Religious Studies- Peace and Conflict

A summary of the 3rd section of the Edexcel Religious Studies Christianity & Islam textbook

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  • Created by: R_Hall
  • Created on: 30-04-12 09:29


Section 3- War and Peace

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Why do wars occur?

  • War is an armed conflict between two or more nations
  • The main factors which cause wars are-
  • Self defence- to defend your country if it is attacked
  • Economics or natural resources- water, land, oil
  • Fear
  • National pride
  • Fighting against aggression (attacking without being provoked) and injustice
  • Long-standing racial or ethnic hatred
  • Protecting people from persecution and exploitation (taking advantage of a weaker group)
  • The civil war in Darfur (Sudan) was caused by many complex factors (economic, environmental, long-standing ethnic hatred and national pride)
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The United Nations and world peace

  • After the end of WW2 in 1945, the United Nations was set up to prevent and solve wars through conflict resolution (bringing a fight to a conclusion) and reconciliation (bringing together fighting nations
  • The UN also fights against poverty and campaigns for human rights
  • In order to achieve peace, the UN try's to reduce the number and type of weapons, organises peace talks, arrange trade sanctions and has the power to send military  forces into aggressive countries
  • The UN has had mixed success, it is successful in solving 2/3 conflicts
  • The UN has met with only limited success in bringing peace to Darfur
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Religious organisations and peace

  • Religious organisations campaign for world peace by encouraging reconciliation, educating both sides and teaching forgiveness
  • Christian organisations-
  • The World Council of Churches- An organisation that brings together Christians of the world to achieve world peace. They follow Jesus' teachings on forgiveness (stopping blaming people and start pardoning them), peace and unity
  • Pax Christi (the peace of Christ)- An international Catholic organisation that works towards world peace. It is opposed to war and violence
  • Islamic organisations-
  • Islamic Relief and the Muslim Peace Fellowship- IR is a Muslim agency that helps the victims of war. The MPF works to promote world peace and aims to work with everyone of all  faiths  for world peace and work against injustice
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Just war theory

  • Wars bring problems to religious believers- some consider that they are always wrong, but other think that they should sometimes be thought
  • Just war- is a war that is fought for the right reasons and in a right way
  • According to the just war theory, a religious believer can fight if-
  • There is a likelihood of success
  • It is fought with the aim of bringing peace
  • The methods used are fair and reasonable
  • Recently, the just war theory has been used and manipulated by skilful leaders to justify their actions and to suggest that the war is God's will
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Christian attitudes to war

  • The Bible has a message of peace ("Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God"- Matthew 5:9), and most Christians believe that they should work towards peace and ending war
  • Pacifism is the belief that all disputes should be solved by peaceful means. There are 3 types- complete, relative/selective and nuclear
  • The reasons why a Christian might chose pacifism-
  • 1. The 10 commandments forbids killing ( "Thou shall not commit murder"- Exodus 20:13)
  • Jesus taught that people should love their enemies and discouraged violence
  • Nuclear weapons can cause unimaginable suffering on innocent people
  • Some Christians believe in fighting in a just war, as Jesus taught that violence is sometimes necessary ("If you don't have a sword, sell you cloak and but one"-Luke 22:36) and he told people that they should obey the lawful government
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Muslim attitudes to war

  • The Qur'an teaches that in order to follow the will of God, people will face struggles with themselves and the world- these struggles are jihad
  • The greater jihad  is the struggle that Muslims face in order to become better Muslims. It involves helping the needy, doing good deeds and visiting the mosque
  • Although the Qur'an teaches peace, the lesser jihad is the physical struggle or war ("Fight in the case of God who fight you"- Surah 2:190)
  • Muslims believe that they should fight because the Qur'an teaches that they must fight if attacked, Muhammad fought in wars and the Qur'an teaches that if someone dies in a just war they will go to heaven
  • A growing number of Muslims are against war as peace and reconciliation are at the heart of Islam and the teachings of the Qur'an
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Christian attitude to bullying

  • Bullying is intimidating or frightening someone weaker than yourself
  • There are many types of bullying (verbal, physical, cyber, racial) and many reasons why people become bullies
  • The possible effects of bullying include depression, eating disorder, self-harming, suicidal thoughts, avoiding school and running away
  • All Christians believe that bullying is wrong as-
  • All bullying involves violence, which is against teachings
  • Everyone was made by God, and bullying is disrespecting God's creation
  • Jesus taught the Golden Rules, and taught people to love each over
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Muslim attitudes to bullying

  • All Muslims are opposed to bullying
  • The Qur'an says "Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoying what is right, and forbidding what is wrong" (Surah 3:104), this makes it clear that Muslims should challenge wrongdoing and harm
  • Reasons to oppose bullying-
  • Islam teaches that aggression without a cause is wrong
  • Allah created everyone, so bullying is abusing God's creation
  • Muhammad taught that people should protect the weak and vulnerable
  • On the Last Day, Allah will judge people on their lives, and bullies will be judged badly
  • Childline and Kidscape offer support to victims of bullying
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Religious conflicts within families

  • Conflicts within families are inevitable and can happen for many reasons (rivalry, school work, money, divorce)
  • Religion can be a source of conflict within families- a child could question the faith of the parents, and may change their religion
  • Different generations often have different ideas about how people should live
  • Christianity teaches that children should honour their parents (Exodus 20:12), but parents should not "provoke your children to anger" (Ephesians 6:4)
  • Islam teaches that children and parents shouldn't harm each other, and children should obey their parents even in adulthood
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Christian teachings on forgiveness and reconciliat

  • Christianity teaches that the way to resolve peace is through forgiveness and reconciliation
  • Christians should forgive and seek reconciliation because the Bible says-
  • "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you"- Luke 6:27
  • "Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us"- Luke 11:4
  • Jesus died on the cross to bring forgiveness and reconciliation between God and humanity. Even as he was dying, Jesus forgave his enemies ("Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing"- Luke 23:34)
  • However, some believe that certain actions may be unforgivable
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Muslim teachings on forgiveness and reconciliation

  • Islam teaches that conflicts should be resolved by forgiveness and reconciliation. They believe this because-
  • Allah forgives people, therefore Muslims should forgive too
  • On the Day of Judgement, God will show mercy and forgiveness to those who have forgiven
  • The Prophet Muhammad taught that people should forgive and be reconciled
  • The Qur'an says "If a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God" (Surah 42:40) and "A kind word with forgiveness is better than charity followed by injury" (Surah 2:263)
  • Some Muslims would argue that certain actions may be unforgivable (eg. working against Islam)
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