Beliefs of war and peace in different traditions

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Various religions, cultures, and traditions have different beliefs and teachings on war and peace. Therefore, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islamic faiths emphasize on the need for separate conducts in the situations of conflict and as hostile nations seek to achieve peace. Fighting tends to benefit leaders of various countries as they obtain their intended wealth and status quo in the cases when their nations emerge winners. However, war breeds hatred and insecurity among people and the need for the establishment of peace arises. Thus, the teachings on embracing peace during the times of war and ensuring reconciliations are crucial in the world to ensure that individuals live in harmony with one another. The paper will outline the different facts based on religious affiliations of individuals and what they describe in cases of war as well as the steps to take to ensure that there exists peaceful coexistence with one another.

War and Peace in Hinduism

Hinduism is a religious affiliation for most communities that exist in India and is regarded as a creed that embraces peace and recognizes the need for war for religious purposes against enemies of the beliefs (Rampton 442). Hinduism highlights the need for warriors to die during wars rather than submit to their opponents and giving up. Moreover, the notion that when one dies during battle, they ascend to heaven is popular among Indians and it is one of the factors that Hindus adhere to while at confrontations. Some circumstances exist during which war is justified by the Hindus, and one such situation is when a war is waged to protect the innocent and weak people that include their women and children. It is excellent belief and teaching the warriors should fight harder even when the wars are challenging to maintain their class and achieve their aims of offering protection to the poor and less privileged in the society (Frowe 52). Ahimsa is a doctrine in Hinduism that contains all the relevant teachings that condemn violence as the Kshatriyas includes the events during which war is allowed. Moreover, Hinduism provides for war and the use of force in the cases when individuals seek self-defense from enemies and other people that endanger their lives. For instance, the Hindu religious book states the need for stronger and quality weapons and power to overcome the enemies and prayer for great armies that suffer no defeat during wars.

Additionally, the Rig Veda states the various conducts that Hindus should adhere to if they are in warring situations with their enemies. First, individuals are encouraged to use poison-free arrows for their battles because the primary aim of fighting is defense and not to kill their opponents. Additionally, warriors are advised not to launch attacks on the sick, old, and even children and women of their rivals during battles because of the belief that such are innocent people. Further, Hinduism prohibits any attacks launched from behind to their enemies as such could increase death tolls and in some cases lead to initiating assaults on innocent people who may have had no intentions of fighting and creating any hostilities.

Additionally, Arjuna is a belief that outlines instances when killing people is exceptional and allowed because the souls of such human beings survive the ordeals. Moreover, this teaching emphasizes that people were born warriors and should never leave their calling because of mercy on their opponents and that there should exist no regrets upon the deaths of contenders including the loved ones of the warriors. Further, Ahimsa justifies killing in cases when individuals have no selfish motives behind the actions. Moreover, a murder that has no angered feelings attached to it is legal according to the religion, which emphasizes avoiding harm to people in physical, mental, and emotional forms. Further, Karma is one of the beliefs that champion opposition to the killing of opponents and promote the need for the use of non-violent approaches to solving any possible misunderstandings between people and nations. Despite the emphasis on the need for war and killing in self-defense, the Rig Veda embraces the need for peaceful coexistence among its people. Therefore, Hindus believe that God is indifferent about the happenings in the world, but strikes back when evil rises and wage war against those who oppress his people. Thus, there originates the justification of killing of enemies in events of self-defense as well as whenever they tend to suppress individuals.

War and Peace in Buddhism

Further, Buddhism is one of the most peaceful religions in the world because it emphasis on the coexistence of individuals in harmony with each other. This religious affiliation emphasizes the need for adherence of Ahimsa, which is teaching against causing any harm to people. Moreover, Buddhism states the effects of violence to both the perpetrators and the victims as the causation of emotional and in some instances, physical damage (Soeung, Bunly, and SungYong Lee 156). The history of the Buddha community traces back to cases where their leader initiated the end of a looming war by nations over water supply. Furthermore, people who underwent conversion to Buddha were remorseful of the deaths that they might have caused to other people. Thus, the five pillars of the Buddhist community emphasize the need of avoidance of any forms of killings and harm to any living organisms besides human beings. This religion stresses the need for compassion and abandonment of the desires and will to fight in the times of war. Buddha’s teachings highlight love for the enemies even when they treat individuals of the faith with utmost cruelty.

