CHRISTIAN ETHICS

Global Concerns: Conflict, Environmentalism & Poverty

Global Concerns: Conflict, Environmentalism & Poverty


Conflict

War

religious studiesMost Christians are opposed to war and armed conflict in most circumstances and some denominations such as Quakers are opposed to it in all circumstances. But many Christians accept the idea of the ‘just war. This concept states that in some cases it is justified to take up arms in the pursuit of correcting injustice. For example, many Christians supported the war against Hitler’s dictatorship. The evil of violence was outweighed by the necessity of defeating the evil of Nazism.

Terrorism

Most Christians believe that terrorism is never justified, even against an evil enemy.

The Death Penalty

Historically, Christians believed that the death penalty was justified. Many heretics, those that did not accept the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, were burnt at the stake during the Middle Ages.

religious studiesIn modern times, the death penalty is a divisive issue for Christians. Many are opposed to it on ethical grounds while others believe it can be justified when a particularly heinous crime has been committed.

Although one of the Ten Commandments says ‘Thou shalt not kill’, some Christians interpret this as a law against murder rather than a prohibition of all killing.

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Environmentalism

religious studiesEven if they do not accept the literal truth of the creation story in the Book of Genesis, Christians still believe that God created the world. This belief leads many of them to strongly support the conservation of Earth. In practical terms, this can mean recycling, preservation of wildlife habitats and campaigning on green issues such as global warming.

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World poverty

Jesus in his teachings made a particular point of allying himself with poor people and many Christians believe that they should campaign for social justice around the world.

Many international aid agencies have their roots in Christian philosophy and beliefs. Examples include CAFOD, Christian Aid, Tearfund and Trocaire.

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