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The Contender
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13 Points

Every War is a result of Religious Motivation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/19/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,753 times Debate No: 29353
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)




I beg my opposer to not find fault in my statement (Every War is a result of Religious Motivation) at hand, and argue that instead of the subject itself. I would also like to make some things clear before this debate is conducted. I am arguing that every war including and BEFORE World War II was a result of Religious Motivation. I would like to re-raise this argument including wars up to the present date, I just haven't researched them as much, and am not in the mood. First Round is acceptance, thank you and good luck. (Please state in Round 1 any pressing matters to address, or message me [Preferred] )


I accept. First, to make it clear I shall define religion as:

"The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods."

The wars I will focus on are the following:

1) Red Army invasion of the Democratic Republic of Georgia

The war was motivated by expansionist politics of the Soviet Empire, and certainly not any belief in Gods.

2) The Boshin War

The war in which the imperial power overthrew the shogunate in Japan was motivated by a desire for a change in th power structure of Japan, not for beliefs in Gods.

3) Peloponnesian War

This war between the Greek powers of Athens and Sparta was motivated by a desire to control more land, and a desire to undermine their opposition, not any religious motivation.
Debate Round No. 1


Ah, I get to research after all. Since you are bringing up those 3 wars as your counter-argument, we will be arguing about those three. I will try and prove that the Soviet"Georgian War, the Boshin War, and the Peloponnesian War are results of Religious motivation. I ask we only use these 3 particular Wars only, to have a refined debate. All Right here I go.

Now not every background or antebellum before a war shows a strong religious tension between the opposing sides. Religion can sometimes fuel strong nationalistic feelings for a group or nation, which can lead to imperialism, tension, or sometimes straight to war. Religion is not always a direct background cause to a war, but it is definitely influenced and motivational towards the background causes.

Lets start with the Soviet-Georgian War:

The Soviet Russia's Red Army"s goal was to overthrow the Democratic Republic of Georgia. There goal was to install a Bolshevik regime in the country. The Bolshevik were represented through the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, which eventually turned into the Communist party of the Soviet Union. Of course the Soviet-Georgian War was a part of the Russian Civil War (1917-1921). The Anti-Religious campaign during the Russian Civil War was to remove all influences of Religion. The Soviet Union wanted this policy enforced everywhere, so overthrowing the Democratic Republic of Georgia (Who was not following this policy) would allow for this policy. Therefore, under this Bolshevik regime, which would eventually be the Soviet Unions Regime, this Anti-Religious policy could be enforced to areas which had not been following it, in this case, Georgia. In the Soviet society, religion would be banned, therefore, a background cause of this war was religion in the sense that it was to be eliminated. (Communist Part of Soviet Russia) (Russian Civil War) (Red Army Invation of Georgia) (Anti-Religous Campaign)

Moving on to the Boshin War:

The Boshin war was a result of dissatisfaction among many nobles towards the Tokugawa shogunate"s means of ruling the country. For the sake of the voters, the Tokugawa shogunate was a feudal Japanese government lead by shoguns, which had Ruled Japan from March 1603 to May 1868 (The Edo Period). The cause of this dissatisfaction was within the Shogunates treatment of foreign affairs, as well as the discontent with the Political and Economic standards. The Nobles wanted to return the Government back to imperial rule (The Rule of an Emperor). Returning the country to direct rule of Emperor Meiji would allow the country to fix its foreign affairs, as well as modernize Japan. The Meiji Period (1868-1912) was an era of political, economic, and social reforms and change. On of these reforms was Religious Freedom. This would not have been a Reform, if under the Shogunate, Religious freedom was granted. Therefore, a background cause of the Boshin war, was TO BE granted Religious freedom. The dire need for change had cause this war to happen, one of those changes being Religion. (Meiji Peiriod) (Boshin War) (Meiji Restoration)

Finally the Peloponnesian War:

Instead of writing out a summary of the war, I ask for viewers/voters to watch this witty video that was made that perfectly describes aspects, people involved, and the reasons for the Peloponnesian War.

Now out of all three wars, this war is by far, the hardest to prove, a result of religious motivation. The dispute between Athens and Sparta was mainly over land. So instead of looking at the War itself, let"s look at how it started. Athens placed itself above the other Greek states it was united with. This must mean Athen"s felt a level of superiority to other Greek states. But who would determine this? The greek gods were known for interfering with humans and there conflicts. I don"t doubt that they (the idea) could have contributed to Athens Superiority complex.
I took this note from the Wikipedia page "History of the Peloponnesian War"

"Despite the absence of actions of the gods, religion and piety play critical roles in the actions of the Spartans, and to a lesser degree, the Athenians.[8] Thus natural occurrences such as earthquake and eclipses were viewed as religiously significant (1.23.3; 7.50.4)[9]
It has been further argued that Thucydides attributes the existence of the gods entirely to the needs of political life. The gods are portrayed as existing only in the minds of men. Religion as such reveals itself in the History to be not simply one type of social behavior among others, but what permeates the whole of social existence, permitting the emergence of justice.[10]"

Thucydides was a General in the War who wrote about his point of view. The passage above shows possible interference with the Peloponnesians questioning of Athens superiority, as well as, the need for Status.

