How Religion Causes Conflict

Janani Mohan
7 min readSep 30, 2019

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This is Part 2 in a four-part series on The Politics of Religion. The previous part on How Religion Makes You Happy can be found here. Check back next week for the next part!

Last week, I wrote on how religion makes you happy through participation, belief, answers, and optimism. Unfortunately, all effects of religion aren’t so positive.

Religion (and associated cultural divides) fuel conflict throughout the world. In Jerusalem, one of the holiest cities for Abrahamic religions, the city walls have been battered by centuries of religious warfare. After the collapse of the Roman empire which had conquered the then-Jewish city, Jerusalem was taken over by Muslim rulers in 638 CE, Christian crusaders in 1099 CE, more Muslim rulers from 1187 CE onward, a brief period of British colonialism in the 20th century, and finally a divided city between Jewish and Muslim peoples following World War II.

But just saying that religion fuels conflict doesn’t account for all the nuances that exist in how this process works. Why does a belief system made mostly to understand the world around us and practiced mostly by coming together as a community create such negative outcomes?

Religion causes conflict in four ways: Superiority, Lineation, Alternatives, and Yammerers (SLAY).

Superiority

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Janani Mohan

Articles about politics & culture from around the world. Researcher & Policy Analyst w/ Political Science degree from UC Berkeley. www.justjanani.com