Unlike the Hindus, Buddhists teachings do not allow for the killing of any kinds even in the cases of self-defense and in the face of death. Therefore, the principles of non-violence are crucial in Buddhism and pose challenges on the right approaches to safeguarding the right to lives of its people without killing when the need arises (Queen 251). Martial arts are part of what Buddhism embraces, but there are restrictions on the use of violence in the actions. Thus, Buddha is advised to avoid the position of aggressors and ensure the use of minimal force in the events that they have to defend themselves. Hence, Buddhism provides to emphasize insignificant acts of violence and responsible attitudes in handling conflicts. However, the law advises that monks should use the minimum amounts of forces to resist the provocations that their opponents offer that may initiate wars and killings of innocent people.

War and Peace in Judaism

Judaism is another religion, which bases its beliefs on the supreme peaceful coexistence of its people. This religion bases its opinions on ensuring truth, justice, and peaceful cohabitation among its members and their enemies. The Torah is the book that Judaism believers use to gain their ultimate guiding principles (Weissman 84). Further, it is believed that the purpose of writing and publication of the Torah is the emphasis on peace and justice and truth. Furthermore, God announced that the people of Judah would only receive salvation through ensuring that peace reigned among them and their contenders. The prophets, who are the ultimate guides in the religion, emphasized the need for unity among opponents and that the nations shall not fight each other.

Additionally, the ethics of the founders of the religion make up the guiding principles of the faith and emphasis is on the need to love harmony and pursue peace (Bormann, Nils-Christian, Cederman, and Vogt 747). Additionally, it is believed that every other blessing in the Judaism religion is found by embracing peace and love for one another. Further, the reason for the creation of the earth and all that exists in it is the need for order. Additionally, a daily standing prayer exists that expresses the need for nineteen blessings among them the excellent welfare, grace, and eternal peace that will guide the existence of the people of Judah. Furthermore, in the declarations of staying independent by Israel nation, the people prayed that they might offer peace and good neighborliness in the absence of wars. Thus, the country of Israel ensured to promote cooperation and peaceful coexistence between its people and their enemies.

Moreover, in the prayer of their nation, Judaism followers ask God to bless them with His eternal peace in their various houses and lasting joy. Thus, the feeling of hatred, jealousy, and hostility towards their enemies is not an option because that would work to eliminate eternal peace among the people. The word Shalom is used to mean completeness, perfectionism, and the tranquility that reigns nations in the absence of war and hatred. Therefore, Judaism is one religion that believes in peace in its entirety and that truth and justice emerge from the presence of calmness and love among inhabitants of a nation.

War and Peace in Christianity

On the other hand, Christians believe that there are incidences that necessitate the need for just war. Therefore, most Christian countries do not justify war, but national leaders set lower standards that tend to explain different wars. However, it is evident that modern Christianity contains presumptions on conflicts and their justification. Therefore, the religion is partly against warring nations. However, in some interpretations, it is perceived that the hypothesis had a bias towards injustices that result from wars and does not promote conflict among people (Buc 32). Thus, Christianity aims to encourage a continent in which both justice, truth, and peace coexist and that sometimes wars are tools that bring the desired peaceful situations. Furthermore, some Christians believe that conflicts and fighting can create minor injustices than letting the enemies prevail among nations, which causes harm that is more extensive.

Therefore, is increasingly hard to classify Christians as pacifists because of the widespread belief that war may be justified in some instances. However, some Christians are peace activists as others tend to explain the conflicts in some cases. Additionally, the teachings of Jesus on the mountain concerning peace and the awards that harmony lovers will yield are among the motivations of the struggle to put to an end the warring countries (Gentry 169). In as much as Christians emphasize the need to emulate Christ’s life, some argue that the unique and perfect nature of Christ was because he had a role as a redeemer of humanity. However, a Christian can only follow Christ’s character by using the available means and methods to ensure justice prevails in the world even when it necessitates wars. However, Christian groups such as Mennonites stress the need for pacifism because the savior directed the need for loving their enemies. Additionally, the Quakers believe that the spirit of the Lord, which is their ultimate guide never leads and calls for wars and the killing of other human beings but harmony and peaceful coexistence.

Further, there exists a Christian view of the wars, which has experienced evolutions over time. Some of the leaders in history believed that restraining from the use of swords by nations meant condemnations to the total extinction of its people. Moreover, some Christians believe in the need for violence to spread the faith and in the conviction of the people that do not receive the message with acceptance. Therefore, Christians think that the holy wars are among the weapons that they use in their journey to defeating their enemies. Furthermore, some Christian doctrines insinuate that wars are not entirely wrong because they can lead to the restoration of peace and justice.

