Reasons for War Between Two Religions

Discussion in 'Research' started by Centerfield97, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. Centerfield97

    Centerfield97 Lore Master

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    I'm having trouble figuring out a way to turn animosity between two religious factions into a full-out war.

    Currently, there are two, the Brotherhood and the Pale. They believe in opposing Gods, have opposing traditions, etc. The Brotherhood is significantly larger, richer, and more powerful than the Pale, and currently manipulate the Emperor sitting on the throne.

    What are events that would cause the Brotherhood to simply outlaw the Pale, or call for a crusade/genocide of anybody not within the Brotherhood? For a while I was thinking serial murders would be a good idea, until I realized that murders are a cause for arrest and execution, not the wide-scale conflict I'm searching for. I figured perhaps history had some precedent?

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. Xanados

    Xanados Scribal Lord

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    If this war and its factions are an important part of your narrative, you shouldn't have a problem with finding an excuse for them to war. My story is essentially a war-effort between two prime factions. The conflict? Religion. It's a lot more complex than this, obviously. This is a perfectly good reason for conflict, as we all know.

    You're right that murders aren't a cause for war, but what about assassination? You could have a politically charged assassination that sparks a war.

    I can't really say much more. Their belief in opposing Gods, traditions and believes are already a cause for war. It's natural.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  3. Graham Irwin

    Graham Irwin Mystagogue

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    Think about how the Pharaoh Herod ordered the murder of all male children, because they posed a threat to his rule.

    The ruling party would start a war if they feared the Pale's might usurp their power.
     
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Try economics. Money, resources, the old theories of mercantilism that the wealth of a nation was fixed and could only be improved by taking it from another country - those are the things which are today given credit for causing most wars, aren't they?
     
  5. Androxine Vortex

    Androxine Vortex Shadow Lord

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    Think about the Crusades. Lots of Christians slaughtered and invaded other countries (generally islamic) in a huge religious genocide. There are plenty of example from real world history you can sue for inspiration, but I think the Crusades is a great place to start.
     
  6. Xanados

    Xanados Scribal Lord

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    This is what I was thinking when I said, "This is a perfectly good reason for conflict, as we all know," and "It's natural."
     
  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I'm not defending the Crusades, although there are much worse examples, but genocide is a strong word that should really only be used when it's accurate. True genocidal episodes have resulted in millions of deaths and the total destruction of peoples; the death toll of the crusades was a pittance by comparison. The Crusades were at worst religious imperialism, not genocide.
     
  8. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    So what you're looking for is the spark that takes it from these two religions really not liking each other, but tolerating the other's existance, to actively trying to destroy one another?

    Well, religions are made up of people, and sometimes people do horrific things in the name of their beliefs even when unsupported by those around them. Look at that Norwegian gunman last year (I forget his name) who believed it was acceptable to murder dozens of people because they were affiliated with a group he disliked the political policies of. You could go that route - a vigilante dissatisfied with the official line of "live and let live" who decides it's time to do something about it. Then the other religion reacts as it might by retaliating in kind, or else condemning it, with members of that religion actively seeking the culpit and not really caring if they're right as long as they hurt/kill someone of the religion the culprit is from. Meanwhile, those of the religion the culprit is from are divided between those who think what he/she did was right, and those who fear reprisals, etc. From there it just requires a few poorly chosen words, a few individuals to take it upon themselves do stand up for their own beliefs, and you've got a war on your hands.

    Alternatively, if you've got a power imbalance, and especially if this is reflected in the population, where the religion in power also has the greater number of followers, dislike can become persecution, which becomes guerilla resistance from the other religion. Think how the Romans persecuted the Christians, but imagine they had just enough power to fight back (I should point out, however, that the Romans/Christians thing did go the other way some two to three centuries later, with the Christians in positions of power and the pagans being persecuted and driven underground).

    I can't think of any ancient Greece examples of religion-based conflicts; the Greeks would believe in any god, if they thought he/she had power to make their life difficult if they didn't, and incorporated lots of gods into their belief system. The more they worshipped, the less likely they were to piss one off, after all. There was even an altar to the unknown god in Athens, in case they'd accidentally left one out.
     
  9. Anders Ämting

    Anders Ämting Dark Lord

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    The thing about that is, at least the First Crusade had little to do with attacking people because of their faith and a lot more to do with the situation in Europe at the time. Contrary to popular belief, people don't declare war on other peope just because they believe in different gods, and they absolutely don't declare war on other people just because they believe in the same god but for different reasons. It's actually a kinda complex and rather fascinating story.

