A comprehensive list of all religious atrocities (community effort)

I’ve decided to take on the impossible task of compiling every religious atrocity (and immoral act) since the dawn of time. No problem, right? These atrocities could range from holy war to influence over a legal decision. Did a Christian organization manage to get a human rights bill blocked? Did Pope Urban II call a Crusade against Muslims? I want as many things as you all can think of. If religion wasn’t necessarily the cause, but definitely had an influence, put (partial) next to the event.

Feel free to challenge anyone else’s claim. It’s easy to say “religion has done a lot of harm” but I think an overwhelming list would be more effective in making the point. Whenever you think of something during the day, just come back here and add it to the list.


Jehovah’s Witnesses and blood transfusions.

Wow. Seems to me to be a huge undertaking. Thousands of cultures and religions going back to the beginning of recorded history.
Off the top of my admittedly ignorant head, I’ll mention a few: you already mentioned the Crusades, lots of them over hundreds of years; the Aztecs were notorious for human sacrifices and cannibalism; Protestants and Catholics fighting, including The Thirty Years War and the fighting in Northern Ireland; the Inquisitions across Europe; all the fighting in the Middle East over the millennia.
That’s just a drop in the bucket probably. Yikes.
Carry on all,

I fear you underestimate the sheer amount of data you are going to get … it will be massive … the catholic church alone will give you a mountain… not just the errant priests … the child abusers…but the baby stealing nuns of ireland ,spain and south america …

still it is a noble enterprise … and in support of it please consider the following…

In the 16th century there were four major religious conflicts… 3,100,000 dead.
Spanish Armada 1588. 30,000 dead.
Huguenot Wars (France) 1562-1598. 2,830,000 dead.
St. Bartholemews Day Massacre (France) 1572. 70,000 dead.
Dutch Revolt 1566-1609 100,000 dead.

In the 17th century there were three major religious conflicts… 8,405,000 dead.
English Civil War 1642-1646 868,000 dead.
Shimabara Revolt (Japan) 1637-1638 37,000 dead.
The Thirty Years War (Europe)1618-1648 7,500,000 dead.

In the 18th century there was one major religious conflict… 10,000 dead.
Massacre of Catholic Converts in Korea 1784-1794 10,000 dead.

In the 19th century there were six major religious conflicts… 25,780,000 dead.
Bahai Massacres (Persia) 1848-1854 20,000 dead.
Boxer Rebellion (China) 1899-1901. 115,000 dead.
Christian/Druse War (Lebanon) 1860 . 15,000 dead.
Mahdist Sudanese Wars 1881-1898 5,500,000 dead.
Taiping Rebellion (China) 1850-1864 20,000,000 dead.
Massacre of Catholic Converts in Vietnam 1832-1887 130,000 dead.

In the 20th century there were fourteen major religious conflicts… 1,278,887 dead.
Algerian Islamist Uprising 1992 100,000 dead.
Croatian War 1991-1992 25,000 dead.
Bosnian War 1992 -1995 175,000.
Hindu-Moslem riots in India 1992-2002 8,600 dead.
India/Pakistan Partition 1947 500,000 dead.
Iran Islamist Rebellion 1979 2,500 dead.
Iraq Shiite Rising 1991-1992 40,000 dead.
Lebanese War 1975-1992 150,000 dead.
Molluca Islands Christian/Muslim conflict 1999 - ? 5,000 dead.
Mongolia Stalinist destruction of Buddhism 1937-1939 30,000 dead.
Russian Pogroms 1905-1906 95,000 dead.
Nigeria Christian/Muslim conflict 1992- ? 53,787 dead.
Arab/Israeli Wars 1948- ? 78,000 dead.
Sikh uprising in India 1982-1991 16,000 dead.

The point that these wars would have happened anyway if religion did not exist ,is wrong.
Study the list ,check the facts , don’t just go with my figures …check for yourself …then
you’ll see that each of these deaths is directly attributable to religion and would not have
happened if religion did not exist….all those lives….all that human potential … wiped out for what…?
For nothing … for a con.
How many potential Mozarts , how many Einsteins ,how many Schweitzers ….
How much further advanced would civilisation be if these individuals had been able to have their input.

Odd that the number of “wars” dropped during the “Enlightenment” and even odder that the
numbers are increasing now.

As you say, an impossible task. Why? Do you think you will then be able to make sweeping generalisations about religion? I’m not convinced history is binary.

Also, individual perceptions of individuals and of historians, differ. Morality is relative and a matter of perception. I’m unable to accept models of absolute morality. Nor am I in any position to judge others.

For me it’s because ‘religious wars’, burning heretics ,killing jews, burning heretics etc etc etc, etc, were not necessarily (if at all) about religion . They were about control, power and wealth. Still are imo

Throughout European history (at least) all sides in conflict have tended to claim God was on their side.

