christian attitudes towards war
- centeral to christ's teaching is the theory that people should love one another and try to live in peace.
- however in the old testament and most christian thinkers suggest sometimes war is necessary to overcome evil.
- the war will still be wrong but not as bad as what would happen if the war was not fought.
- it may also be seen as necessary to fight on defence of the weak.
- in the bible it gives different view points and christians have to decide which teaching is the most relevent to their situation
- christianity has been involved in holy wars,
- a good example of this is the crusades where christian europe fought to keep jerusalem and the holy land in chrisitan hands, the christian fighters were told it wasn't a sin to kill non-christians
- many christians today would not support the idea of holy war
just war theory
- st thomas aqunias developed 'the just war theory' in the late 19th century to help deal with the confused teachings in the bible,
- many christians believe 'the just war theory' helps helps to identify situations where war could be the lesser of two evils
- according to the 'the just war theory' a war is justified if:
- it is started by the proper authority - the legitimate government
- the country or people being attacked have done something to deserve it
- the war is being fought to promote good and to avoid evil
- war is the last resort after all methods to resolve conflict have been tried
- two more criteria were added later:
- innocent civilians should not be harmed and only the necessary force and weapons should be used
- peace must be restored at the end of theconflict
- it is only after a war we can possibly tell if it satisfied the criteria for just war
biblical quotes for war
'turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it'
'nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore'
'declare holy war. call troops to arms'
pacifism and conscientious objectous objection
- pacifists are people who are opposed to any participation in wars , some pacifists are not always christian
- pacifists are divided into two sections:
- absolute pacifists who believe violence is always wrong, even in self defence,
- conditional pacifists who believe that some violence is the lesser of two evils.
- many people argue that since christ allowed himself to be killed, and instructed his followers not to defend him, self-defence is not an acceptable excuse for violence
biblical quotes on pacifism
'love your enemies and prey for those who persecute you'
'put your sword back in it's place'