Most violence is regarded as wrong and to be avoided if possible. It is generally accepted that wherever possible war should be replaced by negotiation and arbitration. It can be argued that some wars are justified. They should be fought within a set of rules known as the Geneva Convention, which was first drawn up at Geneva in 1864 and revised several times since. For example: prisoners of war should be humanely treated; civilians should not be attacked.
Certain weapons are not approved under the Geneva Convention. These include weapons of mass destruction (for example chemical and biological weapons). Recently Britain and some other countries have decided that landmines should be banned. However in the past these restraints heve frequently been disregarded. Often terror attacks have been made on civilian populations. In World War II whole cities were targeted with high explosives and in the case of Japan, with nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Some people refuse to take part in war. They are called pacifists. If they refuse to serve in the army during a time of war when when all eligible adults are required to serve, or if they are already in the army and refuse to carry out military orders because they believe them to be wrong (e.g. an order to attack unarmed civilians) they are called conscientious objectors.
There is a strong moral case that nuclear weapons
should not be made. The mining, transport, processing and testing
of nuclear material results in the contamination of the atmosphere
with radioactive particles. The radioactivity affects the living
and the unborn. Some radioactive elements persist for thousands
of years. The existence of nuclear weapons creates fear. A country
without such weapons can claim it needs them for its defence.
Countries spend large sums of money on these weapons which could
be used to better purpose. Secrecy and deceit increase. Their
use would destroy society leaving those who survived without food,
shelter or medical help. Future generations would be genetically
damaged and the land would be contaminated so as to make it uninhabitable.
"Wisdom is better than the weapons of war."
"They who live by the sword shall perish by the sword."
"Only with no hatred will hatred be appeased.
"To strive for justice, freedom and peace is the duty for each Muslim."
"And if they [your enemies] incline to peace, do so and put your trust in Allah. Even if they intend to deceive you, remember that Allah is sufficient for you."
"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds."
"We have genuflected before the god of science, only to find that it has given us the atomic bomb, producing fears and anxieties that science can never mitigate."
"My notion of democracy is that under it the weakest should have the same opportunity as the strongest. This can never happen except through non-violence."
"Jaw-jaw is better than war-war."
"Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind."
"It wasn't inhuman to drop the atom bomb if you believe in saving lives in the long run."
"Nuclear Arms, including the readiness to use them, are by their nature morally and theologically wrong."
"Nuclear weapons cannot be justified and deserve condemnation: grave consequences lie ahead if the world is ruled by the militarism of nuclear arms."
"Reject unilateral preemptive war as a means of resolving international conflict.
FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE VIEWS OF SPECIFIC RELIGIOUS GROUPS CAN BE OBTAINED FROM THE FOLLOWING SOURCES:
THE BAHA'I OFFICE OF PUBLIC INFORMATION
GENERAL DIRECTOR OF THE BAPTIST UNION
THE BUDDHIST SOCIETY
GENERAL SYNOD OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
GENERAL SYNOD OF THE SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH
IMAMS & MOSQUES COUNCIL
ISLAMIC COUNCIL OF SCOTLAND
JUSTICE & PEACE
MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN
RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS (QUAKERS)
SECRETARIAT OF THE BISHOPS' CONFERENCE OF SCOTLAND (ROMAN CATHOLIC)
WORLD SIKH FOUNDATION
GLASGOW JEWISH REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL
ARYA PRATINIDHI SABHA (UK) AND ARYA SAMAJ
|back to top|