The people who thought they were fighting for their faith tended to be some of the poor dumb bastards doing the dying. The crusades must have seemed like a grand adventure, just like say WW1 seemed to the millions of volunteer canon fodder.

We humans have an apparently unlimited ability to rationalise literally any behaviour.

Just one example: The First Crusades… 1095-1102 ce. It was called after by Pope Urban 11 after an appeal for help from the Byzantine emperor Alexis 1 Komnenos. The stated goal was to re take Jerusalem from the Muslims. The Muslims defended their territory.

The crusade was about territory ,wealth and power.

The pope declared that anyone who went on crusades would have all sins remitted. A powerful self interested motivation. For religion? Not so much, for a religious belief perhaps… .

Who went on Crusade? Of European Nobility it tended to be second sons, who had no inheritance. There was staggering amount loot to be had. That loot was the foundation of many noble European Houses.

Before they went on Crusade, it was common for these noble persons to have a pogrom and murder any jews they could find. The reason stated for pre crusade pogroms was that Jews were Christ killers. The real reason was at that time only Jews loaned money at interest***. So, the the nobles murdered their creditors went off to the crusades which would forgive all of their sins.

Having said that, I’m not making a truth claim, but simply outlining my perspective. I’m unable to share what I see as a simplistic view. However, I agree to differ.


***In the middle ages, Christians were forbidden to lend money at intertest. THAT was the sin of usury Apologists today deny that, trying to water it down to UNREASONABLE interest. Another reason I’m so distrustful of apologists.

Let’s add up the list you got @watchman
(in thousands)

= 38,574,000 people just from religious based wars.

Mine to add the list? ~10 billion lives lost and/or greatly decreased quality of living, based on current trends.

I think about the future more than the past. I think the biggest damage being done now is the popular religious based opinion that human caused climate change is not a thing, and we should not bother to do anything substantial about it, if not out right deny it and call it a hoax.

For a lot of religions the basic premise that humans can doom the planet to all human and animal life, instead of “god” being in control, is antithesis to their whole god concept, especially considering the vast majority of people do not believe in one particular concept of god. (Meaning their god idea is actually powerless over 99+% of the population and what they do.)

Even worse, the solution is most certainly not: “faith in god,” prayer, penitence etc. but instead greatly reducing fossil fuel consumption as well as greatly reducing terraforming, (especially for the insanely environmentally expensive: meat products.) AKA listening to the experts in the field that pull real measurable testable data, not what the religious leader is preaching about their god idea.

We are well on our way to seeing billions of the poorest starve because the planet will simply not be able to feed everyone, as life sustaining biomass continues to rapidly diminish, along with climate change reducing the amount of available crop land.

Science and human ingenuity might be able save the day, but so far these avenues have seen a lot of resistance from the large religion/god idea organizations. I put the blame at the people alive today, of which a VAST majority of them ascribe to a god idea, I think its fair to put most of the blame of future lives lost or diminished at religion/god institutions feet.

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@watchman Mongolia Stalinist destruction of Buddhism 1937-1939 what religious branch is communism under

The cult of personality.

@Whitefire13 so it’s a cult not a religion

Don’t all religions start by being cults around a personality? Seems some grew more successful through the years … that and a tax free status which makes them “respectable”.

@Whitefire13 the reasons for most atrocities is due to ideology rather than religion.

Greetings Pap45murf and Fellow Unbelievers,
I am new here at Atheist Republic and wasn’t sure where to start, so I thought I would jump in here.

This isn’t an exhaustive set of sources, but they are ready-made. I cite them often and they go a long way at documenting atrocities of the major Abrahamic Religions:

The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible/Qu’ran/Book of Mormon

666 Christian Crimes

The Religion of Peace (Documents Islamic atrocities on a daily basis committed since 9/11/2001)

If you sift out Robert Spencer’s Christian apologetics, his website also does a good job at documenting the daily and historic horrors of Islam:


The Late Professor Rudolph Rummel is a master scholar on the subject of Democide (mass murder of humans for racial, ethnic, political, social, or religious justifications) and would be an excellent source for your project. Many, if not all of the atrocities mentioned above are subjects of his scholarship:

Professor Rudolph Rummel–Power Kills

Again, not exhaustive, but great places to start.

A note of caution: Though knowledge of this subject is necessary, try not to steep yourself too deep in this subject. It can be very depressing and hope-shattering for a person’s sense of humanity. The ultimate object should be to find solutions so that we all can live out the cry of “Never Again!”

Lol - and the two are separate? Seriously - when you write “ideology” I go to the common meaning … “ a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.”

HOWEVER religion has ideology “visionary speculation, especially of an unrealistic or idealistic nature.“ AND many a political system is made up of “religious folk” who insert their various god beliefs into the political process.

@Whitefire13 I know religions have ideologies and the differences in ideologies has caused people to throw away their morals and ethics in the pursuit of an ideology. Whether that be a political or religious ideology.