Just War

 This module covers 5 main areas:
• Just War
• Pacifism
• Purpose of Punishment
• Capital Punishment
• Social Injustice
For each topic you
will need to know a
range of Christian
views as well as
your own
Fist we need to know what Christian denominations we are
Christian do NOT all believe the same thing and are divided into
different groups depending on faith and establishment
The Roman Catholic Church Protestant Churches
 This denomination is a
 These are the Christian
traditional group of
groups that developed
Christians who believe in
after Martin Luther’s
Natural Law: doing what
debate in 1517.
God intended in a natural  These are modern
way. Up until the C16th
Christians who have reCatholics were the
interpreted the Bible and
dominant group of
have a different view to
Christians in Europe.
the Roman Catholics.
Catholics are controlled
 These Christians are NOT
by the Pope in Rome
controlled by the Pope.
Just War Criteria
 No one likes war but that does not mean that it cannot be
justified sometimes.
 Some people feel that, at times, war is the only option left
Just War: a war that is justified using certain criteria established
by Tomas Aquinas in the 13th century
The criteria fits into two categories:
a) Jus ad bellum – when it is right to go to war
b) Jus in bello – how a war should be fought
Just War Criteria
Jus ad bellum
(when it is right to go to war)
 Last Resort – all other methods must tried
 Right intention - the intention of war is to
right a wrong
 Just Cause - there must a good reason for
going to war
 Right authority – only public authorities are
legitimate, terrorist organisations are not
 Comparative justice – the suffering caused
must be less than the suffering that exists
 Probability of success – there is no point in
fighting and wasting lives if you’re not going
to win
Jus in bello
(how a war should be fought
 Discrimination – acts of
war should be directed at
the combatants not civilians
 Minimum force – death
and destruction should be
 Proportionality – the force
used must be proportional
to the wrong endured and
to the possible good that
may come
 Although a lot of people would agree that war should be a last
resort, some Christians do not believe that war and violence is
acceptable at all.
 These people believe that violence can be solved through
peaceful approaches and a calm attitude.
Pacifism: a rejection of war and violence in preference of using
peaceful methods. Violence fuels violence
 Throughout history we have seen a number of pacifists but the
two most notable are from recent history (20th Century)
Mahatma Gandhi:
a pacifist living in India during British Occupation
Martin Luther King Jr:
a pacifist living in USA during black segregation
Conscientious Objectors
 History saw a rise in conscientious objectors during the 20th
century when going to war was made to be a legal requirement
Conscientious Objector: a person who refuses to go to war, even
if that means breaking the law, due to their conscience and
personal beliefs
 There are a number of reasons why someone might be a
conscientious objector:
Fear of
Not want to
kill others
Conscientious Objectors
 People who refused to go to war during the 20th century were
seen as suspicious
 One man, Albert Rowland, was watched by the police, arrested,
had his home ransacked and was put in prison for his role as a
conscientious objector during the second world war.
Although some were put in prison, others performed jobs for the
war effort that did not involve violence
• Stretcher
• Ambulance
• Telephone
• Voluntary
 When people commit a crime there are consequences of their
actions, this can range from a fine, to community service to a
period of time spent in prison.
In this country we aim to achieve 5 things by using punishment
• The debt
you owe
society for
your crime
• To stop you
or others
the same
• To protect
society from
you and
your crimes
• Educating
people to
help them
find a job on
• Upholding
the law to
show that
crime will
not be
 Christians believe that God will judge all humans when they die
but we must also punish people in this life if they have sinned
 Capital Punishment is a contentious issue. Some people feel
that it is the only solution for certain crimes, whereas others
think that we do not have the right to take someone’s life
“If any of you is without sin, let him throw the first stone at
The Christian view on capital punishment fits into two sections:
• An eye for an eye: some people deserve
to lose their lives due the crime they
• Only God can give and take life. If someone
is dead they cannot repent and we cannot
forgive them
Social Injustice
 There are people all over the world today whose lives are
directly affected by social injustice
Social injustice: a situation where people are treated badly due
to corrupt governments and restricted human rights
 There are people in prisons who do not know why they are
there or how long they will be kept. There are people who have
been arrested and imprisoned due to them exercising their
freedom of speech. There are people who are being tortured
and executed.
Social Injustice
 During the 20th century a policy was developed in order to help
people who were being treated unfairly. This was called
Liberation Theology. It is predominant in South America.
Liberation Theology: God is seen as a liberator. People use the
example of Jesus to stand up for what is right even if it means
breaking the law
Oscar Romero was Archbishop of El Salvador.
 He encouraged his congregation to stand up to
the military rule and do what they thought was
 He was assassinated in his Church during mass:
this only encouraged his followers to continue
their fight for justice
Social Injustice
 Amnesty International is an organisation that was developed in
1961 by Peter Benenson (a British lawyer) in response to two
students being arrested and imprisoned for toasting their
Amnesty International: a world wide organisation that helps and
supports people who have their human rights restricted
 Anyone can join the organisation and help to
raise awareness
 They tackle areas such as false imprisonment,
torture inquiries, talking to people on death
 They are a peaceful organisation and do not
advocate violence
Exam Practice Question
Religion, Peace and Justice – this exam question is worth 24 marks
a) What is pacifism? (1)
b) Give two examples of what Christians might consider to be
social injustice (2)
c) Why would a Christian support the use of prisons? (3)
d) What are Christian attitudes towards war? (6)
e) “The death penalty is the only way to tackle criminals”. Discuss
this statement. Give different, supported viewpoints including
a personal viewpoint. You must refer to Christianity (12)
Remember: Part E is an ESSAY question and must be written in an
essay style with PEE paragraphs in order to attain all 12 marks

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