are in fact secular, even the so-called "religious wars" that were The Crusades.

Let's first address the claim that religion causes most wars and look at the actual statistics throughout history to refute this nonsense.

In the book, The Encyclopaedia of Wars, the historian Alan Axelrod examines wars, revolutions and conflicts since 3,500 BCE. Recorded in the book are a total of 1763 wars and out of these wars, only 123 are classified as having a religious cause. That's less than 7% of all wars since 3,500 BCE so the remaining 1640 wars all had a secular cause.

At this point, I have seen atheists and anti-religionists claim that the percentage of wars caused by religion don't matter but the death toll does, ending with them claiming that the religious wars have caused more bloodshed and deaths than any other wars. This too is an erroneous claim that ignores the facts.

In the historical book, "Parallel Universal History, being an outline of the history and biography of the world. Divided into periods" Philip Alexander Prince on page 207 estimates The Crusades to have caused around two millions deaths. In comparison, the secular war of WW2 is estimated to have caused around 50 to 80 million deaths. The Crusades pales in comparison.

And in truth, The Crusades - whilst having a religious premise - in fact were caused by political reasons and for power. The Seljurk Turks were expanding their empire towards Constantinople, with Emperor Alexios I fearing the advance, he requested aid from the Catholic Church and The Pope, who at the time, had strong influence across Europe. This combined with stories of Christian pilgrims being ill-treated and even butchered by the Muslims in the Middle East gave grounds for The Crusades but in fact the main reason was to stop the advancing Seljurk Turks.

The historian Giles Constable argues that while some soldiers joined the Crusade for religious reasons, others went for their own reasons including for personal gain.

In the book "The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the Muslim World" Professor Roy Mottahedeh and the Greek Byzantinist Angeliki Laiou point out the same fact as I, stating that while the contemporaries of The Crusades reasoned that it was a religious war commanded by God, the war was in fact mainly due to the expanding empire of the Seljurk Turks who had already displaced many Christians from the Middle East. They also correctly point out that contemporary historians also recorded this fact:

"This view [crusades being a ideological driven war] is now common in works addressed to the general public, including popular presentations and movies. A leaflet distributed in Clermont during the conference held in 1995 to commemorate the summons to the First Crusade was headed “The Crusades—did God will it?” echoing the crusading cry of “Deus le volt.” It went on to ask “Can the Church memorialize the Crusades without asking forgiveness?” and called on the pope to deny that any war can be holy and that sins can be forgiven by killing pagans. According to this view, the crusaders were inspired by greed and religious fanaticism and the Muslims were the innocent victims of expansionist aggression. Many scholars today, however, reject this hostile judgement and emphasize the defensive character of the crusades as they were seen by contemporaries, who believed that Christianity was endangered by enemies who had already overrun much of the traditional Christian world, including Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and who threatened to take over the remainder. Almost all the historians and chroniclers of the expeditions that were later called the First Crusade considered them a response to the Muslim threats to Christian holy places and peoples in the east. They wrote from different points of view, however, and used varying terminology and biblical passages."

So yes while the Crusades may have been driven by an ideological cause, the actual cause of the war was in defence of land. These were not wars caused by religions. Pope Urban II's desire to help the Byzantine Empire was also driven mostly by his desire to increase the political authority of The Church and its power. The Catholic Church also used the wars in an attempt to usurp power from the Byzantine Empire and successfully did that in 1204 with the Siege of Constantinople which led to the fall of Byzantine Empire and emergence of the Catholic Church as the sole great power throughout Europe. This fact seems to be forgotten by the anti-religionists and atheists who fail to understand that at this time, The Catholic Church wasn't just a religious organization but a political one too, one that had powers over countries, kings and queens and one that wanted to build a united Church-state with The Pope as the head. This would become known as Christendom.


What about the Inquisition then? Well the actual death toll is not the millions anti-religionists exaggerate.[edit]

The actual statistics are far lower than that. According to Professor Agostino Borromeo, a historian of religions, only 1% of the 125,000 people tried by church were executed. That's approximately 1250 people. This is according to documents from the Vatican archives relating to the trails of the Spanish Inquisition.