The teachings of love for enemies by Jesus associate with God’s compassion for human beings and the pacifism of Christians bases its beliefs on the scripture. Furthermore, Jesus emphasized that loving enemies is crucial in ensuring that Christians will see heaven and have eternal lives as God loves both the righteous and sinful. Moreover, imitation of God’s love to human beings is the emphasis of the Bible and the doctrines of Christianity (Reichberg 42). It is of the Christian belief that the commandment of love summarizes God’s expectations of his followers and as such, pacifists place emphasis on prioritizing the commandment of love in their lives. Additionally, the New Testament dwells on emphasizing God’s love for everyone as the authors of the Bible including Paul who stressed the love of God to humans that extended to him sacrificing his son. Therefore, love encompasses keeping away from activities and issues that can necessitate wars and acts of violence.

War and Peace in Islam

The Islamic religion faces prejudice as one that does not embrace peace, but encourages wars and killing of innocent people. The belief is because most terrorist groups tend to associate themselves with the Islamic religion as some of them justify their actions through the holy war as stated in the Quran (Sein 115). Therefore, Muslims depict a picture of a sword in one hand and the sacred book in the other hand, which shows their readiness to use force in ensuring that they can achieve their desires as they wish. However, the Quran accepts both Judaism and Christianity as religions whose origin is God through his prophets that he sent into the world to preach the gospel of love to other individuals (Esposito 1068). Thus, the Quran emphasizes that the prophets representing Jews and Christians signed treaties that guaranteed their followers the freedom of following their faith and worshipping God. However, leaders to gain political powers and rule over others have misused the wars by Muslims in the name of jihad.

Therefore, the Quran of the Muslims sanction wars under exceptional circumstances of oppression of the poor and persecution of innocent people (Khadduri 76). Therefore, if other people are peaceful and that they do not cause any harm to the Muslims, war is not permitted. Moreover, Muslims believe in the need for lax attitudes even in cases when the enemies provoke individuals. However, the Quran encourages wars that deliver people in the ways of Allah. Additionally, during such conflict, the innocent individuals who include women and children receive protection from men. In such circumstance, the Islam religion views wars and conflicts as an approach to ensuring eternal peace and offering security to the oppressed and less privileged. Therefore, the Quran spells out the importance of justice among people by authorities in guaranteeing harmony among people. Additionally, some people point out fighting to defend the Muslim religion, but it is crucial to note that the Quran does not present such views.

Overall, various religions and traditions have different beliefs regarding war and peace and the approaches to ensuring a peaceful society. Hinduism does allow fights for self-defense. Furthermore, the conflict that the Hindu religion allows is to safeguard each other’s faith. In cases when the need for wars arises, Hinduism advises the use of non-poisonous arrows to ensure that there are fewer deaths. On the other hand, Buddhism cherishes peace and does not encourage wars. Buddha emphasizes the love for enemies even when they are brutal to individuals. Notably, Christians’ approaches to war have shown the evolution from the real pacification to embracing wars in exceptional circumstances. However, the religion allows for conflicts in cases when they yield justice to the people in the society. Moreover, it is widespread belief that the Islam religion embraces Jihad as the holy war that justifies the killing of Christians and individuals that embrace Judaism. However, this is contrary to the teaching of the Quran that refers to life as sacred and holy, and those innocent children and women need protection from oppressors. Therefore, the emphasis of love for one another and maintenance of peace is significant among all religions.

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  1. Bormann, Nils-Christian, Lars-Erik Cederman, and Manuel Vogt. “Language, Religion, and Ethnic Civil War.” Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 61, no. 4, 2017, pp. 744-771.
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  3. Esposito, John L. “Islam and Political Violence.” Religions, vol. 6, no. 3, 2015, pp. 1067-1081.
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  5. Gentry, Caron E. “Religion: Peace Through Non-Violence in Four Religious Traditions.” The Palgrave Handbook of Disciplinary and Regional Approaches to Peace. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2016.
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  7. Queen, Christopher. “Teaching Engaged Buddhism in Uncertain Times.” Teaching Buddhism: New Insights on Understanding and Presenting the Traditions, 2016, pp. 248-251.
  8. Rampton, David, and Suthaharan Nadarajah. “A Long View of Liberal Peace and its Crisis.” European Journal of International Relations, vol. 23, no. 2, 2017, pp. 441-465.
  9. Reichberg, Gregory M. Thomas Aquinas on War and Peace. Cambridge University Press, 2016.
  10. Sein, Layla. “War and Peace in Islam.” Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies, vol. 1, no. 2, 2016, pp. 111-116.
  11. Soeung, Bunly, and SungYong Lee. “The Revitalization of Buddhist Peace Activism in Post-war Cambodia.” Conflict, Security & Development, vol. 17, no. 2, 2017, pp. 141-161.
  12. Weissman, Deborah. “Elements of Violence and Nonviolence in Judaism: A Contemporary Israeli Perspective.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies, vol. 52, no. 1, 2017, pp. 79-95.
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