A religious or Holy War is one caused by, or justified by, religious differences. Most religions have a tradition of people fighting and dying for the faith as religious martyrs in the belief that this is what God wants his followers to do. A Holy War has religion as its driving force.
There are three elements:
- The achievement of a religious goal.
- Authorized by a religious leader.
- A spiritual reward for those who take part.
It is generally felt that there are five causes of Holy War:
- To spread the faith.
- To restore the faith in countries that once belonged to it.
- To rescue believers from unbelieving countries.
- To recover and purify sacred places that had been captured by non-believers.
- To get revenge against those who had committed blasphemies against the faith or believers.
The legitimate authority for declaring a Holy War is not the government, but the Church or the religious leadership of the faith.