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Emily Huffman

Tierney
World History
December 16, 2013
Has religion had a positive or negative impact on history? Consider the impact of both Islam
and Christianity on medieval societies.
Breaking News: Religion Starts Yet Another War
Religion is where many people find comfort; reasoning for why things happen in the
world. Since ancient times, people have always relied on religion to help guide their lives, and
depended on their religion for answers. However, peoples have nearly never been capable of
allowing others to believe something different than them if they are living in close proximity.
With this mentality, wars have been started due to religion many a time over the centuries, and it
is no coincidence. Overall, religion has had a negative impact on history.
There are several examples of how religion has created conflict amongst different
religious groups, especially during the medieval ages. The first example is the fall of Rome.
Rome fell due to various reasons; one of them being the introduction of Christianity. The official
religion of the empire was Zorastrianism, but due to the introduction of Christianity it gradually
tore the empire apart due to conflict of religions, as well as barbarian invasions.
In the medieval ages, religion once again began to tear civilizations apart. The Crusades,
whose main goal was to reclaim the Holy Lands and drive the Turks out of Spain, was both
bloody and unsuccessful. The knights were trying to take land back from the Muslims, though
both religious groups felt they had claim to the land. Because of this, many violent battles were
fought over this land since both religious groups had history there and felt they had a right to it.
Although the Crusades opened up trade in the middle east after they realized their efforts were
unsuccessful, it caused more harm than good in the long run due to the bad blood that was
created between Christians and Muslims.
Another example of religion dividing groups was when Christianity divided between
Western and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. It created tension between the two sects and and the
regions, which was inconvenient since they still had to trade and interact with one another. They
should have been able to agree on something as trivial as who had the most power and rank
between the people and God, however, humans have a constant need to win and a constant
hunger for power, making it so that peace cannot be maintained for an extended period of time. It
is not in the nature of humans.
The final example is the Jewish Diaspora. It led to anti-semitism and mistreatment of
Jews due to the fact that they refused to convert to the dominant religion of the region, therefore
they faced persecution. The Jews were still persecuted up until modern times, proving that
humans are very nearly incapable of accepting those who differ from them in any major way.
Overall, due to all of the conflict and bloodshed in the name of religion, it has had a

negative impact on history. It has divided peoples and started countless wars, because people use
it as a war tactic instead of as personal fulfillment.