I will argue more about this in further arguments. I wish my opponent good luck in the following rounds.


I don't have much to say in these rounds, because all of my opponent's responses have the exact same problem: they point to correlation but nothing similar to causation.

The Soviet Union, for example, is claimed to have been motivated by religion. Each source is irrelevant as none of them link to the topic: that religion motivated Soviet Russia's attack on Georgia. Yes, it's true that Soviet Russia was anti-religious. And yes, Soviet Russia invaded Georgia. No, that does not mean they were linked. The United states also got warmer over the last twenty years: that isn't the motivation for the invasion of Iraq.
Unless my opponent shows a direct link between religion and the three wars, and not simply that religion is somehow linked to wars, the resolution is not justified. Take the Boshin war. The link follows:

1 - Tokugawa's shogunate led a feudal Japan (Edo Period)
2 - The feudal japan heirarchy was challenged in the merchant class
3 - The Edo Period was thus filled with discontented nobles
4 - The discontented nobles wanted the return of the Emporer.
5 - When the Emporer returned to power, the Europeans signed one-sided treaties to give them more power
6 - This led the Emporer to massive political and economic reform, known as Westernisation
7 - After a couple decades of Westernisation, the principles of Confucianism and Shinto rose up to popularity.
8 - This motivated a plurality of religions


Getting to (7) from "The merchant class challenged the feudal system" is an extremely complex route of assertions and ignoring other factors to make plurality of religions the major cause. Not to mention the religions of Shinto and Confucianism were in fact sanctioned and promoted by Tokugawa in 1720 anyway.

However, my opponent sources japan-guide, so it is fair to read what it says are the causes:

"Even though the Tokugawa government remained quite stable over several centuries, its position was steadily declining for several reasons: A steady worsening of the financial situation of the government led to higher taxes and riots among the farm population. In addition, Japan regularly experienced natural disasters and years of famine that caused riots and further financial problems for the central government and the daimyo. The social hierarchy began to break down as the merchant class grew increasingly powerful while some samurai became financially dependent of them. In the second half of the era, corruption, incompetence and a decline of morals within the government caused further problems."


"All factors combined, the anti-government feelings were growing and caused other movements such as the demand for the restoration of imperial power and anti western feelings, especially among ultra-conservative samurai in increasingly independently acting domains such as Choshu and Satsuma. Many people, however, soon recognized the big advantages of the Western nations in science and military, and favoured a complete opening to the world. Finally, also the conservatives recognized this fact after being confronted with Western warships in several incidents."

Nothing to do with religion.

Finally, the Pelepponesian war is simply resultant from a case of putting the cart before the horse: The gods were changed to appease the politics, not the politics was changed to appease the gods. In other words, the politics is what was dominant, and the gods changed to suit the needs of the people. "In Ancient Greece, belief in 'the gods' was used as a tool to foster political loyalty. Rulers were given authority by claiming 'endorsements' from the gods, in legends or in terms of sign..." Rulers used gods to control the populace, and to justify their actions. The gods were the slaves and the kings were the masters. As such, the gods were not motivating any of their actions: it was simply a way to justify them. Not only were gods not at all part of the causal process, but there's no possible reason to suppose that they were: we have good reason to believe they were not at all.

With that, I'll pass over to my opponent for the next round.

1 -;
2 -
Debate Round No. 2


eltigrey forfeited this round.


Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 3


eltigrey forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by MouthWash 3 years ago
I found this to be entertaining.
Posted by Maikuru 3 years ago
I know nothing about wars but I just feel like I could find some random war to negate this. I predict someone else will either do just that or Pro will pull this debate when he finds one such example on his own.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by LatentDebater 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: OWNAGE is all there is to say... okay wait relax this isn't a votebomb. Conduct for forfeits S&G as pro said "All Right" when the 'r' should not have been capitalised, convincing arguments because not just the forfeit but con refuted everything pro said like a boss and sources vote so obvious.
Vote Placed by Noumena 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for forfeit, arguments for undefended/dropped arguments throughout by Pro. The debate seemed Con-tilted from the start though. Pro had a ridiculous (though self imposed) BoP. All Con needed was a single example that Pro couldn't explain away. Throughout it seemed more like Pro was just looking for ways that the wars *could* have been religiously motivated rather than honestly looking at the possible causes. Either way, the forfeits gave the debate to Con.
Vote Placed by Xerge 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for the two forfeits. Con provided factors that there were other factors to war and religion was not it. Con case was dropped with Pro's forfeits.