War and Peace

a summary of the war and peace topic for AS Ethics

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War and peace.
War is conflict between countries about territory, resources, power etc. There is an
intention to bring harm. There are 3 areas of war and peace which are just war theory,
pacifism and realism. Just war theory; concerns 3 areas of war. Jus ad Bellum means before
war, Jus in Bello means during war and Jus post Bellum means after war. Aquinas (a Christian)
was responsible for the outline of Just war theory and is based on human values which tries
to make going to war just and is used today by the UN. In Jus ad Bellum there are a number
of areas including just cause, legitimate authority and last resort. Jus in Bello criteria includes
proportionality, discrimination and non-combatant immunity, fair treatment of prisoners of
war and no reprisals. Jus post Bellum includes discrimination, compensation and
rights/vindication. Weaknesses: Not a universal law ­ some people or countries may not use
just war theory. Hard criteria to meet ­ different opinions on criteria. Difficult to measure ­
some of the criteria is vague so people don't know whether a war fits the criteria until
afterwards. Pacifism; there are 4 types of pacifism; absolute, contingent, religious and
preference. Absolute pacifism is an ethical ideal and is universal. It is never right to kill a
human being, regardless of what the consequences of not doing so are. The value of all
human life is too high. Weaknesses: Only takes one person to act differently and whole
theory collapses. Unrealistic. No violence means no pacifism ­ self destructive. Contingent
pacifism is conditional and relative. They disagree with something about the war e.g. the
reasons for going to war. War is permissible or necessary in certain circumstances e.g.
self-defence. War is sometimes the lesser of 2 evils. The innocent must always be protected.
Weaknesses: could be manipulated. Incredibly vague. Advantages: recognises that violence is
in the world and we can't always avoid it so sometimes it can be ok. Religious pacifism; early
Christians were pacifists as they believed that the teachings of Jesus meant that they should
never bear arms `Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you' Matthew 5:44.
Christian pacifists believe that God will provide both the strength to endure suffering and a
final reward for those who remain committed to principles of no-violence. They recognise
that they may suffer pain as a consequence of their pacifist beliefs but this is part of God's
plan: a bigger picture for removing injustice. Quakers ­ violence only leads to more violence.
All people should work independently against violence. There is something of God in
everyone, and therefore everybody is unique, all life is sacred and everyone should be

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Preferential pacifism says that sometimes pacifism is immoral.
Sometimes we cannot be pacifist when thinking about the welfare of others. They prefer
taking action that is no-violent. This is often based on the recognition that war is destructive
and does not necessarily solve the issues at hand. Dietrich Bonheoffer was a Christian
pastor in Germany during Nazi reign. He was a pacifist based on his religious beliefs but tried
to kill Hitler.…read more


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