If Christians think WAR can be right
Some Christians believe it can be right to fight a war, however others believe that it can never be right.
If Christians think it can be right >
They may think they have a duty to fight evil and defend the weak.
They often follow the teachings of Thomas Aquinas who set guidelines for a just war. The Just War Theory teaches that war is acceptable if it is fought under any of the following:
- 1. The war must have a just cause
- 2. The war must have a just aim
- 3. The war must be started by a proper authority
- 4. The war must be a last resort
- 5. Proportionality (Equal weaponry, soldiers etc) Others could be> Civilians should not be hurt or no more force should be used than is really necessary
If Christians think WAR is wrong
If Christians think war is wrong:
- They may think killing in war is the same as murder (10 commandments 'thou shall not kill')
- They may think it is impossible to follow the teaching to 'love your enemy', if you are trying to kill them.
- People who are opposed to war in any circumstances are called conscientious objectors.
- Some Christians, especially Quakers (people who are non-violent Christians), are consiencious objectors in times of war.
Violence and Pacifism
- Some passages of the bible tell the people to go and fight other tribes and take their land. The people say that this is what God wants them to do. Others say that it is only what God wants if it is a just aim and cause.
- Other passages tell people to live a peace with one another
'Love your enemies'
'Blessed are the peacemakers'
'Those who live by the sword die by the sword'
- People who believe violence is never right are called Pacifists. They think that the best way to deal with injustice is through non-violent protest, such as demonstrations and boycotts.
- Christian pacifists are called Quakers.
SOCIAL INJUSTICE is when some people in society are not given the rights and privileges that other people have
- The bible teaches that Christians should take care of people who are weak and oppressed
- Everyone is equally valuable to God
- Some Christians join organizations that campaign for equal rights for everyone such as MENCAP
LIBERATION THEOLOGY Is a way of thinking in which people say that Christians should speak out against injustice, and even fight when necessary, in order to get fair treatment for everyone.
Treatment of criminals
- Christians believe that people who are truly sorry for their crimes should be forgiven.
- They believe that you should not judge other people's faults if you have faults of your own
- But they also believe that people need to keep the law and society needs to be protected against criminal behavior.
Christians believe that punishment has 4 aims:
- 1. Deterrence- is the prevention of something, especially war or crime, by having something such as weapons or punishment to use as a threat.
- 2. Protection
- 3. Retribution
- 4. Reformation
Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845) was a Christian who worked to improve conditions for prisoners.
Christians believe that all people are 'made in the image of God' and are equally valuable.
- She campaigned for prisoners to be allowed privacy and education. This way, they could be discouraged to continue in crime after they leae prison to make the streets safer.