Flashcards in Violence and Conflict Deck (13):
What is the Just War Theory (jus ad bellum)?
- Proposed by Thomas Aquinas
- A set of criteria that have to be met in order for a war to be considered just
1) The war must be started by the proper authority.
2) The reason to go to war must be just, e.g. to protect human rights.
3) Everything must be done to make sure good instead of evil results from the war.
4) The war must be the last resort, every other way of solving the situation must have been tried and failed.
5) The force used must be no more than is necessary to win, and civilians or those not posing a threat should not be targeted.
What is jus in bello?
- Correct conduct in war
1) Civilians should not be harmed
2) Appropriate force only should be used
3) Internationally-agreed conventions must be obeyed
What is a Holy War?
- A war entered into to defend your faith
- Declared by a religious figure, e.g. the Pope
- There hasn't been an official Christian Holy War since the Crusades
- Most Christians would not agree with a Holy War (except liberation theologians)
Outline Christian attitudes towards apocalyptic warfare.
- The majority of Christians oppose excessive use of force; the Church of England writes "such weapons cannot be used without harming non-combatants and could never be proportionate to the just cause and aim of the war"
- Pope John XXIII said: "It is impossible to conceive of a just war in a nuclear age"
- However, Vatican II says it would be immoral to unilaterally disarm
- The Methodist Church is against all weapons of mass destruction. This includes chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. However, they do not condemn their use as a deterrent.
- Some Christians believe the destructive potential of nuclear weapons ensure they will not be used in a war
Outline Christian attitudes towards technological warfare.
- Many Christians are concerned that the use of technology in war reduces awareness of the human cost of war: one side can kill many of the other side without putting themselves in any danger
- The Catholic Church is concerned that drone strikes cause many civilian deaths, going against Just War Theory
- There are some methods of technological warfare that do not involve direct fighting: a country can economically collapse through the hacking of its computer networks; Russia supplies most of Europe's gas - it could cut it off
What are the causes of terrorism?
- Marginalisation of minority groups
- Fighting for freedom (Nelson Mandela)
- As a result of religious freedoms being violated
Why do some Christians believe it is wrong to get involved in politics?
- Some believe authorities are appointed by God; Paul said "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." (Romans 13:1)
- Jesus commanded his disciples to preach the Gospel, so many Christians believe this is their priority, not politics, e.g. the Plymouth Brethren is an evangelical movement that abstains from voting
What is the relationship between religion and politics in the UK?
- Most Christians in the UK vote
- Some Christians are MPs
- There are 26 bishops in the House of Lords
- This means many of our laws are influenced by Christian authorities
- The monarch is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England
- The Prime Minister can't be Catholic
Why are Christians against terrorism?
- The Catholic Church is against terrorism - its Catechism teaches: "Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity."
- The Church of England is also against terrorism and it also believes that an act of just war may be necessary as a last resort to combat terrorism
- A CofE report called 'Facing the Challenge of Terrorism' it concluded that the way to combat causes of terrorism is for Christians to promote understanding, reconciliation and respect within their local communities, to involve different faith groups
What are some examples of Christian terrorism?
- In 1921, Catholic Ireland and Protestant Northern Ireland separated
- However, 1/3 of the population of Northern Ireland were Catholics who did not want to be under British rule
- Catholics were discriminated against in jobs and housing
- As a result, the Irish Republican Army was formed; it made use of violence and terror against the Protestants, including the police and British Army
- There were many thousands of deaths on both sides until 1998, when the Good Friday Agreement was signed, bringing a ceasefire
Why might Christians agree with violence as a solution to conflict?
- In the Old Testament, God encourages his people to go to war to defend/claim their promised land
- The concept of Holy War means some Christians would consider violence acceptable to defend their faith
- The Bible tells Christians to defend the weak - this could be seen as a reason to go to war
Why might Christians be against violence in all circumstances?
- In the New Testament, Jesus is a pacifist
- In the Sermon on the Mount, he says "blessed are the peacemakers"
- He tells Christians not to take revenge (Mt 5:39), and to love their enemies (Mt 5:44)
- Murder is forbidden in the Bible; it is one of the 10 Commandments