The book, The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe (Second Edition), written by the historian Brian P. Levack states also that only a few thousand were actually executed by the Inquisition and not millions. The archives of the Suprema (documents which record the judgements between 1540 and 1700), contained within the National Historical Archive of Spain, record 1604 executions.

Juan Antonio Llorente, a contemporary historian during the time of the Spanish Inquisition and General Secretary to the Inquisition, estimates that approximately 323,362 people were burned by the Spanish Inquisition from 1479 to 1817. This is of course a much higher count than the couple of thousands estimated by modern historians but still a far cry from the millions that anti-religionists, anti-Catholics and atheists often exaggerate.

Llorente's numbers estimates are in dispute however. Henry Charles Lea, a major historian of the Spanish Inquisition, criticized the estimates of Llorente, putting it down to guess-work and pointing out the discrepancy between the information Llorente produced. He concludes with saying that the numbers of Llorente's are largely exaggerated.

"Before dismissing the impression produced by the severity of the Inquisition it will not be amiss to attempt some conjecture as to the totality of its operations, especially as regards the burnings, which naturally affected more profoundly the imagination. There is no question that the number of these has been greatly exaggerated in popular belief, an exaggeration to which Llorente has largely contributed by his absurd method of computation, on an arbitrary assumption of a certain annual average for each tribunal in successive periods. It is impossible now to reconstruct the statistics of the Inquisition, especially during its early activity, but some general conclusions can be formed from the details accessible as to a few tribunals.

The burnings without doubt were numerous during the first few years, through the unregulated ardor of inquisitors, little versed in the canon law, who seem to have condemned right and left, on flimsy evidence, and without allowing their victims the benefit of applying for reconciliation, for, while there might be numerous negativos, there certainly were few pertinacious impenitents. The discretion allowed to them to judge as to the genuineness of conversion gave a dangerous power, which was doubtless abused by zealots, and the principle that imperfect confession was conclusive of impenitence added many to the list of victims, while the wholesale reconciliations under the Edicts of Grace afforded an abundant harvest to be garnered under the rule condemning relapse. In the early years, moreover, the absent and the dead contributed with their effigies largely to the terrible solemnities of the quemadero. Modern writers vary irreconcileably in their estimates, influenced more largely by subjective considerations than by the imperfect statistics at their command.

Rodrigo coolly asserts as a positive fact that those who perished in Spain at the stake for heresy did not amount to 400 and that these were voluntary victims, who refused to retract their errors.[1145] Father Gams reckons 2000 for the period up to the death of Isabella, in 1504, and as many more from that date up to 1758.[1146] On the other hand, Llorente calculates that, up to the end of Torquemada's activity, there had been condemned 105,294 persons, of whom 8800 were burnt alive, 6500 in effigy and 90,004 exposed to public penance, while, up to 1524, the grand totals amounted to 14,344, 9372 and 195,937.[1147]

Even these figures are exceeded by Amador de los Rios, who is not usually given to exaggeration. He assumes that, up to 1525, when the Moriscos commenced to suffer as heretics, the number of those burnt alive amounted to 28,540, of those burnt in effigy to 16,520 and those penanced to 303,847, making a total of 348,907 condemnations for Judaism.[1148] Don Melgares Marin, whose familiarity with the documents is incontestable, tells us that, in Castile, during 1481, more than 20,000 were reconciled under Edicts of Grace, more than 3000 were penanced with the sanbenito, and more than 4000 were burnt, but he adduces no authorities in support of the estimate.[1149]

The only contemporary who gives us figures for the whole of Spain is Hernando de Pulgar, secretary of Queen Isabella. His official position gave him facilities for obtaining information, and his scarcely veiled dislike for the Inquisition was not likely to lead to underrating its activity. He states at 15,000 those who had come in under Edicts of Grace, and at 2000 those who were burnt, besides the dead whose bones were exhumed in great quantities; the number of penitents he does not estimate. Unluckily, he gives no date but, as his Chronicle ends in 1490, we may assume that to be the term comprised.[1150] With some variations his figures were adopted by subsequent writers.[1151] Bernáldez only makes the general statement that throughout Spain an infinite number were burnt and condemned and reconciled and imprisoned, and of those reconciled many relapsed and were burnt.[1152]

The total of Llorente's extravagant guesses, from the foundation of the Inquisition to 1808, is:

Burnt in person 31,912 Burnt in effigy 17,659 Heavily penanced 291,450 ------- 341,021 Hist. crít, IX, 233.

