Religion, Peace and Justice

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Attitudes to War

There are five conditions for declaring a 'Just War'.

  • Proper Authority- declared by PA (eg. elected government)
  • Just Cause- Defensive, preventing damage that would be 'lasting, grave and certain' (Catechism of the Catholic Church: para 2309) not just self defence- defending friendly nation or innocent people- right intentions- achieve a just goal
  • Last Resort- Other paths have been exhuasted
  • Achievable Aim- Reasonable chance of success
  • Proportionality- harm caused mustn't be as bad as harm trying to prevent

Conditions to fight justly:

  • Discrimination- combatants & civilians- not just to deliberatly target civilians
  • Proportionaility- advantage gained by attack must outweigh harm caused to civilians (individual attacks)
  • A holy war- people believe God is on their side
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Attitudes to War

  • Christianity teaches- peace is ultimate goal

Pacifists are opposed to all violence.

  • War is wrong under any circumstance
  • All disputes should be settled peacefully
  • Violence goes against Jesus's teachings of 'Love thy neighbour' and 'Turn the other cheek' (Matthew 5:38-48)

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

  • Conscientious objector- People who refuse to fight in wars
  • The Religious Soceity of Friends (The Quakers)- Christian demonination- opposed war under all circumstances
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Punishment can have various aims.

  • Deterrence- Bad punishment- put people off commiting crime
  • Protection- Protect society from dangerous criminals
  • Reform & rehabilitation- Change criminals- won't reoffend  prepare for return to society
  • Retributiion- Criminals 'pay' for what they have done
  • Religious people- criminals treated mercifully- encourage reforn & rehabilitation
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Capital punishment isn't used much nowadays.

  • FOR- Better deterrent & prevent more crimes from that person
  • AGAINST- many murders- aren't premeditated so murders won't be thinking about concequences- not a better deterrent, no chance to reform & can be proved innocent- too late
  • Many christians- oppose- no chance to reform or show mercy
  • Set aside 'an eye for an eye' in the name of love & forgiveness
  • Many Christians in USA are FOR CA- protects innocent
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Social Injustice

Social injustice means not treating everyone fairly.

  • Groups- unfairly disadvantaged- don't get same oppertunities
  • Uneven distribution of benefits (eg. wealth)
  • First type- discrimination on grounds of race, gender, religion, social class, poverty, age or disability
  • Second type- some are very wealthy while some can't meet basic needs (food, shelter & warmth etc)
  • Religious- see it as their duty to fight social injustice

Social justice is based on the idea of human dignity.

  • Most christians believe- all people deserve to be treated fairly & with repect
  • Based on belief- human dignity- all human life is valuable regardless of race, gender 

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him: male and femaled he created them" Genesis 1:27

  • Consciousness, self knowledge, reason & free will- godly qualities bestowed only on humans

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Social Injustice

Dignity and equality doesn't mean we're all the same.

  • God blesses each individiual with own ability, personality, talents & ambitions
  • Social justice- not about making sure everyone has the same stuff & does the same thing- about making sure nothing prevents someone from using their 'god given' talents
  • Many campaigns- aim to reduce social injustice- focus on wealth- poverty- big stumbling block to achievement
  • High taxes for people on high incomes, scholarships for poor but gifted students & free access to healthcare & education

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