In real world of today, it is visible in some countries of Middle-East where islam and christianity live side by side in one country. And it was also in medieval age in Europe.

Religion wars. Islam vs. christianity, catholics vs. protestantism/orthodox/evangelism ... and so on. Hard to say another good examples.

Various ways of christianity began to accept being of each other. In some countries, very fragile peace/truce is kept by weapons. And in some countries this peace/truce ended in few last years.

But how to prevent religion war(s) when all religions should be allowed (it means, that there will not be situation that one religion will be oficial and other ones banned - like catholics and evangelism in lands of Czech crown between 1621 and 1781)?

In old world, there are three main religions.

  1. Followers of The Visitor. They believe in reincarnation and they are diligent and therefore very wealthy. Some of them don't like that name because it is a bit derisive.
  2. Messengers' school. More or less classical church. Pursued by the Creators of the world and The Visitor (gods) because most of them are poor-minded and relying on gods' help too much. Their clerics see deaths of their members as act of Followers of The Visitor (they don't know about eastern part of world, else they would suspect also people living in learning of Desert way).
  3. Desert way. They believe that gods' help is wrong way and that they will change into Shining ones.
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    $\begingroup$ this looks like real world politics, not a building of a brand new world now... $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Aug 2, 2017 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ You looking to prevent conflicts in general or inter states wars? Also, is there a specific time period? $\endgroup$
    – Vincent
    Aug 2, 2017 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ There are currently no religious wars. There is violence with religious motivation, but definitely no religious war. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Aug 2, 2017 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ History is full of examples where religions have lived peacefully side by side. Religious conflict arises for political reasons and its instigators wrap themselves in their respective faiths. Therefore, keep a lid on political skullduggery and prevent discrimination along religious lines. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Aug 3, 2017 at 1:58

5 Answers 5


While @ZioByte is generally correct (and I upvoted his answer), there are cases where religion was the motivation for war and not simply the excuse used to start a war.

1) The crusades. There was no economic or power-related (at least not directly) reason for England (among others) to fight the crusades. Indeed, the cost of shipping armies from England to Jerusalem was nation-breaking.

2) Yugoslavia. For generations the various religious factions in Yugoslavia were forced by political power to live together in peace. They even intermarried. But once the Iron Curtain fell, all that hatred boiled over into a genocidal war. Bear in mind... people were teaching generations of children to continue the hate for that to happen.

In the long run, is it possible for any civilization to evolve multiple religions without religiously-based war? No, I don't believe it is possible. ZioByte's answer is fundamentally correct. Wherever there's someone who wants what another person has, religion becomes a convenient excuse to take it by force.

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    $\begingroup$ I beg to disagree (I also upvoted Your answer since it is a significant point of view), I strongly feel Crusades were started for fundamentally economic reasons and I'm not alone, while most crusaders fought for essentially religous reasons. I do not know enough Yugoslavia situation to comment on that. $\endgroup$
    – ZioByte
    Aug 2, 2017 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ The first two Crusades against the Muslims in the Levant may be considered religious wars, but the violent breakup of Yugoslavia was not motivated by religion. Religion was used as a means of propaganda, but it was not a fundamental reason. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Aug 2, 2017 at 21:48
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP, what was the fundamental reason? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 2, 2017 at 21:53
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH: At what time depth do you want to start? Limiting ourselves to the 20th century, look up the Chetniks, the Ustashas, the troubled history of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia... Wisely, the Slovenes decided very quickly that they did not want any part of that and quit early and peacefully. The Wikipedia article on the breakup of Yugoslavia offers a decent (if somewhat Western) perspective. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Aug 2, 2017 at 22:03

There are multiple explanations.

  • All of them believe in the same gods, while they only pray to one of them.

I do only pray to Zeus and believe he will listen to me. But I do accept, that overs may prefer to pray to Hades, Poseidon and everybody else 'up there'.

  • Let the gods preach peace

If all of the gods want their respective followers / religions to live in peace, they have to obey, right?

  • Resources

You can't wage war without weapons and consumables like food and water. Make them rare / hard to acquire and you should be fine, as they have other problems as war... This on the over side could also lead to war. "They have something we need. Let's take it with force." If you prefer this way, than just do the opposite. Flood your world with ressources.

  • $\begingroup$ the priests advocating the religion have a vested interest in no wars. (staying alive, maybe?) $\endgroup$ Aug 2, 2017 at 20:51
  • $\begingroup$ "Let the gods preach peace" — I don't think this will work. Christianity does that, and yet Catholics vs. Protestants is one of the listed examples of things going wrong. $\endgroup$
    – BenRW
    Dec 12, 2017 at 10:28

There are several possible measures you could take to prevent a war:

  • Make religion less significant for people. The less they care about religion, the less they will be willing to got to war for it.
  • Have your gods recognize each other. That way, praying to another god could become less offensive, taking away potential for conflict. No church should see her god as the one and only.
  • Let the country constantly have external enemys. They are great for keeping internal pressures under control.
  • The countries gouvernment should be secular. Many religious wars, especially the crusades, could only happen because the curch held significant political power.
  • Make the country economically succesfull, without discrimination towards any religion. Many religious conflicts have economic conflicts hidden underneath them, everyone having his faire share of the wealth could help to prevent this.
  • Make the people see their peacful coexistence as something positive, to develope a tradition of religious tolerance over time. Religious conflicts tend to pass down the generations (the hate for the yews, for example), the best way to avoid this is by creating different traditions.

