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?

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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.

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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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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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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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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.

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