Christianity and violence

Christians have held diverse views towards violence and non-violence through time. Currently and historically there have been four views and practices within Christianity toward violence and war: non-resistance, Christian pacifism, just war, and preventive war (Holy war, e.g., the Crusades).[1] The early church in the Roman empire adopted a nonviolent stance when it came to war since imitating Jesus's sacrificial life was preferable.[2] The concept of "just war", whereby limited uses of war were considered acceptable originated with earlier non-Christian Roman and Greek thinkers such as Cicero and Plato.[3][4] This theory was adapted later by Christian thinkers such as St Augustine, who like other Christians, borrowed much of the justification from Roman writers like Cicero and Roman Law.[5][6][7] Even though "Just War" concept was widely accepted early on, warfare was not regarded as a virtuous activity and expressing concern for the salvation of those who killed enemies in battle, regardless of the cause for which they fought, was common.[8] Concepts such as "Holy war", whereby fighting itself might be considered a penitential and spiritually meritorious act, did not emerge before the 11th century.[8][9]

A battle scene from the First Crusade. The Crusades were a series of military campaigns fought mainly between European Christians and Muslims.

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