General Article World religions: war and peace

Topic Selected: War and Conflict
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Many wars have been fought with religion as their stated cause, and with peace as their hoped-for end.

What follows is a very brief summary of what the world’s major religions say about war – and peace. Of course, religious beliefs are often complicated; individuals and groups within each religion have different views and religious affiliation is often closely associated with partisan emotions.

A summary can only give a very limited picture. But it can open a door to understanding the links between religion and war.

 

War: wrong, just or holy?

Put simply, there are three possible views of war that a religion might adopt.

The pacifist view: all violence and killing is wrong.

Belief in a ‘Just War’: some wars, at least, are right because they are perceived to be in the interests of justice – and should therefore be fought according to just rules.

Belief in ‘Holy War’: the G

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