Christianity And The Just War Theory Essay

Christianity And The Just War Theory Essay

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Does the Just War Theory provide sufficient moral justification for Christians’ involvement in war?

The Just War Theory is a set of criteria that are used to judge whether a war is morally justifiable. It was St Augustine in the third century that formulated the Just War theory, and was formalised 10 centuries later by Thomas Aquinas. There are seven criteria by which a war can be judged to be just. Among the rules are Just Cause – there must be a very good reason for going to war, such as protecting your country from invasion. There should be a formal declaration of war by the legal government. It has to be the last resort and all other alternatives must be exhausted. There must be a reasonable chance of success and great care must be taken to avoid injuring civilians.

The Just War Theory is still believed today to be the only way that Christians can morally justify war and is often referred to by leaders of Christian countries when they make claims to be fighting a just war. There is widespread ignorance of the details of Just War but there is also much room for different interpretations of the criteria. I personally feel that it depends on each individual situation as one set of rules are not always applicable to all circumstances. In some situations, the causes may seem to be just but not according to the just war theory. A war can only be judged to be just if the criteria are met – not if those involved try very hard to meet them.

The aim of the just war is to provid...

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