There are NO Just and Holy Wars Essay

There are NO Just and Holy Wars Essay

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War can often be considered an evil act, an act of aggression against another country for economic or social gain, or can be considered a noble event of justice, a defense mechanism of a protectorate country helping a country in need. However, sometimes the issue of war is mingled with religion, which brings the value of war into question. In some religions, war is considered noble and a gateway to heaven. A jihad in Islam is an example of this type, where some Muslims believe that attacking the “infidel” is considered strong promotion of their religion. However, in many religions the ethics of a Holy War, loosely defined as “any war that is regarded as a religious act or is in some way set in a direct relation to religion,” (Erdmann 3)) is in a very grey area. Christianity is one of those religions. Starting in the late 11th century, the Christian church started a series of Holy Wars called the Crusades. After looking at the motives for the war and the teachings of Jesus, the supposed basis of Christianity, it seems as if these wars were not actually representative of how Christians should act toward conflict even though they were considered for the good of the church.

Onward Christian Soldiers

The view of the Church towards war from its inception in the first century until 1095, when Pope Urban II officially called Christians together to fight in the first Crusade, changed drastically according to Thomas Madden (1). In the first hundred years after the death of Christ war was seen for only stately gain by the Roman state, which was persecuting Christians. However, the conversion of Emperor Constantine brought a union between the state and Christianity. War became a necessary tool, but due t...


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... I mentioned before, Osama bin Laden proclaimed his attack on the World Trade Center a holy war. While the world looked back and could not understand how this could be considered holy, if one were to look back they could see similarities between the Christian Crusades and the terrorist attacks. When I was looking for websites on just war theory of St. Augustine, nearly every single site I found had a discussion on whether the possible action by the United States in Iraq would be justified according to St. Augustine. Most declared that it would be justified based on the actions of Iraq over the past decade and our status as a world leader with an international council such as the United Nations. It is nice to know that the information from the Crusades can help us now, but I prefer knowing that the Christian church has not repeated its action in the past 500 years.

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