Ethics: Right to LIfe

These cards are about the Right to Life section of RS: Ethics.

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Just War Theory

In Roman Times, Romans liked war, but it conflicted with the teachings of Jesus, so the Just War Theory was developed. It stated that:

Just Cause - the war must be started for a good reason, such as defence of self or others

Right Intention - the war must continue for a good reason, not reasons such as revenge or for land

Legitimate Authority - only the government can declare war, it cannot be pursued in secret

Last Resort - war must only be started as a last resort; find others ways of pursing goals first

Probability of Success - Do not go to war in a futile attempt; must have a reasonable chance of success to preserve human life.

Proportionality - Do the positives of war outweigh the negatives?

Discrimination - must discriminate between soldiers and civilians, can be difficult due to bombing 

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Pacifism - The belief that it is unacceptable to participate in war.
Quaker - a member of the society of friends, a tradition that does not have ministers or a written statement of beliefs. 

Many Christians in the 20th century are pacifists, as they believe that the way war affects many innocent people can never be justified.
Some Christians will even refuse to partake in any violent activities, and will not resist anyone who attacks them.

Christians are pacifists because Jesus taught about turning the other cheek and loving your enemy.

The Ten Commandments also teach that "thou shalt not kill". Jesus additionally refused to use violence at his arrest - he urged Peter not to attack the soldiers who came to arrest him with the words "Put your sword back in its place because all who live by the sword will die by the sword".

"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God".
"If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." 

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Terrorism: When groups use violence, or the threat of violence, to achieve their aims, rather than using a democratic process. The violence is often indiscriminate, the create maximum fear. 

Caused by groups having no political influence, social/economic inequalities, economic problems, extremely strong religious conflict and ethnic conflict.

Christians believe that terrorism:
* prevents reconciliation between different peoples
* aggravates problems and tensions
* leads to suffering and harm - all who live by the sword will die by the sword

The aim of terrorism is to create fear and force a change in government and community. 

State terrorism is by the state against people. 

A patriot is someone who is passionate about their country, while a nationalist believes all other countries are inferior. 

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Nuclear Warfare and Proliferation

Nuclear war: a war in which the participants use nuclear weapons
Nuclear proliferation: the increase in the number of states that has the potential to use nuclear weapons
Deterrence: the fear of another country having nuclear weapons, so they refrain from attacking and vice versa. 

Christians are against nuclear proliferation, because it leads to more problems, and fails to discriminate between civilians and soldiers. "We share the deep anger towards those who so callously and massively destroy innocent lives."

Against nuclear weapons: "Nuclear war would result in mass destruction of the whole world today. That is evil in itself. We must destroy the weapons."

For nuclear weapons: "We always need a deterrent - who knows what the future holds?"

Ways to stop nuclear warfare: all countries give up nuclear weapons by agreement, two countries gradually dispose of their weapons in stages (overseen by inspectors), one country gives up weapons and hopes others follow. 

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Aims of Punishment

Retribution: to 'get your own back' on the criminal, based on the Old Testament teaching of 'an eye for an eye'. Punishment that is proportionate to the committed crime. Making criminals pay for what they have done wrong.
"If anyone injures his neighbour, whatever he has done, must be done to him."

Reform: to change someone's behaviour for the better, so they will not commit the crime again.
"Christians must look for ways to deal with crime that hold out hope for offenders and victims."

Deterrence: using a punishment of such a nature that it puts people off committing crimes. 

Protection: to stop the criminal hurting anybody in society, usually with imprisonment.

SIN: An act against the will of God.
CRIME: An act against the law.

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Christian attitudes to crime

Exodus 20: 2-17: "Do not commit murder."
    "Do not commit adultery."
                    "Do not steal."

Christians should not do these things as they are against the ten commandments.

Matthew 5: 3-12: "Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them!" 

This suggests that Christians should not commit crime if they want to be with God, but if the crime is what God requires, then it is alright as they will get a reward in heaven.

Most Christians believe that punishment and forgiveness should go together, however there should be an emphasis on reform, as Christians are concerned about the negative impacts imprisonment has on criminals.

The Old Testament teaches that a life should be taken for a life (an eye for an eye), but the teachings of Jesus make these views obsolete, so Christian views on the death penalty vary.  

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Types of Punishment

An amount of money to be paid as compensation to the victim, or as punishment.

Custodial Sentence
A prison sentence for life is the most serious punishment you can give.

A Young Offenders Institution is a place where men and women under the age of 18 are sent instead of prison.

Community Service
This is a period of unpaid work which the criminal completes as payment to the community. 

In cases where no punishment is necessary, it may be decided to let the offender off. 

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Death Penalty

Britain abolished the death penalty in 1969.
It was permissible for killing a policeman, killing during an armed robbery, killing by causing an explosion or killing more than one person.

No country in the EU currently permits it, but many US states and eastern countries permit it.

It can be done by lethal injection. electric chair, firing squad, beheading and stoning in some countries.

Sometimes the best way to stop dangerous, murdering criminals is to completely remove them from the planet - eye for an eye morality. Many criminals offend again, so the death penalty is the only way to stop them.

However, killing goes against Christian teachings, and only God can take life - all criminals have the right to seek forgiveness.  

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Responses to Climate Change

Individual Responses
• Loft insulation to cut down need for heating
• Recycle
• Energy Saving lights
• Turn off the lights
• Don't leave the tap running
• Don't leave electronics on standby 

Community Responses
• All of the above but for community buildings
• Take the bus or walk

National Responses
• Do not import/export goods (uses planes)
• Use renewable energy (wind energy, wave power)
• Cut down emissions in general 

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Examples of Responses

Kyoto Protocol
- Proposes that governments should reduce emissions on a global level
- The problems have become too big; the only way to solve them is a joint global effort...

- In 1997, 55 countries joined and agreed to reduce emissions by 5.2%, and many more afterward... but guess who withdrew? GOD BLESS AMERICAAAA
- George Bush wanted a better way of reducing pollution that would not affect the American culture 
- India and China did not sign as they felt they needed emissions to catch up to developed countries 


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Causes of Poverty

ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS: Volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquake-prone zones & tornadoes can destroy homes and settlements, and cannot be dealt with due to little money

CONFLICT: War takes away the workforce, so health/agriculture/education suffer, leading to worse problems in the future

HEALTH CARE: Bad medicine means high child mortality rates and incurable diseases

BAD GOVERNMENT: Corrupt governments lead to bad decisions and using money on the wrong resources, rather than those people who need it

HIV/AIDS: Many of the workforce are affected and so the country can't develop

DEBT: Countries are unable to use money for what they want, as they have to pay it back to other countries

TRADE BARRIERS: Unfair trade means countries either get a loss or no trade at all. 

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Aid: the act of helping people in need by giving them necessary means of survival in bad times.

Christian Aid - Haiti
Raised over £11 million since the Haiti earthquake. Helped to build hurricane & earthquake-resistant houses, and over 135 families are now living in these houses. Over 10,000 people have also received support in helping them to rebuild their lives.

East Africa Drought
Providing emergency water tanks to people suffering from the East Africa drought, as well as building additional water points (pumps).
Providing animal feed for livestock, so that people do not lose what little they have left.
Providing clean water, to prevent further disease outbreaks which could complicate things further.
Ensuring that people have essential hygiene kits to further inhibit the outbreak of diseases. 

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