First and foremost I want to say that in a booklet about warfare, including Christian teaching, I believe that there might be some way I could make it right from a Christian perspective, and I will try to be objective, and consider all sides of the argument. I believe that most war is wrong, however. In a booklet on Christian teaching about warfare, I would have to include the Ten Commandments, or at least a couple of them.
It does say you shall not murder, and in warfare, you kill many thousands or even millions of people, and if it is wrong to kill one person, then it must be very wrong to kill thousands and thousands of people. I would also have to include the commandment you shall not steal, because I believe that when you kill someone, you are stealing a life.
There are two more commandments that I would put in, the first is you shall not make yourself an idol, now this may seem a bit strange, but when there is a war going on, you often make yourself an idol. (e. g. Adolf Hitler in World War 2, and Joseph Stalin). The final commandment I would use in a booklet about warfare would be remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy, and if you’re fighting in a war, then there is no way that you are going to be able to stop the fighting every Sunday, just so the Christians can keep it holy, is there?
I would also have to bring situation ethics into the equation, because in situation ethics, you are supposed to do the most loving thing, and I don’t really see how the most loving thing to do in a war situation would be to go to war, and kill many thousands or even millions of people over what is probably some stupid row over power, some people, however might believe that they are the ‘goodies’ of the war, and if they say go and kill 1 million ‘baddies’ to save 1thousand ‘goodies’, then they may consider that the most loving thing to do by killing ‘baddies’ to save ‘goodies’, personally I wouldn’t go along with it, but you never know, some people might.
My opinion on situation ethics involving warfare would have to be that to do the most loving thing, you have to make sure no one is killed, during a time like this, because after all, even if just one person dies, then it is less loving than making sure that no one dies. This was expressed in Matthew 22:39 of the holy bible new international version, where Matthew says ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’ and I think that just epitomises situation ethics. I think that the only thing that could even begin to justify warfare for Christians would have to be the Just War theory, which was invented by St. Augustine of Hippo, who was the Christian theologian to attempt to provide a logical Christian justification for war.
He regarded war as evil but argued that sometimes it was necessary to combat a greater evil, therefore starting a war. I personally don’t believe in the just war theory, but I can see that some Christians would find a way to justify war to themselves because of the just war theory, I mean some people might believe that this is connected to situation ethics, with the point that says, ‘there must be the right intentions, the intent must be to do good and avoid evil, and some Christians might believe this to be about the most loving thing to do.
Christians might go by the seven main points of the just war theory, if it was completely necessary to go to war, however I think their religion would compel them not to go to war unless it was completely necessary. I don’t really think liberation theology (violence can be justified in warfare if used to literately oppress opposition) would be that useful to Christians in a booklet about warfare, so the last thing that I would include in the booklet would be pacifism. Some Christians are pacifists. It seems that the early church were mainly pacifist. Very few Christians joined an army until Emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity at the beginning of the 4th century AD. After that Christianity became the religion of the Roman empire, and lots of Christians joined the army.
All the Christian pacifists say violence is never acceptable no matter what the circumstances are. In war, some pacifists have become conscientious objectors, or ‘conchies’. This means that their consciences refused them to take up arms in times of war. Not all conchies were pacifists, however and some just objected in a particular war because they feel it is unjust. Members of the religious society of friends, who are sometimes called Quakers are also pacifists. Here are a few quotes from the bible about peace and pacifism that I would also include in a booklet on warfare: ‘The lord gives strength to his people, and blesses them with peace. ‘ Psalm 29:11. ‘A child is born to us! A son is given to us!
And he will be our ruler. He will be called ‘wonderful counsellor,’ ‘Mighty father,’ ‘eternal father’ ‘Prince of peace’ The description of the messiah from Isiah 9:6. ‘Live in peace with one another. ‘ Jesus, in mark 9:50. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called son of God. ‘ Jesus, in Matthew 5:9. ‘Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. ‘ Jesus, in John 14:27. ‘It was late that Sunday evening, (the night Jesus rose from the dead) and the disciples were gathered behind locked doors, because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. Then Jesus came and stood among them ‘ Peace be with you,’ he said.
After saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the father sent me, so I send you… ‘ John 20:19-21. ‘And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus. ‘ Paul, in Philippians 4:7. ‘May God, our source of peace, be with all of you. ‘ Paul, in Romans 15:33. In conclusion, I think that the just war theory is the only piece of information I’ve given you that begin to justify warfare for Christians, and all in all, I don’t think many Christians would think about war, unless forced to do so.