The Just War Theory

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Just War Theory Just war theory is not exclusively a Christian idea, rather it is rooted in classical Greco-Roman thought. The phrase “just war” can be traced back to Aristotle (384-322 BCE), but it was the Roman statesman Cicero (106-43 BCE) who proliferated and debated the idea of just war. Christianity did not begin to embrace the idea of just war until Ambrose (340-397 CE) and his disciples Augustine (354-430 CE) began to suggest that some wars may be justifiable. Ironically, both Ambrose and Augustine stood in agreement with the earlier Church in their belief that Jesus taught non-violence and that Christians were prohibited from killing, even in self-defense. Ambrose wrote, “I do not think that a Christian ought to save his own life …show more content…
And thus, just war theory made its way into the church.” The development of just war thought continued in Christian circles and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 CE) helped define the principles of just war theory that are still used today. It is important to note that just war theory continued to be discussed, not only in Christian circles, by also among secular scholars and today the Christian roots of just war theory are overlooked in what is considered as a secular …show more content…
While Christians should have some reservations with each just war principle, there are some specific issues that need to be addressed. Foremost, there is no such thing as a just war. In war there is always unintended consequences and criminal acts perpetrated by all sides. Additionally, how does one recognize the authority of one party as being more legitimate than another? This entangles the ethics of the Church with those of the State instead of those of the Kingdom of God. Finally, the application of these principles must be done subjectively from the point of view of self-preservation. Therefore, just war theory loses objectivity and by extension credibility as a means of proclaiming true justice. Just war theory is not the only traditional response to violence or war, nor was it the first. Looking further back, as has already been indicated, the early Church embraced a radical

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