Peace and Justice

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Just War

In the 13th century St Thomas Aquinas developed Just War Theory: War has to meet the following criteria:

·         War should be declared by the proper authority

·         There should be a good reason for going to war.

·         The reason for going to war must be to do good.

·         War must be the last resort.

·         Has to be proven that the war will produce more good than evil.

·         It must be possible to win.

·         The amount of force must not be too excessive.

St Augustine thought that it was right to go to war if it was going to defend the innocent

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·         Deterrent

·         Reform the criminal

·         Protect society

·         Retribution

"eye for an eye, tooth for tooth"

Jesus’ teaching about punishment: love your neighbour, no retaliation, do not judge, forgiveness.

Capital punishmentdeath penalty or execution is government sanctioned punishment by death.

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·         Some Christians have always held that armed conflict is wrong and can never be justified.

·         They take Jesus’ words literally when he said, “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too.” 

Quakers: believe that evil can never be overcome by weapons which harm and kill.  They are prepared to go into battle driving ambulances or doing other duties but they will not fight.

 "Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God."

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Social Justice

Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.

·         Christians might respond to social injustice by:

§Peaceful demonstration

§Civil disobedience

§Campaigning through the media and internet

·         Some Christians might join organisations like:

§Anti-slavery International

§Amnesty International


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