There never was a "religious war" without an economic motivation.

Fighters, often fight for religious or otherwise "moral" reasons, but the ones with power to start a war usually have a more solid motivation.

Almost all modern nations have (often sizable) "minorities" belonging to a different faith, but they mostly live together peacefully (unless there's some economic motivation, real or narrated).

This actually is a non-question: please look deeper and you'll smell either money or power in each and any "warlike" conflict.

  • $\begingroup$ Not so. Of course any event involving large numbers of humans has a wide variety of individual motives, but there are plenty of examples where religiously motivated wars caused economic havoc. For instance Islam's initial conquest of Arabia, the Christian suppression of religions other than Christianity, Muslim vs Hindu conflicts in the Indian subcontinent... $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 3, 2017 at 5:26
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf it may have caused havoc to the economy in general, but there will always be a few individuals who either actually gained a lot or hoped to do so. Just like with modern situations: you can easily ruin half a country by continuously waging wars, But maybe the odd oil company together with producers of weapons and ammunition will see things differently. After all, all that money spent on wars goes somewhere. it's not lost. It just belongs to somebody else. $\endgroup$
    – Burki
    Dec 12, 2017 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Burki: Sure, there are always people who profit from wars: Muhhamad's troops did a lot of looting, as did the Crusaders a few centuries later, Timur's forces in India, WWI and WWII arms merchants &c. But they're simply taking advantage of circumstances: they're not (at least not very often) the reason for the war. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Dec 13, 2017 at 3:42
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf: so you really believe Spanish "Conquistadores" went to Americas to "christianize" them? Ottoman Empire was built "for the Gory of Allah"? As said the troops and lowly merchants (and adventurers, priests, etc, etc,) "took advantage of circumstances" and were often motivated by religious perspective, but they didn't start wars in the first place. Whoever had the power to start a war was invariably looking to something more concrete than the favor of gods, they then used the "correct leverage" to induce the others to cooperate (greed, religion, fear... whatever). $\endgroup$
    – ZioByte
    Dec 13, 2017 at 6:38
  • $\begingroup$ @ZioByte: But the Spanish conquest of the Americas wasn't a religious war. The religious aspects were incidental: if the Aztecs and Incas hadn't had those piles of gold, the Spanish might not have bothered, or would have done something more along the lines of what the French & English did further north. But the Islamic conquests were primarily motivated by religion. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Dec 14, 2017 at 7:21

While violence motivated by religion is quite common, actual religious wars are rare.

Religious wars are the exception, not the rule, and an exception pretty much limited to medieval and early modern Western Europe. You don't have to do much to prevent them, just keep watch and don't let particularly fanatic preachers get out of control, and prevent particularly nasty political parties taking power.

What is much more common is to co-opt religion to enhance and inflame the patriotic fervor during an ordinary non-religious war; you know, kill the infidels, restore the true faith, that kind of stuff -- one of the many aspects of war propaganda.

  • There were no religious wars between Christians and Muslims after the age of the Crusades until the modern age (if you can call the war in Bosnia a religious war). There were wars between Christian and Muslim powers, but those were not religious wars, but rather regular wars with regular economic and political reasons.

  • There were religious wars in France and, notoriously, in the Germanies, between various kinds of Protestants and Catholics; but there were no religious wars between Protestants of any kind and the Orthodox, and neither between Catholics and Orthodox; there was the famous sack of Constantinople, but that was not based on religion, just ordinary pure greed.

  • There were no religious wars between the different branches of Islam.

  • Notably, there were no religious wars that we know of in the entire Antiquity. (The Jewish Wars did have a religious component, but that was not fundamental and, moreover, it was strictly unilateral.)

So to sum it up, the only actual purely religious wars were:

  • The Crusades, at least the first and second Crusades against the Muslims in the Levant, and, dubiously but at least arguably, the Crusade against the Cathars.

  • The French Religion Wars.

  • The initial phase of the 30 Years War (after the brief initial phase it morphed into a general European war, chaotic but not really based on religion).

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    $\begingroup$ Err... The entire history of Islam? $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 3, 2017 at 5:27
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf: Well, there was the initial unpleasantness which separated the Shia from the Sunni, but I'd say that, since at that point there wasn't yet a religious distinction between the two main brances it cannot count as a religious war. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Aug 3, 2017 at 5:53
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    $\begingroup$ So you think all the Islamic conquests since that first caravan robbery were motivated purely by economics? Rather than the economic benefits being a side effect of conquering for the faith? $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 3, 2017 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf: The Arabs built an empire. They took Persia, Egypt and Syria in regular wars, fought against powerful empires. There was indeed a lot of religious fervor, exploited by the first caliphs to build their armies. But by and large, it was plain empire building. (As an aside, some historians think that the Arabs also had the sheer luck that, at that time, many Christians in Egypt and Syria were monophysites who saw the pure monotheism of Islam to be closer to their faith than the complicated trinitarianism of the official Christian church.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Aug 3, 2017 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ No, the Muslims built an empire, starting with the subjugation of other Arabs who followed different religions. Following that, the primary motive for the conquest of those other empires (and non-empires) was to spread the religion. I'm not saying they didn't enjoy the power & profit that came along with conquest, but without the religion it would never have happened. PS: Maybe you're saying that BOTH sides weren't motivated by religion? That's probably true, as the motive of the non-Islamic sides seems to have been not wanting to be subjugated. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 4, 2017 at 17:49

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