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 God of a religion is perceived to ask, or command, its followers to make war on those who do not believe i...
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