This is slightly modified by Gallois in his abridgement of Llorente's work (Histoire abregée de la Inquisition d'Espagne, 6{e} Ed., p. 351-2, Paris, 1828). He gives the figures:

Burnt alive 34,658 Burnt in effigy 18,049 Condemned to galleys or prison 288,214 ------- 340,921 It will be observed that Gallois unscrupulously classifies all personal relaxations as burnings alive and all penances as galleys or prison.

[1148] Hist. de los Judíos de España, III, 492-3. [1149] Procedimientos de la Inquisicion, I, 116-17 (Madrid, 1886). [1150] Pulgar, Cronica, P. II, cap. lxxvii. [1151] L. Marinæi Siculi de Reb. Hispan., Lib. XIX.--Illescas, Hist. Pontifical, P. II, Lib. VI, c. xix.--Mariana, Hist. de España, Lib. XXIV, cap. xvii.--Páramo, p. 139.--Garibay, Comp. Hist., Lib. XVIII, cap. xvii. [1152] Hist. de los Reyes Católicos, cap. xliv. [1153] Zuñiga, Annales de Sevilla, año 1524, n. 3--Varflora, Compendio de Sevilla, P. II, cap. 1. [1154] Bernáldez, ubi sup. [1155] Lalaing, Voyage de Philippe le Beau (Gachard, Voyages des Souverains, I, 203). [1156] Zurita, Añales, Lib. XX, cap. xlix. The fact that so careful an historian as Zurita, who sought everywhere for documentary evidence, had no official statistics to cite shows that none such existed in the Suprema relating to the early years of the Inquisition. [1157] Relazioni Venete, Serie I, T. II, p. 40. [1158] Archivo hist. nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 262.--It is possible that these figures may be only of residents of Ciudad Real. Páramo (p. 170) states the numbers for the tribunal, during its two years of existence, at 52 relaxations in person, 220 in effigy and 183 reconciliations. The record just cited gives for Ciudad Real, from 1484 to 1531, 113 relaxed in person, 129 in effigy, 16 reconciled, 11 penanced, 19 absolved, 3 discharged on bail and 8 of which the sentence is not stated--all, apparently, residents of the town. [1159] Relacion de la Inquisicion Toledana (Boletin, XI, 292 sqq). The Córdova tribunal also burned 90 residents of Chillon, who had been duped by the prophetess of Herrera (Ibidem, p. 308). [1160] Hist. crit., IX, 210. [1161] See Appendix of Vol. I.

It must be borne in mind that, in the early years, small autos were held elsewhere than in the centres. Thus, in the Libro Verde there are allusions to them in Barbastro, Huesca, Monzon, Lérida and Tamarit (Revista de España, CVI, 250-1, 263-4, 266). The aggregate for these, however, would make little difference in the totals.

[1162] Libro Verde (Revista de España, CVI, 570-83). The relaxations by years were: 1483--1 1495--9 1512--4 1542--1 1485--4 1496--1 1520--1 1543--1 1486--26 1497--18 1521--2 1546--2 1487--25 1498--2 1522--1 1549--1 1488--13 1499--13 1524--1 1561--4 1489--2 1500--5 1526--1 1563--1 1490--1 1502--2 1528--2 1565--1 1491--10 1505--1 1534--1 1566--1 1492--15 1506--5 1535--1 1567--2 1493--11 1510--1 1537--1 1574--2 1494--1 1511--5 1539--1 The number in 1486-7-8 is attributable to the assassination of San Pedro Arbués. [1163] Carbonell de Gestis Hæret. (Col. de Doc. de la C. de Aragon, XXVII, XXVIII). [1164] Archivo hist. nacional, Inq. de Valencia, Leg. 98, 300. [1165] Cronicon de Valladolid (Col. de Doc. inéd., XIII, 176-9, 187). [1166] Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 595. [1167] MSS. of Library of Univ. of Halle, Yc, 20, T. I. [1168] Archivo hist. nacional, Inq. de Toledo, Leg. 1. [1169] Archivo de Simancas, Inq., Lib. 1020. [1170] Royal Library of Berlin, Qt. 9548.

