Peace and War

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Peace and War

Wars can have many causes:

  • Religion
  • Defence
  • Tribalism ( this tends to trigger wars where a group of people fight for their own independent state)
  • Honour (wars fought to defend the honour and dignity of a country, or to save face)
  • Economics

The UN (The United Nations):

The UN works to find peaceful solutions to disputes, to encourage global cooperation on law, security and economic development and to protect people's basic human rights.

If a country breaks the rules, the UN can impose economic sanctions (stop people trading with them) and send in peacekeeping troops.

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Just War:

Christianity teaches that peace is the ultimate goal for all human beings. Although Christians recognise that war goes against  the teachings of Jesuus, most Christian denominations accept that there can be such a thing as a 'just war'.

A just war should satisfy these conditions:

  • Proper Authority - A war must be declared by a proper authority, e.g. an elected government, a president or a monnarch
  • Just Cause - A war must be defensive, preventing damage that would be "lasting, grave and certain". Even if there is a just cause, it musn't be used as an excuse to achieve an unjust goal e.g. to punish an enemy or gain land
  • Last Resort - All other ways of resolving the conflict must have been tried first
  • Achievable Aim - A war must have a reasonable chance of success. Fighting a war you have no chance of winning is considered a waste of lives
  • Proportionality - Any harm caused by fighting the war musn't be as bad as the harm it's trying to prevent. For example, using weapons of mass destruction would nearly always violate this condition
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As well as that, there are conditions for fighting a war justly:

  • Discrimination: war should discriminate between combatants and civilians - it's not seen as 'just' to deliberately target civilians
  • Proportionality: the military advantage gained by an attack must overweigh any harm caused to civilians

A 'Holy War' is one where people believe that God is 'on their side' - e.g. in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, Christians went on crusades to 'free' the Christian holy places in Palestine.

Peace doesn't just mean a lack of war - it's more positive than that. Peace is a total freedom from distress and disturbance that Christians believe can be brought about by 'good will' and faith.

Many organisations, including the Church of England, want countries to reduce the number of nuclear weapons they have. However, it recognises that unilateral disarmament (where just one country gives up its weapons) is a difficult thing for a government to do.

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Pacifists are Opposed to All Violence:

A pacifist is someone who has strongly held beliefs that war and physical violence are wrong under any circumstances. Pacifists believe that all disputes should be settled peacefully.

Some Christians believe that all violence goes agaisnt Jesus' teachings to love your enemy and 'turn the other cheek' (Matthew 5:38-48).

There were pacifists in Britain who refused to fight in the world wars. These 'conscientious objectors' went to prison rather go against their beliefs - they were prisoners of conscience. They suffered humiliation in prison, and after they'd been released.

The Religious Society of Freinds (The Quakers) is a Christian denomination that's opposed to war under all circumstances.

"Put your sword back in its place...for all whp draw the sword will die by the sword" Matthew 26:52

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Bible Quotes

Peace and Justice:

"You shall not murder"

"Love your enemies"

"Love your neighbour as yourself"

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God"

"Do to others what you would have them do to you"

"Put your sword back in its place...for all who draw the sword die by the sword"

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