Christian attitudes to War
- Christians believe that we should work for peace: Jesus said "Blessed are the peacemakers", "Turn the other cheek" and "Treat others as you would like to be treated".
- Some Christians e.g. Quakers are pacifists - they believe that violence is wrong under all circumstances.
- However, Jesus was not a pacifist: he never specifically said that war was wrong, he was kind to soldiers and he even drove tradesmen out of the temple using violence.
- All churches teach that it is our duty to keep peace and that nations should co-exist peacefully.
- However, some of the Bible seems to have a different message: St Paul said that we must obey the government, and this could include going to war.
Christian attitudes to war
Most Christians believe that war is sometimes acceptable, but is difficult to justify. The Just War Theory was devised by St Augustine and added to by St Thomas Aquinas and the United Nations. There are 7 criteria:
1) Proper authority - war should only be declared by the proper authority e.g. the government.
2) Just cause - must be started for a good reason e.g. self defence
3) Establish good or fight evil
4) Reasonable chance of success
5) Last resort - all other methods must have been tried and failed.
6) Sufficient force (proportionality) - the force used must nt be worse than what it is trying to prevent
7) Civilians shouldn't be involved
Christian attitudes to war
A holy war is a war fought with the belief that God is on your side. Examples:
- Conflict in Northern Ireland
Punishment and justice
- Jesus taught that we shouldn't seek revenge when others do wrong; we should "Turn the other cheek".
- Christians believe that we should give constructive punishments, because God is the one who will judge us in the end: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."
- However, in the Old Testament it says "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth", although Jesus said that this was an old-fashioned view.
- Most Christians believe that punishment should allow people to reform, and that we should forgive them, because we all sin and should not be hypocritical: "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone."
- Therefore most Christians disagree with capital punishment (the death penalty) because it does not allow a chance to reform.
Equality - Racism
- Christians believe that racism is wrong because we are all children of God.
- One anti-racist story in the Bible is the parable of the Good Samaritan.
- Also the Bible says "God does not show favouritism."
- Examples of Christians who fought against racism are Martin Luther King and Desmond Tutu, who campaigned peacefully in America and South Africa for black rights.
- Some Christians believe that people from other religions will go to hell unless they change their beliefs. Some even say this about other denominations of Christianity.
- Others believe that as long as they forgive others and love their neighbours they will go to heaven.
Equality - Women
- The role of women is even more debated.
- Some denominations believe that women are completely equal and can become vicars.
- In the Bible it says "God does not show favouritism" and "There is neither male nor female, we are all equal in Jesus."
- However, other denominations e.g. Roman Catholic believe that although men and women are equal, they have different roles to play and should not become priests.
- They think this because Jesus and his disciples were all men.
- Also, St Paul said that women should obey their husbands and not speak in church.
- However, some Christians argue that the Bible was written in a different cultural context and we should adapt some of what it says to today's morals.