We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

It is Impossible to be a Christian and Joined the Armed Forces Essay Sample

  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1,243
  • Rewriting Possibility: 99% (excellent)
  • Category: christian

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.

Get Access

Introduction of TOPIC

War is defined as armed hostilities between peoples, frequently different nations, sometimes between different parties within a nation, as in a civil war, or between one small group and the state, as in a guerrilla war.

For followers of world religions often caught up in conflict, war poses fundamental questions about human worth and dignity.

Many have questioned the ethics of the great bombing raids of WW II, When British and American bombers rained down fire and destruction on millions of German women and children, and the use by America of the Atomic bombs on Japan. In addition, when the Americans waged war in Vietnam in the 1960’s, their express desire was not to kill the enemy but to ‘incapacitate’ as many civilians as possible.

At one time individuals like Alexander and Rameses II were given the title ‘the Great’ for slaughtering human beings on the battlefield, but today few would view the killing of vast numbers of non-combatants for no rational purpose as anything other than a crime against humanity.

The German Protestant reformer Martin Luther, alluding to the story of Samson in the Old Testament, suggests that few of us are in any position to decide another persons fate, let alone take his or her life.

The English philosopher Bertrand Russell pointed out that ‘patriots always talk of dying for their country, but never of killing for their country’.

If we apply the Golden Rule (‘Do unto others as you would wish them to do to you’) we have to ask if we would like to be shot or gassed, if we would like to see our grandparents bombed or our children burned to death in a firestorm caused by carpet-bombing.

Albert Camus said: ‘We are asked to love or hate such and such a country and such and such a people. But some of us feel to strongly our common humanity to make that choice.’

Jesus’ love was an active benevolence cutting against barriers of class, race and nation. Inn the sermon on the mount he taught his followers to love their enemies, to forgive those who had wronged them, and to respond to violence with non-violence, returning good for evil:

“You have heard it said ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes your right cheek, turn to him the other also.” – Matt 5:38-9

Whilst the church’s view has been that it may be proper for a Christian to fight justice, pacifism has been a significant enough minority view for it to be taken seriously, and a righ

t to conscientious objection is recognised by many nations. Even

Sorry, but full essay samples are available only for registered users

Choose a Membership Plan
Pope John Paul II, not usually a pacifist, has eloquently expressed the pacifist position:

“Violence is a lie, for it goes against the truth of our faith, the truth of our humanity. Violence destroys what it claims to defend: the dignity, the life, and the freedom of human beings. Violence is a crime against humanity, for it destroys the very fabric of society… To all of you who are listening I say: do not believe in violence; do not support violence. It is not the Christian way. It is not the way of the Catholic Church. Believe in peace and forgiveness and love, for they are Christ.”

Pacifists maintain that early Christian pacifists perceived war to be incompatible with their Christian obedience; the requirement to love our enemy is absolute and the authority and function of the state is incompatible with this.

“We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretence whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world. The spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us from a thing of evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdom of this world. – Declaration of the Quakers to Charles II 1661

Reinhold Niebuhr criticised the naivety of absolute pacifism as neglecting the equally important biblical principles of justice and the wrath of God whilst over emphasising peace and reconciliation. He argued that pacifists equally shirk their responsibility for striving for justice and are sometimes guilty, therefore, of accepting tyranny and oppression rather than fighting against evil.

Although war is a monstrous evil and killing is an appalling offence against Jesus’ teaching, nevertheless it may be more evil not to take up arms in some.

Beginning with Ambrose, strengthened by Augustine and elaborated by Aquinas in the 13th century and others later, the very ancient notion of the ‘just war’ was steadily refined as the main tool with which Christians tried to assess the morality of wars.

There has been three main themes of Christian reflection – that of allowing there to be some just wars which could declare and in which Christian soldiers could fight; that of reckoning some wars to be of divine command, crusades; that which has declared all wars and participation in them to be wholly anathema to the Christian.

Christian members of organizations such as CND argue that the Just War theory may have applied in a pre-nuclear age but in the nuclear, biological and chemical age, modern weapons of mass destruction make nonsense of the theory.

For those who hold that the principle of the sanctity of life demands that all deliberate acts of killing – including those in war – are forbidden, the just war theory can never legitimise military action which is nothing more than state approved and state sponsored murder.

“It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but murder.” – Albert Einstein

In my opinion Omar Bradley sums up our world’s attitude to war in one paragraph:

“Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants, we know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we do about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atomic bomb and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.”

John Stott proposes that Christian peacemakers should pray, set an example as ‘a community of peace’, promote public debate on issues of peace and war, and maintain a confident stance that peace is a realistic and desirable goal.

Personally, I believe that this can be achieved much more easily if one is a part of the armed forces than if one is a protester or a campaigner.

We can write a custom essay on

It is Impossible to be a Christian and Joined the ...
According to Your Specific Requirements.

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

Christian ethical response to poverty

Millions of people are living in extreme poverty, in many cases they are denied access to proper services, energy, water, health, and above all the opportunities to improve their economic and social outlook. There is always the question of who is poor and how do we describe poverty? According to Bunting, the poor are those who struggles or barely survive with total lack of necessities of life (1995, p.677). Rogers in his words refers to poverty as “the absence of qualities, attributes or resources, but particularly to the absence of material and economic resources” (1967, p.264). Using the relative deprivation theory of poverty, Gordon and Nandy argue Poverty as “people whose resources are so seriously below those commanded by the average individual or family that they are, in effect, excluded from ordinary living patterns, customs and activities” (1999). In the 21st century, poverty is not defined only in terms of food,...

Describe What a Christian Believes About Marriage...

Marriage: Christians believed that marriage is a solemn agreement between two people in God’s eyes and in people’s eyes. It means that if a couple is already married, they should take it seriously and don’t take it as not a lifetime commitment. Because that is what marriage meant. It means to be for a lifetime commitment that two individuals should share for the rest of their lives. Secondly, they believed that within marriage, the couple are intended by God to be sexually faithful to each other. This means that if the two opposite individuals are already married and have a lifetime commitment to each other, they should be faithful to each other and there should be trust between the both of them. In marriage, men should be loyal and faithful to their wife because that is what they solemnly vow in their marriage and that they should stick together and...

Religious Ethics are not the Best Approach...

In recent years climate change has come to be recognised as perhaps the most important issue facing modern society. The Conservative Party's adoption of the slogan "Vote blue, go green" is a measure of the changing attitude towards environmental issues and highlights the fact that climate change is now at the forefront of the political agenda. This may be due to the fact that the global community is now beginning to witness the effects of global warming in the form of extreme weather conditions resulting in floods, droughts and landslides. The devastating effects of these recent natural disasters, including the loss of thousands of human lives, makes climate change a more real and immediate threat than ever before. Whilst it is now widely acknowledged that human activity has made a significant contribution to global warming, there is still debate over whether or not humankind's destruction of the environment is morally...

Popular Essays


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?