To illustrate the discrepancy between the facts as stated above and the reckless computations of Llorente, which have been so largely accepted, it may not be amiss to compare the facts with the corresponding figures resulting from his system of calculation, for the tribunals and periods named:

Records. Llorente. Toledo, 1483-1501. Relaxed in person 297 666 Relaxed in effigy 600 433 Imprisoned, about 200} Reconciled under edicts 5200} 6,200 Do. 1575-1610. Relaxed in person 11 252 Relaxed in effigy 15 120 Penanced 904 1,396 Do. 1648-1794. Relaxed in person 8 297 Relaxed in effigy 63 129 Penanced 1094 1,188 up to 1746. Saragossa, 1485-1502. Relaxed in person 124 584 Relaxed in effigy 32 392 Penanced 458 7,004 Barcelona, 1488-98. Relaxed in person 23 432 Relaxed in effigy 430 316 Imprisoned 116} Reconciled under edicts 304} 5,122 Valencia, 1485-1592. Relaxed in person 643 1,538 Relaxed in effigy 479 869 Tried 3104 16,677 penanced. Valladolid, 1485-92. Relaxed in person 50 424 Relaxed in effigy 6 312 Penanced ? 3,884 Majorca, 1488-1691. Relaxed in person 139 1,778 Relaxed in effigy 482 978 Penanced 975 17,861 All tribunals, 1721-27. Relaxed in person 77 238 Relaxed in effigy 74 119 Penanced 811 1,428

It will thus be seen how entirely fallacious was the guess-work on which Llorente based his system.

An even more conclusive comparison is furnished by the little tribunal of the Canaries. After 1524, Llorente includes it among the tribunals by which he multiplies the number of yearly victims assigned to each. He thus makes it responsible, from first to last, for 1118 relaxations in person and 574 in effigy. Millares (Historia de la Inquisicion en las Islas Canaries, III, 164-8) has printed the official list of the quemados during the whole career of the tribunal, and they amount in all to eleven burnt in person and a hundred and seven in effigy. The number of the latter is accounted for by the fact that, to render its autos interesting, it was often in the habit of prosecuting in absentia Moorish and negro slaves who escaped to Africa after baptism and who thus were constructively relapsed."

Whatever the truth, there is no reliable historical source citing the numbers as being millions.


The Inquisition and Crusades are often cited as "wars which caused genocides, resulting in millions of deaths, all which were supported by Christians and The Church" however when examining the facts as we have above, we find that this is simply untrue. As I have shown above, The Crusades had a secular cause, with religion simply being used as a motivation and excuse. The Inquisition was of course religiously caused but the death toll simply does not amount to the millions commonly claimed by anti-religionists.

When we look at history, we find that most wars were secular in nature and that the highest death tolls came from these wars.[edit]

The Guinness World Records cite WW2 as having the highest death toll from any recorded war in human history with an estimate of 56.4 million killed.

"By far the most costly war in terms of human life was World War II (1939–45), in which the total number of fatalities, including battle deaths and civilians of all countries, is estimated to have been 56.4 million, assuming 26.6 million Soviet fatalities and 7.8 million Chinese civilians were killed. The country that suffered most in proportion to its population was Poland, with 6,028,000 or 17.2 per cent of its population of 35,100,000 killed. In the Paraguayan war of 1864–70 against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, Paraguay's population was reduced from 407,000 to 221,000 survivors, of whom fewer than 30,000 were adult males."

