Are Some Religions More Conflict-Prone Than Others?

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This article focuses on the question of whether some religions are more conflict prone than others. There are several schools of thought on the topic, most of which focus on Islam. First some, like Samuel Huntington, argue that Islam is becoming increasingly violent in comparison to other religions. Second are those, like Daniel Pipes, who argue that some but not all Muslims are more violent. Finally, there are many who argue that no religion is more conflict-prone than others. This includes the modernization and secularization schools of thought which argue that religious conflict will decease because religion is becoming less important in the modern era. However, there are others who argue that modernization has resulted in a resurgence of religion, causing an increase in religious conflict. This study tests these propositions using the State Failure dataset from the years 1965 to 2001. The results show that on an absolute level, Christians are involved in the most conflict, Muslims are involved in the most conflict in proportion to their population size, and the majority of these conflicts are intrareligious rather than inter-religious. Finally, the pattern of conflict does not conform to any of the theories in the literature. The absolute level of religious conflict followed the pattern of general conflict and increased steadily until the early 1990s and then dropped. However, religious conflict as a proportion of all conflict in any given year increased steadily throughout the period covered in this study, especially among Muslims.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)81-100
JournalJewish Political Studies Review
Issue number1/2
StatePublished - 2004


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