RE- Religion peace and justice

OCR paper 604 notes

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  • Created by: loui days
  • Created on: 31-05-10 13:27

Definitions of War


Definition of war: a period of hostile relations between countries or states or factions that leads to fighting between armed forces, especially in land, air or sea battles.

Civil War: War within one country, two or more groups fighting against each other in the same country

Conventional war: Where conventional weapons are used i.e. guns NOT nuclear weapons.

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Effects of war

Refugees + Homelessness- During the war people are forced to move out of their homes in an attempt to escape from death. Also homes are destroyed forcing people to seek refuge in camps in order to survive.

Destruction of infrastructure- Many buildings are destroyed e.g. schools and hospitals. This means children go without education and travelling further for medical care.

Death + Separation of families- Many lose their lives. the death of a family member can be hard hitting e.g. main provider dies, family can no longer support themselves

Mental trauma-Many people witness terrible things during war and are mentally scarred by the horrific things they have seen.

Hunger-Food supplies are cut off so people no longer have access to food. This may mean people will turn to crime as a way of providing for themselves and their families.

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Why do people go to war?

Justifiable reasons

To be freed from oppression-sometimes a non-violent approach isn't enough to get you anywhere.

To defend your country from attack- by defending your country you save the lives of many civilians

To support a weaker country which has been attacked- leaving the weak country gives them an unfair handicap and allows the attacking country to do more damage.

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Why do people go to war

Non-justifiable reasons

To increase territory- greed and desire, there is no need for it.

To gain power- again greed and desire, people shouldn't have to suffer because leaders are too proud and egoistic

To acquire resources- greed, not necessary


To support another country whom you have an alliance with- even though you have an alliance supporting the side in the wrong, it is still unacceptable to fight.

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The Just War Theory

  • Right authority- Correct authority, legally elected have chosen to go to war, private parties are not allowed.
  • Just cause- You have a justifiable reason for going to war, not the wrong reasons
  • Right intention/promote good- outcome of war is good, more good than harm is done.
  • Last resort- tired all peaceful methods possible, war is a last resort.
  • Proportionality/ Just methods-You do not use more force than needed during the war.
  • Aim of lasting peace- you aim isn't to completely destroy the country beyond repair but to made peace and form new ties.

-Roman Catholic particularly believe in the just war theory.

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Just war theory and condition in war

Jus ad bellum-Conditions leading up to war

  • Last resort
  • Right authority
  • Just cause

Jus in bello-Condition during war

  • Proportionality/just methods

Just post bellum- Conditions after war

  • Aim of lasting peace
  • Right intention/promote good.
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A justifiable war-WW2

Right authority- Legally elected government initiated the war

Last resort-Tried other methods e.g. negotiations+ treaties

Proportionality- Children were evacuated to safer areas

Just cause- Wanted to help weaker countries

Just cause-Wanted to free people from Hitler's Nazi regime

Proportionality-America's nuclear bomb on Japan, more destruction than necessary

Aim of lasting peace- wanted to build up a better relationship with European countries.

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Holy wars (Crusades)

Holy war: A war fought for religious experience, thought to have God on your side.


  • Lasted a century-11th/12th century
  • To get back the holy land in Jerusalem from the muslims
  • Was seen as justfiable AT THAT TIME
  • Wouldn't be seen as justifiable now-a-days
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Was Jesus a Pacifist?


  • Matthew 5-Jesus encourages people to 'turn the other cheek', teaches us not to retaliate
  • Beatitudes in Matthew 5- 'Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God' God encourages peace and harmony
  • Matthew 28- Peter attacks guards when Jesus is arrested. Jesus reminds him that all those who live by the sword will die by the sword.
  • Matthew 5-'Care for your enemies and pray for those who persecute you'. Jesus tells us not to take revenge on our enemies
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Was Jesus a Pacifist?


  • No where in the gospel is it stated war is wrong
  • Simon the Zealot was a disciple of Jesus. They wanted to annihilate the Romans.
  • Luke 4-Jesus said the spirit of the lord with him, proclaiming freedom of prisoners, releasing the oppressed. This can be viewed as unpeaceful.
  • Mark 11-Jesus angrily drove out the traders. No-one was hurt but the fact that he turned over tables can be seen as not pure pacifism.
  • in the old testament there is mention of hundreds of wars where the Israelites believed God was on their side sometimes resulting in miraculous victory. Often war completely wiped out a city or tribe. Jesus did not single out wars to change its teachings.
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War and peace- looking at Roman Catholics and Quak

RC Church teachings

· Life is sacred but sometimes justice may come first

· RC's believe was is justifiable if it complies with the just war criteria.

· Peace is the ideal, no-one who objects to fighting should be forced to fight. They are against nuclear weapons but to protect yourself as a last resort is acceptable

Scripture passages:

· Joel 3: Suggests God is calling you to fight

· John 15: 'The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to lay down his life to them'.-Suggests using violence to protect the ones you love is acceptable

· Luke 22: suggests you may need to be prepared to fight.

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War and peace- looking at Roman Catholics and Quak

Quaker Church teachings

· Sanctity of life comes first-God gave us life and we should preserve it because it is sacred and no-one has the right to take some else's life.

· Peace testimoney (1660)- 'the spirit of Christ which leads us into truth will never move us to fight'.

Scripture passages:

· Matt 5-'Love your neighbour as you love yourself'

· Ephesians 2- 'Everyone's duty is to keep the peace'

· Romans 12- You shouldn't fight evil with evil

· Matthew 26: 'All those who live by the sword die by the sword'

  • Mark- Jesus is refered to as the 'Prince of Peace' we should follow in this footsteps
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What is peace?

· The absence of war or other hostilities

· Freedom from quarrels and disagreement; harmonious relations

Pacifist: Pacifists believe war and any violence is always wrong, no matter the circumstance, it is always unacceptable e.g. Quakers

Conscientious objector:Conscientious objectors believe that particular wars are wrong. They feel that cannot go against their conscience and fight,

Non violent protest:Protest without violence e.g. the bus boycott in America and Gandhi's hunger strike.

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Scripture passages about peace

  • Matthew 5: 43-48-'You have heard that it was said 'Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But i tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your father in heaven'.

  • Romans 12: 17-22 -'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink'.
  • 'Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay.' says the Lord'.
  • Matthew 5:9-'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God'.
  • Matthew 5:38-39- 'You have heard that it was said "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." But now I tell you: do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap you on the left cheek too.'
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