Why might Christians participate in war?I was just wondering whether some Christians would deem it acceptable or moral to go to war, fight for their country or use violence in the name of what they...

Why might Christians participate in war?

I was just wondering whether some Christians would deem it acceptable or moral to go to war, fight for their country or use violence in the name of what they thouht was right?

Does the Old Testament quote  "An eye for an eye" literally mean, if you punch someone expect to get punched or is it read into out of context?

6 Answers

rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The concept of an eye for an eye means that punishments for crimes should fit the crime. In early law codes, such as the Mesopotamian tradition from which much of the Old Testament emerged, this was expressed in reciprocal terms. In reality, at least in terms of civil cases (the kind we would call torts today) it may have simply been intended to set the terms by which negotiations could occur, sort of like the concept of the wergeld among Northern Europeans.

As to why Christians would fight in wars, there is a wide diversity of opinion among Christians. Many oppose war based on religious convictions, others do not, as long as they perceive the aims of the war to be just. For others, their definition of Christianity is so entwined with their understanding of patriotism that there is no conflict in supporting any war that their political leadership deems necessary.

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Historically, Christians have been involved in some terrible wars in the name of religion. Consider the Crusades, which were allegedly conducted to "rescue" the Holy Lands from occupation by the infidel Muslims.

While it wasn't a war, Christians used violent means when necessary to collect African natives for shipment under brutal conditions to the slave markets of the New World. Before they left Africa, however, they were "baptized" and the dealers and owners felt certain they were doing God's will and following the proper order of things described in the Bible by perpetuating slavery.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There has long been a doctrine of "just war" in the Christian tradition.  Basically, this holds that war is proper when the opponent is going to do serious damage to the world and there is no other way to prevent that damage from occurring.  In this view, Christians have the responsibility to go to war to prevent evil.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I have to agree with the posters who state that Christians support war when the lives of others are in danger. While this has not been the case in the past (the Crusades), today people may go to war based on their own religious beliefs and the intolerance of others regarding their ideology.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that from a Christian perspective there is nothing wrong with war if you are defending someone.  Although the commandment says not to kill, it is really referring to murder in cold blood and not self-defense.  That seems to be the common interpretation.

User Comments

rachel-xx's profile pic

rachel-xx | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

I am a christian but i do not nessasaraly belive in every belive that christians have. Everyone is entiled to there own opion and no church can stop that. Christians belive that if it is makeing a good differnce you are doing right and maybe a good difference is diffrent to other people, the same goes for the saying 'an eye for an eye' literally this could mean for some people and  for others its not. So really if christians have a perspective on war or not its the individual persons opion that counts, but in wars such as the Crusades christians would be made to fight weather they belive in the reason or not.