The Just War Theory Essay

1793 words - 7 pages

The Just War Theory

The Just war theory is and interesting one simply because the phrase just war is an oxymoron. War is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations. Implicit in this definition of war is the result of death and since justice is right action towards other death is the most unjust of things. Thus war is unjust.
Although there is the case where one country goes to war with another because the other has unjust policy and warfare if the catalysis believed to change these policies.
Jesus Christ taught us to love our enemies and when they offended us to turn the other cheek. However that was what he preached to a small sect of Jews two thousand years ago. This teaching did not only work it worked well at the time because there was no way for a few hundred or even thousand early Christians to take on the whole Roman army, which persecuting the early Christians. However things soon changed drastically. Constantine the emperor of Roman had a religious conversion and made Christianity the official religion of the state. Which changed the nature of the religion. Christianity became main stream so to speak. Roman officials began to convert just because it might help them in the political career. The small Christian faith communities that had been in hiding for fear that they would be persecuted were able to come out and worship openly. In addition to all this the religion also became more scholarly. People became true historians and students of Christianity. The Church took on a government like hiearchtical structure. From all this change religious policies and disputes were no longer settle at just the local level by a few people getting together and figuring out what they though would be best. There was a system developed to resolve these problems. It involved consulting scholars on the subject and then coming to a conclusion in committee and writing an official policy on it. This policy setting process usually happened in Rome because that was the center of power and knowledge at the time. So most of the scholars of the time resided in there. Along with most of the Roman officials because it was also the capital city of the Roman Empire. This was convenient because after Constantine’s conversion there was nothing separating church and state. With church and state so closely connected it was impossible for the doctrine that all war, no matter what the reasons being, was bad to remain as it was. An empire can not be aposed to all war. War is unfortunately a necessary evil of government especially in that time period. Through this problem the theory of the just war arose. The Holy Roman Empire could not have other people attacking it and not be able to respond because of the official state religion prohibited it. From this imperial need for warfare the criteria for just ware came. However it is easy to see that they were...

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