Religion, peace, and justice

HideShow resource information

Holy War

  • The Holy War argument says that its sometimes necessary and right to use violence to defend ones religion.
  • Not all denominations agree with the idea of Holy War
  • The Crusades were the most significant Holy War fought by Christians.
    • The crusades were based around Christians "taking back" the Holy Land (particularly Jerusalem) from the Muslims that ruled it
  • Many Christian churches wouldn't support Holy War in this day and age. 
1 of 6

Just War

  • A just war is a war fought in accordance to particular conditions. The idea developed from a Roman philosopher called Cicero.
  • Jus ad bellum are the rules that state whether its right to go to war. For example:
    • There must be a just cause for going to war.
    • Force must be the last resort after all peaceful means and negotiations have failed.
  • Jus in bello are the rules that define the correct conduct of war. For example:
    • War must only be fought against enemy soldiers, and civilians must be protected.
    • The force used should be proportional to the wrong that has been done.
  • Jus post bellum are the rules that state how peace should be established after the war. For example:
    • There must be no revenge taken.
    • Peace terms must be made and accepted by legitimate authorities.
2 of 6

Violence and Pacifism

  • A lot of people thing that violence and war is wrong regardless of its purpose. These people are pacifists. Pacifists say that agape means that violence is never acceptable.
  • The religious society of friends (Quakers) believe that any type of violence is wrong because they see God in every living thing and harming any living thing harms God.
  • There have been occasions where pacifists have resorted to violence. (eg. Dietrich Bonhoeffer's actions).
  • There are numerous accounts in the bible where Jesus teaches about the importance of peace.
    • "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God"
    • "All who draw the sword will die by the sword"
  • Jesus showed a bit of violence when he threw moneylenders out of the temple.
3 of 6

The Aims of Punishment

  • Justice is one of the Four Cardinal Virtues and Christians learn about the concept of justice from the bible.
    • "Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favouritism.
  • The aims of punishment are:
    • Deterrence
    • Protection
    • Retribution
    • Reformation
  • There are examples of crimes that were punishable by death in the Old Testament, and some Christians believe that capital punishment is the only way to deal with the most serious crimes.
  • Other Christians would argue against this and use Jesus' teachings of forgiveness and agape to say that sll life is sacred and that although criminals should be punished justly it isn't right to take life as a punishment.
4 of 6

Treatment of Criminals

  • Christians believe that criminals should be punished appropriately for their crimes, and also believe that they should be forgiven for their wrongdoings and restored to society when they've been punished. 
  • Christianity teaches forgiveness and numerous examples can be found in the bible.
    • Eg. in the story of the woman caught in adultery
  • They believe that if criminals are truly repentant for what they have done and ask for forgiveness, then they should be forgiven.
  • A Quaker named Elizabeth Fry worked to improve the conditions of prisons in the 19th century, and many Christians today work with criminals to help them lead better lives when they leave prison.
5 of 6

Responses to Social Injustice

  • Social injustice is when people are seen to be discriminated against in society and have fewer rights or benefits than others.
  • Christianity teaches that social injustice is wrong because all life was created by God and all life is equal, and should be shown the same amounts of respect.
  • Organisations like the Salvation Army work towards reducing the effects social injustice. The Amnesty International is an organisation that fights for social equality.
  • Liberation theology is new in the Christian church, and is particularly concerned with the issues of equality for all. Liberation theology teaches that if a law in a country acts against groups of people in a way that can be seen as "un-Christian", it must be opposed to, and sometimes broken.
6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Christianity resources »