Hi. I was wondering what the bible actually says about war, because I have had sections that seem to support it while i’ve seen others which condem it. i had always thought that as far as God and the bible was concerned, war was wrong, so now im slightly confused :shrug: . Thanks.
You are correct, the bible speaks against arguing, judgeing and fighting, yet we see the Israelites going to war in Canaan and we see Jesus drive out the Money Changers in the Temple…both pretty violent acts.
I can’t say WHERE in scripture “war” specifically is mentioned, but I do know that the Catholic church has thought about the issue a bit and developed a doctrine on it.
Basically the central idea is that in a life or death situation, we DO have the right to protect our life, so long as we didn’t force the situation. We also have a responsibility to protect those under our care i.e. our children, our spouse, etc.
An easy example would be in the case of a “home invasion” where an armed robber breaks into your home and tries to kill you or your kids.
It is a lose-lose situation, either you lose YOUR life, or the robber loses his life. Either way, someone is going to die.
You have a right to defend your life.
Therefore, it seems a Nation also, should have the same right to defend itself and its citizens, if attacked, unprovoked and there is no hope of ending it peacefully…right?
From this basis the “Just War” doctrine was developed.
2309 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It says:
The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
there must be serious prospects of success;
the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.
These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.
The Basics are:
War can never be started, but a Nation can mount a defense in order to protect its citizens.
All diplomatic solutions must have failed or been exhausted.
The Outcome must have at least a reasonable chance of success, so that the defense is not a futile slaughter
The Weapons used should not have a lasting effect on the land or render it uninhabitable
All attempts to avoid innocent deaths of non-combatants should be avoided at all costs.
Prisoners, soldiers and non-combatants should be treated humanely and fair. All moral obligations and human rights are still in place and should be adhered to.
Genocide is not condoned
The Nation has a right to conscript or draft members for legitimate defense, but provisions should be made for those who object on moral or religious grounds. These individuals, though, should find other ways to assist in the defense of the nation thru public service.
Those are the basics of waging a "just war"
Basically you can’t start it… it must be forced upon you and you must do everything in your power to avoid it.
The larger question is whether or not another nation has any right to come to the aid of another country OR to end human rights violations in another country.
Example: Iraq, did the US have any right to stop Sadam Hussein’s human rights violations? What about Somalia?
How far does the US, as a World’s Super Power, take its role as “protector” to defend other nations we feel are our duty to protect? Do we have to be asked by the citizens to step in? If so, how many citizens? the majority? the minority being oppressed?
It is easy to apply the Just War Doctrine to your own borders…but things get murkier when you apply it to the international community.
War has been around a long time. God has used military conflict to execute judgment against nations, such as when Israel entered the land of Canaan. God used the Assyrians to execute judgment against Israel, then punished Assyria because it went beyond what was just. We have wars primarily because Adam was tricked and sin has entered into the world. When John the Baptist was doing his thing on the Jordan river, soldiers came and asked what they should do. He never advised them to quite the military. A nation does have a right to defend itself, but the best defense is to place our trust in God (look what He did for Noah. Abraham, Jacob, David, Jehosaphat, and many others). We can declare a war to be just, and even gain support from the global community for such a war (such as the first Gulf War, which freed Kuwait from Iraq). Does that make it right with God? We don’t know. In such a case, it is best to not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the goal and be very watchful of your attitude (read 2 Kings 6:13-23).
With respect to spiritual warfare…we are to war.
2 Corinthians 10
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds
Christ is on the battlefields with the Faithful.
Oracle on Egypt: See, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud on his way to Egypt; The idols of Egypt tremble before him, the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them. (Isa 19:1)
so shall the king of Assyria lead away captives from Egypt, and exiles from Ethiopia, young and old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered (the shame of Egypt). (Isa 20:4)
But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I order you to tell us under oath before the living God whether you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “You have said so. But I tell you: From now on you will see ‘the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power’ and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven.’” (Mat 26:63-64)
“For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side,and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:44)