Top 10 Biggest Atrocities Committed in the Name of Religion

An estimated 89 percent of the world's population believes in some sort of monotheistic or polytheistic system - some type of religion. While the numbers per religion are only estimates, the overall message is that humans are a religious race.

The old adage of not talking about religion and politics at the dinner table to avoid conflict has never been more true as it is today. Religion is something people generally take so seriously that they have fought and died in the name of a particular belief system since the dawn of mankind.

With so many differing belief systems coexisting in an over-populated world, toes are bound to get stepped on. By and large, these disputes are more personal and result in either hurt feelings or, in some cases, ruined friendships. The potential for escalation is always present however and the propensity for violence among religious followers has been documented for millennia.

Ever since the first religions were organized there have been fights between followers. Some of these struggles have devolved onto a global scene and have taken the lives of millions. Below are some of the worst violent atrocities performed in the name of religion. This is not merely a list relating death tolls but rather the brutality, unfairness, and ignorance of the act (s) performed. And all justified as the will of "God".
The Top Ten
1 Jihads (Islam)

Christians have undoubtedly killed millions in the name of God, but the sadistic and barbaric methods with which these acts were undertaken have long since given way to an array of pacifistic and peaceful methods. It is a fact that the Muslim faith has changed very little over the last 700+ years, and the sadistic and barbaric methods employed then are still widely used today. Not to mention the unabashed chauvinism and racism. Yes, Christianity is rife with that as well, but no one can say that these are not some of the most steadfast and widely held beliefs of all Muslims.

2 The Crusades (Christianity)

Wow, as a Christian, I cannot believe the atrocities caused by Christians. I never really looked into it. It's shocking that people have killed and hurt others in the name of Christianity when these things are completely condemned in the Holy Bible. Judging others, racism, hurting others, revenge, and murder - all these things are forbidden and sinful acts.

Wow, these people really were not true Christians. They weren't acting in the name of Jesus Christ anyway. Jesus's message was for us to repent for our sins and turn to God, to love our neighbor, not judge others, be kind to each other, love our enemies, lend to the person who asks to borrow from you, not be greedy, share with others. The virtue that Christianity is built upon is love. These people were obviously not acting out of love but out of hate in their hearts. That hate doesn't come from Christianity. They have been ledastray.

3 Muslim Conquests 622-1924 (Islam)

People are little aware of the Muslim conquests, but all too knowledgeable of the papal-led charge to spread Catholicism across the Americas and Africa. The Muslims had a very similar plan, and one of the consequences of this was not only death at the hands of Islamic invaders but death at the hands of Christians sent to quash the Muslim invasion.

From Muhammad all the way to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, from the mass killings of Hindus to the Armenian Genocide, Muslims systematically killed millions upon millions.

4 Armenian Genocide (Islam)

This genocide inspired Hitler's Holocaust so much that he believed he could get away with the Holocaust just like the Turks did with this genocide.

I'm half Armenian, so I'm voting for this.

5 9/11 (Islam)

Approximately 3,000 people died, a national landmark was destroyed, and the entire country was sent into a state of absolute fear. One of the biggest tragedies in American history.

9/11 is the reason why so many people think Muslims are terrorists. It basically started the entire stereotype!

This should be #1. The KKK and Holocaust were not Christian. They actually hated Christians.

6 Mistreatment of Women (Islam)

They are mistreated in all possible ways.

7 Ethnic Cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus (Islam)

They killed them, raped the women who did not agree to willingly submit. They had a slogan: "Kill the man and keep the women to grow Islam." All men and children were killed brutally! The Government of India and the media all went silent. Some feared the vote bank, and some feared for their lives.

8 The Inquisition (Christianity)

Everyone has heard of the "Spanish Inquisition," but the Inquisition is actually a group of institutions within the Roman Catholic Church. Tracing back to the 12th century, the goal of these institutions was to combat secular sectarianism. Aimed at keeping its own members "faithful," the Catholic Church began holding trials for those with non-mainstream beliefs within the church and, for a long period of time, engaged in torture to coerce the individual to conform. In the cases where no repentance was received, the death penalty was used as punishment. All in all, there were an estimated 300,000 people put on trial with about 6,000 being executed.

9 Thuggee Murders (Muslim)

Members of India's Thuggee sect strangled people as sacrifices to appease the goddess Kali, a practice beginning in the 1500s. The number of victims has been estimated to be as high as 2 million. Thugs were claiming about 20,000 lives a year in the 1800s. At a trial in 1840, one "Thug" was accused of killing 931 people.

