War - Just War and Holy War

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The issue facing religious people ­ should they right in war, or not? Jesus told his followers not to fight
or resist with ager. Instead, Jesus taught about the importance of righteousness and peace and to love
enemies; Jesus is known as the `Prince of Peace' in the NT;
"Do not resist one who is evil. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also"
(Matthew 5:39)
"Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword"
(Matthew 26:53)
The Ethics of War starts by assuming that war is a bad thing, and should be avoided if possible, but it
recognises that there can be situations when war may be the lesser evil of several bad choices. War is
seen as bad die the loss of innocent life which results from war.
In the Christian tradition war ethics were developed by St. Augustine, and later by St Thomas Aquinas
and other. Hugo Grotius, a Dutch philosopher wrote down the conditions for a just war that are
accepted today.
Cicero ­ argued that there is no acceptable reason for war apart from self defence and vengeance. War
must be publically declared to be a just war and it must be a last resort, there must have been
attempts to resolve conflicts. Cicero based his argument on the assumption that nature and human
reason biased a society against war and that we should all have the fundamental view that war is bad.
Augustine ­ a 4th century Christian who set out the reason to go to war. He believed that the only
reason to go to war was to create peace; "we go to war that we may have peace"
He tried to reconcile Christian pacifism with the world as it actually was; to bring together the pacifist
teachings of Jesus with the obligations of Roman citizens, to fight for their country when require to.
Augustine accepted that there would always be wars. He thought that war was always sin and if there
had to be a war, it should be waged with sadness. But Augustine dais that war was always the result of
sin, and that war was also the remedy for sin, therefore, war could sometimes be justifiable ­ but only
if it was a remedy for sin.
Rulers of state had the obligation to maintain peace and the right to wage war in order to maintain
peace. In justice is a greater evil than war and it was just to carry out a lesser evil if it would prevent the
greater evil. A war is only just if those waging it do so with the intention of doing good, punishing the
enemy is not a sufficient motive on its own.
Augustine was not concerned with how people were treated during a war because to his physical death
was not of particular importance due to his strong beliefs in the afterlife. He was more concerned with
whether the intention of going to war was right, not the acts within the war.

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The JAW was first developed during a time when Christians found themselves in a position where their
obedience to the state was in conflict with their traditional obligation to resist the use of violence. The
theory originated with Augustine, who set out the reasons for going to was, and then developed by
St Thomas Aquinas, who developed the first three elements of the JAW.…read more

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Strengths of the Just War Theory
Attempts to maintain core moral principles in a framework to permit the use of violence in
controlled circumstances and against certain targets.
Doesn't allow for motiveless act of violence in the nation interest
Religious believers ­ consider aspects such as protect innocent which is important to
recognise.…read more

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The call of conscience arises from the imperilling of a man's unity with himself"
How can you judge what a genuine good intention is? Augustine and Aquinas limit the good intention to peace
but it might equally be justified to go to war on humanitarian grounds to intervene in a civil war.
Reasonable chance of success to Aquinas simply meant winning the war, however, today success means how
it is to be finished.…read more

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Christian views
Even Jesus suggests that war has its place on the earthly plane:
"if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight" ­ John 18:36
It can be argued that the aim of Christianity is to promote a world in which peace and justice flourish
everywhere: war may sometimes be the tool needed to do this, and waging war may be a lesser evil (a
lesser injustice) than allowing injustice to persist or tolerating the victimisation of innocent people.…read more

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Holy War
Modern people often regard the idea of a Holy War as a contradiction. Killing thousands of people and
causing wholesale destruction seems to be as far from holiness as one can get. But religion and war
have gone hand in hand for a long time. Armies go into battle believing that God is with them, often
after prayers and sacrifices to keep God on their side. A religious or Holy War is one caused by, or
justified by, religious differences.…read more

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War in Old Testament and the New Testament
The OT frequently endorses war against Israel's enemies such as Joshua's attack on Jericho as part of
his invasion of Canaan. The NT is at best ambivalent about the use of violence until the First Crusade
those who fought in battle had to do penance afterwards in order to receive communion.
Pope Urban II
Established the ground rules for a defensive war, which rapidly became the basis in the popular mind for
Christian holy war.…read more

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The Bible and Holy war
The Bible teaches that the real Holy War is not against other people or faiths but rather Jesus said that
the real holy war was a spiritual one between the people of God and the forces of evil.
"Take up the shield of faith... the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of
God" ­ St.…read more

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In some parts of the Middle East and elsewhere, people have begun to regard the rich countries of the
West as greedy, selfish and oppressive. This is not been helped by the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan
and the alleged abuse of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.
This produces fertile ground for religious extremism and demands for Holy War.…read more



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