If I were called to fight a war tomorrow, I would... (Sikhism - Religion, war and ethics)

Essay by nymphomaniacHigh School, 10th gradeA-, February 2004

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If I were called to fight a war tomorrow I would have to consider two main topics; specifically my religious beliefs and my responsibility as a British citizen. Initially, one of the widely appreciated versions of the Just War Theory is the Thomas Aquinas version. The five principles outlined by this great philosopher are as follows:

·There must be a just cause - e.g. land being seized or innocents being killed.

·There must be a right intention - e.g. the removal of evil, or to bring peace.

·The right authority - it cannot be started by an individual, it must have legal authority of the sate.

·There must be proportionality - the nation should only use enough force to achieve its aims and no more. Those regarded as combatants should be the prime targets of attack as opposed to civilians who offer no real help.

·It must be the last resort- all other means of settling a dispute must have been tried before considering war.

In contrast Sikhism, being both the religion I'm studying and my faith, has it's own version of a Just War Theory known as the 'Dharam Yudh'. This means 'war in the defence of righteousness', such a war must be:

·A last resort - all other means of resolving the conflict must have been attempted.

·The motive must not be revenge or enmity.

·The army must not include mercenaries.

·The army must be disciplined - e.g. wounded soldiers must not be harmed further, no rape masses, no burning down whole populations etc.

·Only the minimum force needed for success should be used.

·Civilians must not be harmed

·There must be no looting, territory must not be annexed, and property taken must be returned.

Sikhs also believe that treaties and cease-fires must be honored, Places of worship...