Religion and Conflict


Religion is not the main cause of conflict today, according to the latest research report from the Institute for Economics and Peace. The report, Five Key Questions Answered on the Link between Peace and Religion, provides a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between peace and religion.

Is religion the main cause of conflict today?

The statistical analysis shows that while religious elements may have an impact, there are many other motivators of armed conflict.

Of the 35 armed conflicts that took place last year, religious elements did not play a role in 14 of them. Furthermore, religion is not the single cause of any of these conflicts, rather one of many other grievances associated with conflict. In five of the conflicts, religion and religious ideology were the two main causes.

The graph above represents the causes of conflict for the 35 armed conflicts in 2013. As we can see, religious elements and identity were factors; however conflict was driven by many other aspects. 30 of the 35 conflicts had more than one cause.

For more details, and to see a breakdown of the causes of conflict per country, download the Five Key Questions Answered on the Link between Peace and Religion Report and skip to page 6.

About the report

‘Religion and Peace’ is a global statistical analysis of the empirical link between religion and peace. The report answers five key questions based on common themes featured in popular media. The five questions addressed are:

Question 1: Is religion the main cause of conflict today?

Question 2: Does the proportion of religious belief or atheism in a country determine the peace of the country?

Question 3: Does the demographic spread of Sunni and Shia in Muslim majority countries affect peace?

Question 4: Is religion key to understanding what drives peace?

Question 5: Can religion play a positive role in peacebuilding?

Download the Report

For more information, download the full report: "Five Key Questions Answered on the Link between Peace and Religion"

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