Question: What is the Christian attitude towards violent conflicts?
Answer: In the Beatitudes, Jesus teaches us “Blessed are the peacemakers” and to “love your enemies.” All human beings are made in God’s image and likeness. We are one human family — brothers and sisters despite what divides us. Christians have the obligation to prioritize peaceful means to resolve conflicts. War wreaks a toll on a nation. Civilians bear a disproportionate burden of this cost during the war itself and as the nation rebuilds. However, those in authority have the obligation to protect the innocent.
During the gradual fall of the Roman Empire, theologians began to theorize that war could be just if it was a defensive measure of last resort. The “Just War Theory” was later expanded by St. Thomas Aquinas, who also included moral obligations during the war itself, including the protection of civilians. Those in public authority have the obligation to carefully examine their motives, agendas, and rationale for violent force. Should a cause be just, those who fight and defend under such circumstances must be valued and honored. They deserve our support both during and after the war.
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