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The Justifications for War and Peace in World Religions. Part I: Extracts, Summaries and Comparisons of Scriptures in the Abrahamic Religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism)

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One of the most important decisions by any nation or armed group is when, if ever, to wage war or engage with armed force. Such life-and-death judgements are usually informed by and sometimes determined by ethical principles and religious beliefs. The world religions provide guidelines on when armed force is justified. Are the permissions and prohibitions similar among religions The present work seeks to map out the spectrum of religious approaches to armed force, as expressed in the scriptures of the worlds largest religions. Through the interpretations of religious scriptures vary considerably, the texts themselves provide a sense of each religions approach to the issue. Expressing values from absolute pacifism, where armed force is not permissible under any circumstances, to strong militancy, where armed force is readily adopted, this research compiles, compares and contrasts scriptural passages. Along with the associated DRDC report, it presents a tour dhorizon of the basic scriptures of seven world religions. The present report, constituting Part I of the work, analyses three Abrahamic religions Christianity, Islam and Judaism and the companion report, Part II, covers religions of Indic origin Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. The chosen scriptures from each religion are briefly introduced and the relevant verses are extracted, categorized and summarized. This makes possible, in each religion, the juxtaposition of passages justifying the use of force with passages that suggest the opposite. More broadly, in Part II, a comparison of approaches is presented in both a descriptive and a schematic fashion to illustrate the differences between the scriptures within each religion and the differences between the religions. This variance is illustrated in Part II by locating religious scriptures along the spectrum of force.

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  • Humanities and History

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