I contend that the Bible or other religious texts can in fact be a source for a person's violent actions, not merely an excuse for it. This would seem to be an attempt to whitewash the Bible or other religious texts of calling on their followers to kill in the name of their God. If you read through the Bible or other religious texts, you will find described as punishable by death things which we would today consider rather mundane practices. Your children misbehave?
(And as an aside, what exactly led us away from this sort of thinking? Was it God suddenly deciding that practice was no longer morally 'correct,' or was it secular morality forcing religion to abandon such dogma? And if it is a God who decides it is moral one day to kill your children if they misbehave and immoral the next, you have yourself but an arbitrary designation of morality that is not consistent nor has any self-correcting mechanism for determining what is moral.)
Consider the case of regular people who are convinced by their religion to kill. When a woman kills her children because she believes God told her to do so, is that her using religion as an excuse for her secret craving to murder? Just some regular housewife, who thinks God told her to do it. I think religion is directly responsible for this woman's behavior--it is like poison to a rational mind. How could she rationalize that her children should be killed? Surely the story of Isaac, something this woman would certainly be aware of, has more to do with it than some insatiable appetite to kill?
Can you really say the intent to kill is truly independent of what some religion may convince a person is the right thing to do?
Here you're saying that people who kill because of religion probably kill because it tells them to do so. This could be true in some cases, but I don't think Christianity fulfills that. The verse is in my previous post, but Jesus does say to love your neighbor as yourself. Sound against this? I think so. As Toujours said above, most christians don't use old testament practices (i.e. the laws of the Pentatuech) as much anymore. That being said, most 'wars' fought through christianity are after Jesus' death and also after the writing of Revalations, the last book of the Bible. This would mean all Christians should know that Jesus does NOT want them to do this. The Crusades, the South American Conquistadors, all of them were mostly commanded by the Catholic Church to do so. I'm Catholic myself, but the practices back then were completely off from the true meaning of the Bible. They even sold 'forgiveness' from God in the form of Paper! I'd say the wars 'caused' by the Bible aren't really caused by the Bible but by people saying it means this and then making others believe this as well. Most peasants back then couldn't read and confirm this for themselves anyway.
There are also those modern Christians who kill people. Some of them truly believe the Bible wanted them to do that, but you have to realize that this isn't true. The same way Islam has been thrown into a bad light because of several terrorists (9/11 being just one of these attacks), a few misinterpreting Christians could paint the whole religion wrongly.
This is really complicated, but I'll try my best.
The Bible has two big covenants; the old covenant, made by God and Abraham, and the new Covenant, made by Jesus to us. This is really important, as it is like a cornerstone in Christianity. It is the first covenant, the old covenant, made with Abraham, that bound us to the laws of the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). It was these laws one had to follow to achieve Salvation. But, mankind couldn't make it through these laws. So, Jesus came and fulfilled the covenant for us. We no longer were bound by the laws of the old covenant, Jesus was in our stead. In the new covenant, Jesus promises salvation if we accept him. I think that's it, simplified. So we don't have to exercise judgement etc anymore. Jesus died for us so that we may get the eternal salvation he promised. So the Old testament law no longer applies to us. Which doesn't mean we should just ignore it; we are also meant to learn from it, and not to make the same mistakes the Isrealites did. There are several books in the old testament that I think still apply to us; Proverbs, Psalms etc.
I hope I answered that part
I'll speak more later, gtg now.