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Philosophia Christi

Volume 18, Issue 1, 2016

Ethics: Just War as Deterrence Against Terrorism?

Paul Copan
Pages 99-107

Just War as Deterrence against Terrorism?
Options from Theological Ethics

The increased terrorist threat troubles all right-thinking persons. Terrorism also raises particular theological and ethical questions for Christians. Is the use of (lethal) force ever permissible? Is there a difference between the individual Christian’s response to personal enemies and the Christian serving in an official capacity (for example, soldiering, policing) to stop (terrorist) threats to a nation or society? Jesus’s commands to “turn the other cheek” and “not resist evil” are understood differently by the just warrior and pacifist camps. This article sets the stage for related articles in this issue by describing the features of “terrorism,” Christian “pacifism,” and the Christian “just war” position as well as some of the attendant tensions and challenges.

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