In The Great Book of Horrible Things, the author, Matthew White using 377 books and 183 scholarly articles ranks the "100 Deadliest Episodes in Human History" with the top 29 with the highest death tolls being the following:

Highest death tolls in historic wars top to bottom[edit]

  • World War II (Worldwide 1939-45)
  • Genghis Khan (Asia 1206-27)
  • Mao Zedong (China 1949-75)
  • British India Famines (1769, 1876, 1896, 1943)
  • Fall of the Ming Dynasty (China 1635-62)
  • Taiping Rebellion (China 1850-64)
  • Stalin (Soviet Union 1928-53)
  • Mideast Slave Trade (ca. 700-1900)
  • Tamerlane (Central Asia 1370-1405)
  • Atlantic Slave Trade (1452-1807)
  • First World War (Europe 1914-18)
  • Conquest of the Americas (after 1492)
  • An Lushan Revolt (China 755-763)
  • Xin Dynasty (China 9-24)
  • Congo Free State (1886-1908)
  • Russian Civil War (1918-22)
  • Thirty Years War (Germany 1618-1648)
  • Fall of the Yuan Dynasty (China 1358)
  • Fall of Rome (Europe 395-455)
  • Chinese Civil Wars (1927-37, 1946-49)
  • The Mahdi (Sudan 1881-98 )
  • Time of Troubles (Russia 1598-1613)
  • Aurangzeb (1681-1707)
  • Vietnam War (1960-1975)
  • Three Kingdoms (China: 189-280)
  • Napoleonic Wars (1792-1815)
  • Second Congo War (1998-2002)
  • Hundred Years War (1337-1453)
  • Gladiatorial Games (Rome: 264 BCE-435 CE)

Out of them, only two had a religious cause. Meanwhile, Mao Zedong and Stalin, both communists, have a combined total of causing 60 million deaths by their regimes according to the book. That's 58 million more than the 2 million estimated to have died in the crusades. Interestingly this number has been disputed with other historians claiming Stalin alone killed over 60 million people with Mao Zedong's regime being responsible for a further 45 million deaths. Mao's and Stalin's communist regimes are also notable in that they were anti-religious. Regardless of the correct numbers, it is agreed by all historians that these two regimes were the most bloodiest in human history.

There have been actual historians who have disputed claims made in Matthew White's book, these disputes however tie into the numbers of deaths caused by these conflicts and war, all agree that the death tolls for the conflicts were all high.

The information we have from all this suggests that religion is certainly not the major cause of war and is far from being the cause of most suffering in the world. Actual history shows that politics, war over land and totalitarian regimes have been the cause of the most suffering and deaths in the world.

From 2000 to 2014, they have been over 11,000 murders in England and Wales combined. The majority of these murders were for personal reasons. Personal conflicts have also been cited as the biggest cause for murders in America. In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took an in-depth look at homicides in America and concluding from the information the following:

"For homicides and suicides, relationship problems, interpersonal conflicts, mental-health problems, and recent crises were among the primary precipitating factors."

According to the same organization, 50,000 people die annually in the U.S with the majority (60%) being due to suicide and the second majority being homicides and legal intervention (24%). The organization states that the statistics show that the majority of homicides were preceded by arguments, interpersonal conflicts or were in conjunction with another crime.

"For 2009, a total of 15,981 fatal incidents involving 16,418 deaths were captured by NVDRS in the 16 states included in this report. The majority (60.6%) of deaths were suicides, followed by homicides and deaths involving legal intervention (i.e., deaths caused by police and other persons with legal authority to use deadly force, excluding legal executions) (24.7%), deaths of undetermined intent (14.2%), and unintentional firearm deaths (0.5%). Suicides occurred at higher rates among males, non-Hispanic whites, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and persons aged 45–54 years. Suicides occurred most often in a house or apartment and involved the use of firearms. Suicides were preceded primarily by mental health, intimate partner, or physical health problems or by a crisis during the previous 2 weeks. Homicides occurred at higher rates among males and persons aged 20–24 years; rates were highest among non-Hispanic black males. The majority of homicides involved the use of a firearm and occurred in a house or apartment or on a street/highway. Homicides were preceded primarily by arguments and interpersonal conflicts or in conjunction with another crime. Characteristics associated with other manners of death, circumstances preceding death, and special populations also are highlighted in this report."

