RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
Lat Blaylock, Editor, RE Today
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Christian Responses to Non-religious Views of Conflict
Is conflict acceptable?
Non-religious Attitudes to Conflict
People who don't follow a religion, such as humanists and atheists, have their own viewpoints on conflict. Their views are similar to Christians; they don't agree with it. However, their reasons for these views are different from Christians because they don't believe in God.
Humanists and atheists would agree that life is valuable, to be lived to the fullest. But this is not because they believe God created it. They don't believe in life after death, so they feel that life is to be valued because the only life someone has is the one they enjoy on earth. This leads them to think that great care should be taken with human life.
Most Humanists believe that violence only causes damage to and loss of life therefore is best avoided; war should only be used as a last resort. The only reason a war might be viewed as 'just' is if it is in self-defence, or in protecting others, for example, defending a weaker nation.
Both humanists and atheists are against any conflict that is caused by religion. Atheists blame much of the world's conflict on religion.
Christians would support these non-religious views on conflict, however, their reasons are different. As they believe in God, their reasons are grounded in teachings from the Bible.
- They believe that life is sacred, and has value because God created it; therefore, nobody should take someone's life.
- God created humans in his image, therefore, we should respect his work by cherishing it, not destroying it.
- Christians place great emphasis on the importance of peace. They follow the teachings and example of Jesus, who they view as a peacemaker.
- However, many Christians will accept conflict as a last resort, providing all other peaceful methods have been explored, such as negotiating, discussions, and sanctions.
- They do not accept war or violence that is caused by religious differences, or by those trying to impose their religious beliefs on others.