    See, Europe had just come out of the viking age, one of the most violent periods ever. While the old order of people randomly murder-robbing each other for a living had faded away, it had been replaced by a feudal society based on a warrior elite of knights. It was still violent times, but most of Europe was Christianed under the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican now faced a problem in that they had a whole continent of kingdoms with a surplus of warriors who were not supposed to fight each other. A Christian, ideally, should not make war on another Christian, but all those knights still needed something to do. So they tried to think of a way to channel all this martial excellence towards a productive goal (for them) and realized that, hey, the Muslims have Jerusalem! We have all these knight, so why don't we just take it back?

    So this huge army of people from all over Europe got together and marched on the Holy Land. This was an enormous and kinda insane endevour and most likely, non of them had any idea what they were in for. When the army finally reached Jerusalem they were all nearly dead from exhaustion, starvation and heat stroke. Taking the city under those condition would have been almost impossible but by some miracle they actually pulled it off. They conquered the city and killed every single Muslim they found inside, and then they probably got drunk for a week.

    But here's where it gets really interesting. See, once they calmed down a bit, they realized that they had overlooked one tiny little detail: Jerusalem was now the only Christian kingdom in the entire middle east, and they were completely surrounded by Muslims.

    Ops.

    So, since they couldn't actually fight the entire muslim world, they did what all small groups of invaders do when they find themselves in the middle of a larger culture: They adapted. They started trading with the muslims, because there was nobody else to trade with. They started talking the same language as the muslims, because that made it easier to trade with them. They started dressing like the muslims, and picked up some of their habits, like bathing and using perfumes. And, miraculously, everyone actually got along pretty okay and the Kingdom of Jerusalem lasted for almost a hundred years. Towards the end, this was mostly because the Christian King Baldwin IV and Muslim leader/Jedi Master Saladin were cooperating to make sure everybody kept their shit together.

    Trouble was, Baldwin suffered from leprocy and died at the age of 24. He was succeeded by his brother-in-law Guy de Lusignan, who was completely out of his mind. This guy was a freaking land-pirate and Baldwin had actually tried to annull his marriage to his sister specifically to keep him off the throne, because he knew King Guy was going to royally mess everything up.

    And mess things up he did. Guy started his reign by essentially declaring war on Saladin, which culminated in a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Hattin, after which Saladin tossed him in jail. Saladin then declared that he'd "officially had enough of this bullshit", marched his army to Jerusalem and kicked all the Christians out.

    (Some of you may recognise this as the entire plot of the movie Kingdom of Heaven, which did take a lot of liberties but was surprisingly not completely innacurate. You know, for a Hollywood movie.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
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  10. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    There are several accounts of survivors, and many of the statements about "leaving none alive" refer to specific locations within the city, such as the temple, and not to the city as a whole. It's also worth mentioning that much of the city had already evacuated. You give the impression that the death toll was in the hundreds of thousands, but it was a fraction of that number.
     
  11. Butterfly

    Butterfly Dark Lord

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    This thread reminds me of a book that was highlighted in one of the national newspapers a while ago. About the most bloodiest wars throughout history - Atrocitology, by Matthew White - I'm thinking it might be an interesting read on the subject and it's on my list. I am reading other stuff at the moment, so I might get around to buying it a bit later in the year. Could be good for research.

    Anyone read it BTW?

    Edit: As it's payday tomorrow, I've decided I may as well buy it now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  12. Ravana

    Ravana Istari

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    Uhm… you've got all that, and you're looking for reasons for them to go to war with one another? Factions have gone to war with one another over far less than that.

    Look up the Albigensians and the Hussites. Both led to crusades of Christians against Christians, prior to the Reformation: the Albigensian crusade became an extermination (and the Inquisition was originally created to root out the remaining Catharists, of whom the Albigensians had been the most successful incarnation); the Hussites ultimately collapsed—after five failed crusades against them—because they split into two factions which fought one another.

    The trigger for the Albigensian crusade was the murder of a single papal legate—so, yes, under the right circumstances, this can be more than sufficient. And, while the causes of the Thirty Years' War are probably innumerably complex, the trigger for the greatest conflict Europe had ever seen prior to WWI was the tossing of a couple imperial representatives out of a window… a fall they survived.

    I'd say you've already got plenty. The triggering event can be trivial. The only question is whether or not the factions are already predisposed to conflict; if they are, just about anything can set it off.



    P.S. Both the Albigensian Crusade and the Thirty Years' War have chapters in the book Butterfly mentioned.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  13. Anders Ämting

    Anders Ämting Dark Lord

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    Ah, my bad.

    But the part about Saladin being a Jedi Master was totally historically correct, yes?
     
  14. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Yes, but I haven't been able to find any reliable information as to the color of his lightsaber.

    I only mentioned the thing because of the previous remarks about genocide.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  15. Kevlar

    Kevlar Lore Master

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    This confirms my suspicions that Richard the Lionheart was a Sith lord. Can you guess what colour his lightsaber was?

