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Just a curious and honest question: has any researcher/academic/interested amateur ever attempted to quantify the social/political/economic consequences of religion over, say, the last two thousand years. For example:

- lives lost in religious wars vs lives saved by religious organizations and similar efforts
- money spent by governments for overtly religious initiatives vs secular initiatives

Obviously, that's a pretty broad topic. So, after typing all that, perhaps a better question might be: who are considered the leading researchers in examining questions like these?
 
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Junior McSpiffy
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Your mom is a leading expert in researching quantifiable effects of religion through history.

Sorry, never mind.
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Andre
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Short answer - no.

Edit - probably not true, but it's a broad topic, and how and what to quantify would be seriously in question.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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I don't know if quantified, but if it were, the estimates would range from a very big positive number to a very big negative number. Mostly according to pre-disposition. That's going to make any estimate all but useless.
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Moshe Callen
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Especially before the modern era, most literature, art, and music was religious-- if nothing else invoking deities for inspirations. Until the rise of modern secularism in the West, virtually all ethics, philosophy, and morality was religious.

Frankly most human endeavors of any kid had religious aspects or implications and so quantification of the effect of religion on human history is impossible.
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Michael Pustilnik
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Religion has certainly been used as an excuse to dominate and oppress other groups. But that does not mean that religion was the cause of the oppression. In many cases, the oppressors would have found a different excuse if religion had been absent.

For example, the Spanish used religion as an excuse to kill and steal from the Incas. Their real motive was not religion, but gold.
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Sam I am
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Almost impossible to quantify. Religion is part of history and it's impossible to pin down. Were the crusades a land grab or purely religious? Many in the south justified owning slaves Biblicaly, does the American Civil War count?
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Walt
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I don't see how you can measure it. Even if general or captain reports, "...and we triumphed by God's grace," is that anything more than a formula like, "Yours truly"? Is it anything more than a conventional statement of modesty?

I'm sure some historians have taken this on, but not in a rigorously quantitative manner.
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William Boykin
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How does one measure the beauty of art? The suffering caused by religious war? The insight of the transcendent? The cost of the limitations on reason shackled by those seeking to protect social order?

Quantifying beauty is banal, quantifying suffering, immoral.

Darilian
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Matthew Schoell
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What would you compare it against? Let’s say you said religion was responsible for over 9,000. Is no religion 0, 50K, 5K, -9K.
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True Blue Jon
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