||GCSE Religious Education > War and Peace
Some definitions related to this subject which you will find useful in the exam:
Christian Teachings Against War
Sanctity of life
The rejection of violence in all situations
The aim of fighting must be good
All other means of resolving a dispute should be tried before fighting
Life is holy because God made it
Struggle for justice
Christian Teachings that Permit War
- "Turn the other cheek." (Matthew 5) teaches that people should be long suffering and not quick to take revenge.
- "Do not kill." (10 Commandments)
- Jesus criticised his own disciple who defended him with a sword when arrested.
- "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Jesus teaches people always to do good.
- Jesus was openly critical of the Religious Leaders, but did not encourage violence. This shows the value of non-violent protest.
- Martin Luther King's leadership of the civil rights movement against racism shows the power of non-violent protest to change things for good.
- Pacifists refuse to fight under any circumstances for moral reasons. (conscientious objectors) Sometimes they may agree to serve in a non-combatant role. (e.g. as a medical aide to the injured)
The Just War Hypothesis
- God gave people the ability to reason. War may be justified as the "lesser of two evils."
- "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." (Exodus 21) shows that punishments should be appropriate to the crime.
- The Old Testament teaches: injustice should not be ignored and evil men should be resisted.
Moslem Teachings Against War
- Devised by St. Thomas Aquinas.
- There must be Just cause.
- War must be started by legal authority.
Moslem Teachings that Permit War
- The Moslem idea of "Ummah" (community) encourages believers to value the common good and to work together to build peace and prosperity.
- "Be not divided among yourselves" (Surah 3) shows the importance of unity and peace among people.
- "Hate your enemy mildly; he may become your friend one day." (Hadith) expresses the hope that conflicts are ended
Jihad / Holy War
- "If people declare war against you, you may fight back." (Surah 22)
- "Those who are slain in the cause of Allah... will be admitted to paradise." (Surah 47)
- Moslems are permitted to fight in defence of their faith when the following conditions are met...
- All other ways of settling the dispute have failed
- The freedom of Moslems to practise their faith is threatened
- War is declared by a recognised religious leader
- Every effort must be made to protect civilians, animal and plant life.