    In all seriousness, though, the Crusades were far too complex to be fully explained, or understood, by any one person. One fact that is often overlooked is just how many Jews the crusaders killed. I bring this up to point out that a war between two religions can have major reprecusions on those it should never have involved in the first place.

    Also consider that without the people, the Crusades would have failed. Every person had a different reason to leave for Jerusalem. Some genuinely fought for their religion, others wanted land, wealth and power, and others simply wanted a life that was worth more than their previous one.

    What I'm saying is, your holy war will never have one reason. Everyone involved will have their own reasons, but there will be an event, or a chain of them, or perhaps even a slow shift, that leads to war.

    Murder, power, resources and clergy are all distinct possibilities, and personally I would use more than one. Cause is the easy part. Reason might be summed up by one side or another, ("deus vult!") but it will never be that simple.
     
  16. Androxine Vortex

    Androxine Vortex Shadow Lord

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    Thanks for the corrections, I admit I don't know too much about the Crusades.
    lol
     
  17. SeverinR

    SeverinR Valar Lord

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    Two opposing religions have fuel for a war as a given,
    all you need is a spark.

    Add more fuel by the stereo typing of the enemy;
    the "enemy"(being either side) is always honorless, blood thirsty, cold hearted, killers of women and children, prone to mass orgies, looking to kill and steal everything from their neighbors when they aren't looking, and less then human, and practice rituals that are diametrically opposed to the "right" religion, and of course torture anyone they catch(so no one surrenders and fight more fiercely.).

    It is much easier to fear/hate/kill a person if you believe this is how they are, and definately easier when "they" are less then human.

    Reality is they aren't much different then the people they oppose, just have a little different way of thinking or religious ceremonies. Of course this does not apply to the zealots, the religious fanatics doing thier worst in the name of their god.

    of course, they must get along most of the time, or they would tear each other down with endless war, allowing a third party to sweep in and conquer both weakened armies, or attempt to, in which both neighbors might join to fight the common enemy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  18. Stari Bogovi

    Stari Bogovi Apprentice

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    The first analogue that comes to my mind is the Protestant Reformation. Luther was considered a reformer within the universal Roman Catholic church; he didn't want to split from it, and there was this vague concept of "German Catholicism" at the time which he embodied. (I'm going off of faulty memory here.) It was one thing to get a few peasants riled up, but then Princes started following him. There's the famous scene where a room full of Luther-following Princes knelt before the Holy Roman Emperor, politely offering their heads that they would keep their newfound faith, forcing the Emperor to relent in that moment.

    As for events that would cause the Brotherhood to move drastically. There was the Prague Castle incident that started the Thirty Year War (which was when the Catholic-Protestant split got REALLY nasty). The Holy Roman Empire sent envoys to Prague, and the Protestant Princes shoved them through a high window. They landed in the moat (manure trench, basically) and lived. That was what kicked things off.

    In France you had the Catholics vs. the Huguenats. Henry II was a liberal accomodationist who went out of his way to smooth things over, but then he died in a hunting accident and things got much worse. Henry IV came along and put a stop to their persecution and gave them back their legal status, but then Louis XIV became king and things got much worse.

    Now, when you say "opposing gods" do you mean within the same pantheon? Do the Pales worship what the Brotherhood would consider "satan" or the "evil ones", or is it more complicated and not so black-and-white?

    Or are the Pales an entirely new religious movement, much like early Christianity was vis-a-vis ancient Roman paganism? Is it an in-house conflict like Catholicism-vs.-Protestantism or is it a new upstart religion that came from the outside?
     
  19. Konstanz

    Konstanz Master

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    I can answer your question with one word. Anything.

    If a religion isn't tolerant towards other religions (most monotheistic religions aren't, most polytheistic religions are) then they will always find a reason to start a war. Especially if the religion is led by an organization (most of the time with one leader) it will always declare war on anything that threatens its power. The pope of Christianity declared war on the Muslims because he wanted more power, riches etc. He wanted to convert more people to Christianity because then he would have power over them. Not because he really, really wanted pilgrims to visit Christ's birthplace. Pilgrims could do that before Jerusalem was taken, all they had to do was travel there.

    A religious war doesn't have a reason other than itself.
     
  20. Elder the Dwarf

    Elder the Dwarf Scribal Lord

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    Always so helpful, Ravana. I would just like to add one small thing, but I think it is important. Correct me if I'm wrong, but (I'm assuming) the delegates here were thrown out of the window either by a leader or on the command of a leader. Any hostile actions or commands given by the Pale's leader, therefore, would be enough to start a full-scale conflict against each and every member of their religion. The reaction would be even more intense if the hostilities took place in a sacred place or under a truce, such as at a meeting between the religions. And that is my two cents on the subject, hope it helped.
     
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