Religion and Ethics

Religion, War and Peace-

Conflict occurs when people’s interests clash, and is often settles with a physical dispute.

Reasons for war:

·         defend a country from attack 

·         defend freedoms/beliefs

·         to help a weaker ally

·         remove a bad dictator

·         to gain land

·         to gain wealth/oil/power

Examples of wars: 

the Vietnam war- from 1959 to 1975; the communist north Vietnam government fought south Vietnam (even though it had America on its side) yet the north won unifying Vietnam and taking over Laos and Cambodia. Millions were killed in the conflict and it also created a refugee crisis as many to the attacked areas when the war ended.

Refugee= a person who, owing to a fear of being persecuted, cannot remain in their own country

Afghanistan- it began in 2001 in response to the 9/11 attacks. the US accused the Taliban of hiding the Al Qaeda terrorists letting them plan more attacks and they then attacked Afghanistan to remove the Taliban regime in 'operation enduring freedom', innocents were killed en masse.

Consequences of war:

·         freedom from a negative power

·         replacement of a corrupt government

·         death and injuries of personnel and civilians

·         destroyed economy, infrastructure and culture

·         spread of disease and famine

·         homelessness

·         post war costs

Peace is the absence of conflict with a sense of harmony and wellbeing.

Justice is all people being treated equally and fairness according to the law; some argue that without justice people become angry and people would be living without full human rights so there is no peace.

The sanctity of life is the idea that all life is sacred as it is God given (shown in genesis) and so humans should not fight as this destroys life. This is where religious pacifism is introduced. 

Pacifism: people who believe that all conflict is wrong to varying extents depending on what type of pacifism they follow. Killing goes against their sacred writings and wastes precious lives/ resources that could solve poverty. They believe war can be settles via negotiation as fighting back is sinking to the oppressors level.

·         absolute pacifism= violence should NEVER be used, often conscientious objectors (i.e. Martin Luther King JR)--Quakers

·         contingent pacifism= violence may be used but only if it is the lesser of two evils (i.e. Dietrich Bonheoffer attempted to bomb Hitler as his death would prevent many others)--Catholics

·         Religious pacifism= doing something nonviolent rather than nothing, like ambulance driving or nursing.

'Love thy neighbour as yourself' Luke 10:27

'If someone hits you, turn the other cheek' Matthew 5:39

'We no longer take sword against a nation... having become sons of peace' Origen

Turning the tide: a Quaker group who work for peace and show that violence can be broken through negotiation. Their office in the UN works for human rights, refugees and helps to fix global issues which could lead to war 



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