10 Beheading of Journalists (Islam)
The Contenders
11 Genocide of Native Americans (Christianity)

"It wasn't a genocide"... it absolutely WAS a genocide. They were systematically starved, given blankets with smallpox, had their children removed, were shot if they didn't relocate, and were forced to relocate by walking with no supplies all winter (Trail of Tears... they were forced to start marching across the US in October, men, women, elderly, children... dying of cold and exhaustion).

The buffalo were slaughtered, as mandated by the colonial governments, so that they went from 25 million to about 600 individual animals, over just a few years, resulting in mass starvation. There are good books about how it was both a genocide and a cultural genocide.

12 The Holocaust (Christianity)

Hitler used Christianity as a tool to get the German people on his side and engage with mass torture and murder. For Hitler, he was not committing these acts in the name of Christianity. It was a political move to convince the people that he was. Nazi soldiers were committing these acts in the name of the religion. Regardless of Hitler's motives, the Holocaust happened because of Christianity.

Hitler saw religion, specifically Christianity, as a temporary ally - an organizational power worth leveraging. At first, he used that to his advantage but later found churches a threat to his own power and became more and more hostile towards them. The Holocaust had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the Nazi mission to 'promote' and 'perfect' the Aryan race. Read a book, people. Seriously.

13 The Ku Klux Klan Murders (Christianity)

Someone mentioned the Bible mentions "Thou shalt not kill" as an argument that the KKK isn't a Christian group. That's not even a logical argument, considering everything in the past Christians have done. Regardless of that, the Bible also says, "Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head." (Leviticus 20:9)

The KKK is very much a Christian-based religion.

"The second and third incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan made frequent references to America's 'Anglo-Saxon' blood, hearkening back to 19th-century nativism. Although members of the KKK swear to uphold Christian morality, virtually every Christian denomination has officially denounced the KKK."

14 Mayan Sacrifice (Mayan)

Human sacrifice blossomed in the Mayan theocracy of Central America between the 11th and 16th centuries. To appease a feathered-serpent god, maidens were drowned in sacred wells, and other victims either had their hearts cut out, were shot with arrows, or were beheaded.

Not as bad as the Aztec sacrifices. As my history teacher says, Mayans were tiny compared to the Aztecs in sacrifice. However, a heart being ripped out is just mortifying. It sure is a good thing that these sacrifices don't happen anymore... right?

15 Witch Hunts & Wiccan Murders (Christianity)

One of those killed (because the Catholic leaders assumed that she was a witch) was Saint Joan of Arc (burned at the stake on May 30, 1431). Her final words were "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus." She is now a saint of the Catholic Church.

Wait, so you're okay with murdering 300,000 people if you spread it out over 300 years? That's almost three murders a day. Hail Satan, apparently.

Wicca is a modern name for paganism. It was witch hunts and pagan murders.

16 Biblical Endorsement to Mistreat Homosexuals (Christianity)

Does your Bible contain the Old Testament? If so, own it or take it out. There is no place between the Old and New Testament that says STOP HERE.

The church made homosexuality illegal. There is still homophobia around because not everyone will either get with the times, realize that love is love, or it's still illegal in another country they live in.

17 French Wars of Religion (Christianity)

The French Wars of Religion is the name of a period of civil infighting and military operations, primarily fought between French Catholics and Protestants. Between 2 and 4 million people were killed.

18 Boston Marathon Bombings (Islam)
19 30 Years' War (Christianity)

Initially, religion was a motivation for the war as Protestant and Catholic states fought over what is now modern-day Germany and Italy. Involving most of the European countries, it was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history, with an estimated 3 to 11.5 million casualties.

This war destroyed a third of the population. It caused starvation and disease. The landscape of Northern Europe was obliterated. Most forests were gone. It pretty much destroyed everything.

Wow, Christianity in the past was really dark, similar to the Bible. Oh, and I wonder if they read it more than the fundamentalists nowadays and didn't cherry-pick, but just guessing.

20 Abortion clinic bombings (Christianity)

This is the single most important atrocity being committed today. This and the manipulative control of access to this kind of birth control. The same pro-lifers that bizarrely take lives for this reason abandon these unborn children in life and refuse to help support parents who knew they couldn't handle a child in the first place. Upvote this.

21 Satanic Sacrifices (Satanism)

There never really was any Satanism around the modern period. But back then? Yeah, probably.

22 India and Pakistan Partition (Hindu & Muslims) 1947
23 Incan Sacrifice (Incan)

In the 1200s, the Incas built their empire in Peru, a society dominated by priests reading daily magical signs and offering sacrifices to appease many gods. At major ceremonies, up to 200 children were burned as offerings. Special "chosen women" were strangled.

24 2009 Fort Hood Shooting (Islam)
25 7/7/2005 (Islam)
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