Religion, Peace and Justice
What attitudes are there to war?
Key idea: Most Christians believe that war should be avoided. But many also believe that there are times when a Christian may have to go to war. This is because they believe that the result of not going to war will be much worse.
Key idea: Christians would fight in the name of God by going on Crusades (Holy War)
Christians did not retaliate when persecuted, they did not join the army.
Not all Christians followed the teachings from the Bible about forgiveness, living in piece, not retaliating.
Christians were inspired to go on Crusades (Holy Wars) from the Bible passage in Samuel 15.2-3 God commands ‘[I will) punish the people of Amalek because their ancestors opposed the Israelites…Now go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have.’
The most famous Crusades were the Christian wars to recover Jerusalem from the Muslims in the Middle Ages.
They were fighting a holy war on behalf of God.
The crusades were a disaster.
They did not achieve any military objective.
Whole cities of people were slaughtered.
What are the attitudes of Christians to war?
Some Christians believe that war is often the result of the sin, the evil choices people make in contradiction to the will of God.
However others think that on occasions war may be necessary in order to fight greater evil.
Many Christians believe that the rejection of war and violence is what Jesus stressed in the Gospels.
These Christians believe in pacifism-the belief that peace should be central value people persue- war is unacceptable. ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword’(Matthew 26:52b)
What is meant by Just War theory?
Key idea: Some people feel that the only justification for war would be if they were defending their own country or another country.
In the book Summa Theologiae, the Christian thinker St Thomas Aquinas (1225-74) wrote about the theory of Just War, a war that is better to be fought than