Were Most Human Deaths Caused By Religion?

Death Tolls

Sometimes when in discussion with atheists or people resisting Christianity, or religion in general you will hear the claim that religion has been the cause of the most human suffering and death in the world. Typically, events like the Crusades, the so-called "witch hunts" and the Inquisition will be trotted out as proof. And many Christians will shrink back or will say something like, "Even so, Christianity as it was espoused by Christ is non-violent." Although it is true that Christianity as espoused by Christ was to be spread not by the sword (as Islam is designed), but by the Word, by mere preaching. But why should we allow the atheist to even use the Crusades and such as evidence in their claim that most human suffering and death has been caused by religion. It plainly is not true. RELATED ARTICLE

What I want to do is offer a detailed listing of human death from the 18th century through the 20th century and see if the claim is true. Yes, we'll also look at the Crusades, the witch hunts and the Inquisition.


18th Century Slave Trade

  • Atlantic slave trade: ca. 5,000,000 transported and 8,100,000 died.
  • Islamic slave trade: ca. 1,300,000 transported and 2,000,000 died.

Seven Years War (1755-63)

  • 1 million, 300,000

French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars (1792-1802)

  • Estimated 3-4 million

And these wars were supposed to be about bringing "freedom" to civilized men.

War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13)

  • 1 million, 324,300

Yet another non-religious war

As we leave the 1700s don't forget all of the many, many other events -- all non-religious where hairless apes killed other hairless apes.

On to the 19th century...

19th Century Slave Trade

  • Atlantic slave trade: ca. 1.6M transported and 2.5M deaths.
  • Islamic slave trade: ca. 2M transported and 3M died.

Venezuela, power struggles (1830-1903)

  • 1 million

Colonial El Niño Famines (1876-1900)

  • 31-61 million

American Civil War (1861-65)

  • Over 600,000

Paraguay, War of the Triple Alliance (1864-70)

  • Over 1 million or more than 80% of its population

Maybe it gets better when we get to the 20th century??? I mean, mankind becomes so much more advanced....well at least advanced at killing each other.

  • WWI (1914-18)= 15 million (half of that is non-military death) and this is a low estimate
  • Russian Civil War (1917-22) = 9 million
  • Soviet Union, Stalin's regime (1924-53) = 20-51 million (the Soviets were decidedly "atheistic", right?)
  • WWII (1937-45) = 55 million (yet another non-religious war)
  • Post-War Expulsion of Germans from East Europe (1945-47) = 2 million, 100,000
  • Chinese Civil War (1945-49) = 2 million, 500,000 (another not so "civil" war)
  • People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong's regime (1949-1975) = 40 million (again an "atheist" thing)
  • Tibet (1950 et seq.) = 600,000 (China imposing "atheism" on others)
  • Korean War (1950-53) = 2 million, 800,000
  • North Korea (1948 et seq.) = 1 million, 663,000 (not even warring, just imposing "atheism" on its own people)
  • Rwanda and Burundi (1959-95) = 1 million 350,000
  • Second Indochina War [including Vietnam] (1960-75) = 3 million, 500,000
  • Ethiopia (1962-92) = 1 million, 400,000
  • Afghanistan (1979-2001) = 1 million, 800,000 (Soviets trying to impose "atheism" again)
  • Sudan (1983 et seq.) = 1 million, 900,000 (no more slave trade deaths, so they start killing each other??)
  • Kinshasa Congo (1998 et seq.) = 3 million 800,000

Shall I go on?

Just to be fair, how about those "Crusades"??? (which in reality was less about Christianity and more about securing wealth) Certainly that had to be the biggest death toll, since according to atheists, most people have died due to "religions". Or how about the "Witch hunts" or the Inquisition? That should really push up the numbers eh?

  • Crusades (1095-1291) = 1-5 million
  • Witch Hunts (1400-1800) = est 20-100 thousand
  • Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834) = est 32 thousand

Wow, I guess the hairless apes have Christians beat when it comes to killing. So you see, the claim that most human suffering has been caused by religion, is just plain false. Don't let anyone use this argument ever again.