Religion, War and Peace

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  • Created by: PARTHENON
  • Created on: 04-02-16 14:31

       Topic 4 – Religion, War and Peace

Key words and concepts

Conflict: a state of discord or war.

War: a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state.

Peace: an absence of conflict which leads to happiness and harmony.

Justice: bringing about what is right and fair according to the law or making up for what has been done wrong.

Sanctity of life: life is sacred because it is God-given.

Pacifism: the belief of people who refuse to take part in war and any form of violence.

Just War: a theory developed by Thomas Aquinas. It is a war that the Christian church defines as acceptable (see below for more details).

Jihad: Islamic holy war (see below for more details).

Why do people go to war?

  • to defend their country
  • to defend their beliefs, religion, freedom and way of life or to impose them on others
  • to defend or protect an ally
  • to remove their own leader
  • to gain more land/territory
  • to gain wealth, power or important resources
  • to stop genocide

Key conflicts

  • the Crusades
  • Vietnam war
  • the Falkland’s conflict
  • Gaza/Palestine

Consequences of war

  • death
  • injury
  • destruction of culture, economy and infrastructure (including poverty)
  • freedom
  • disease and famine
  • cost

Just War Theory

Just War Theory was first written about by Thomas Aquinas. He was a Roman Catholic theologian/philosopher. Many other Christian groups agree with it. A ‘Just War’ must fit certain criteria. Under these criteria a war:

  • have a just cause
  • be lawfully declared by a proper authority
  • have good intention
  • be a last resort
  • have reasonable chance of success
  • be fought by just means and in proportion
  • only occur if the good outweighs the evil

Jihad: Holy War

Jihad (holy war): fighting for a religious cause or God. Muslims believe fighting is a duty (lesser jihad) if Islam or Muslims are under threat. There is a strict criteria. For example, a war must be:

  • fought for God
  • a last resort
  • conducted fairly
  • for the protection of civilians

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