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Unit 10: Peace and Justice
Christianity and War
1. In the Old Testament (E.g. Judges, Deuteronomy), people are told by God to go to war to gain the
possession of the Promised Land. Holy warriors believe that God will help them.
E.g. He helped Moses drown the Egyptian soldiers in the Red Sea to save the Israelites Exodus.
Other wars involving religions: Crusades, Muslim Jihad, Middle East conflict between Israel and
2. Although the Ten Commandments said `Do not murder', this literally translates as `Do not kill' and
a lot of people would say that killing in a war murder. Murder = guilty mind + a guilty act. Soldiers
are fighting as agents of their countries. Killing is not personal. Soldiers would not be put into jail
after war, unlike murderers.
3. In the New Testament, Jesus overturned the money-changers' tables = sometimes it is necessary to
go to Holy War/stand up against wrong-doing.
"Whoever has no sword must sell his coat to buy one." = be prepared for conflict/self-defence.
The Old Testament teaches that murder is wrong (`Thou shall not murder.') and it also looks
forward to peace as the ideal.
E.g. Micah spoke of a time of peace in the future.
"Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore."Micah 4:3
The New Testament also teaches about peace, love and forgiveness.
Christians should not treat each other with hatred, but with love, including enemies.
1. Life is a gift from God and is to be taken away only God.
The Sanctity of Life teaches that all human life is sacred and special and must be respected for we
have a divine spark and something of God in us.
"If we live, we live to the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord, so whether we live or die, we
are the Lord's." Romans 14:8
2. "Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9
3. "If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also." Matthew 5:39
Do not revenge.
4. "Those who live by the sword die by the sword." Matthew 26:52
Violence does not solve any problems but often generates more violence.
5. "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21
6. "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be sons of your
Father in heaven." Matthew 5:44-45
7. "Love your neighbour as yourself." Matthew 22:39
8. "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." Matthew 6:12
9. "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34
Christians believe that:
1. War is wrong and God wants everyone to live in peace.
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2. Christians' principle of love can never allow fighting and killing,
However, most Christians also believe that war is sometimes necessary to
1. Overcome evil
2. Defend the weak
Teachings of the Bible contain different views about whether or not war is right, Christians have to judge
according to the situation.
Is it ever just to use violence in conflict?
The Just War Theory was written by Thomas Aquinas (a Christian monk in the 13th century).…read more
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sanctions, peace negotiation, to try to reach agreement without losing any lives.
Pacifists recognise that non-violent means are more costly but it is the only way to prevent
escalation AND is effective in raising people's attention
Pacifists people, both Christians and non-Christians, who think that war and violence are wrong
Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quaker movement believes that war is never right
under any conditions. They are pacifist/conscientious objectors their conscience tells them to object to
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Is Jesus a pacifist?
NO. Jesus is not a pacifist.
When people were trying to make money in the temple where it was meant to be for worshipping
God Jesus was very angry.
He overturned the money-changers' tables and said "My house will be a house of prayer, but
you have made it a den of robbers". Luke 19:46
He taught "Whoever has no sword must sell his coat to buy one" Fighting is sometimes
necessary for self-defense.
YES. Jesus is a pacifist.…read more