Now while some out-of-touch with reality atheist or anti-religionist might come now and say "all those committing suicide are bullied victims of Christian persecution in America!!!" the statistics show that the majority of those committing suicide do so because of mental illness. The organization reports the following of suicide:

"Precipitating circumstances were known for approximately 90% of suicide decedents. Overall, mental health problems were the most commonly noted circumstance for suicide decedents, with 41.0% described as experiencing a depressed mood at the time of their deaths. Approximately 44.1% were described as having a diagnosed mental health problem; 31.3% were receiving treatment (Table 7). Of those with a diagnosed mental disorder, 74.1% had received a diagnosis of depression/dysthymia, 14.6% bipolar disorder, and 10.6% anxiety disorder (Table 8)."

In comparison to these secular murders and suicides, religious honour killings are estimated to be just over 5,000 a year world-wide. This is according to data from Honour Based Violence Awareness Network, an activist organization which exists to record the violence, raise awareness to it and help victims.

The FBI in 2012 released statistics for the U.S where there are 1,340 victims of an anti-religious hate crime. 62.4 percent were victims of an offender’s anti-Jewish bias. 11.6 percent were victims of an anti-Islamic bias. 6.4 percent were victims of an anti-Catholic bias. The lowest victims were atheists at 0.9 percent. The targeting of the Jews and Muslims is also unlikely to do with their religion and more with racism if we go by recent attitudes towards Jews and Muslims.

So while statistics do show there are bad things done in the name of religion such as the honour killings, the statistics for these crimes are very low. Religious extremism and terrorism in this century has been responsible for thousands of deaths too but still, compared to secular conflicts and wars, the death toll of these things is very low. There are more killings done for non-religious reasons. In 14 years alone in the UK and Wales, the number of murder victims surpassed those of the Inquisition, which existed for centuries.

This is of course not mentioning the thousands of rapes committed annually globally. Very few connected to religion and the majority being connected to revenge or personal satisfaction.

Then there's the widespread corruption in governments like China, which results in the persecution of many innocent people. The starving and disease in places like Africa is down to nature and the economical situation there not religion.

What all these statistics, information and facts tell us is that most suffering and conflict in the world is not down to religion at all.

The claim that religion is the cause of war throughout history or that religion is the cause of most suffering and conflict in the world and has always been and that we would be better off without it is nonsense. Those who have this view, quite frankly, are being self-deluded by their emotions and as history and these statistics are testament to, getting rid of religion would not bring about some sort of world-wide peaceful utopia and in fact, little would change. As these statistics, information and facts show, religion is not regularly used at all to start wars or conflicts as commonly claimed by many anti-religionists and some atheists.



I think these facts all show that religion is not the big bad evil some atheists and all anti-religionists claim it to be. These statistics and information show that even in a world where religion did not exist, history still would have been filled with atrocious genocides and high death statistics from wars, most of them being secular. With two regimes responsible for the biggest massacres and genocides in the 20th century being ironically anti-religious (Stalin's and Mao's), I believe the idea that "the world would be a peaceful utopia without religion" is simply an emotional ranting. To achieve peace, I believe that we humans need to look deeper than social constructs.

While it's easy to place the blame on religion for the Witch Hunts and The Inquisition and the blame on politics for all the secular wars throughout history, perhaps we need to look at ourselves and realize that conflict is part of human nature and evolution. Most of our wars have been over territory, a similar reason some animals fight for, including our own closest evolutionary relatives. Primates have been observed having skirmishes and "wars" over territory. Despite our advanced evolution, has our psychology not changed that much? We are a species divided by nations, language, and culture, which in turn gives rise to xenophobia. Why does this division exist? Is it in our psychology? And yet, nation, language, race and culture are simply excuses for division and conflict too, just like religion and politics. Perhaps we as a species have yet more evolving to do until it finally becomes part of our psychology that we must all work together to progress as a species.