Essay, Research Paper
The Christian Doctrine of Double Effect is founded on the assumption that there is a morally significant distinction between the events one intends to bring about and events one merely foresees will result from one’s actions. It is this idea that often contradicts Western-Christian society’s frequent participation in war. Christian, thus, adopted the idea of Just War that holds that action is justified to correct a wrongdoing. However, whether Christian’s maintain these ideas is disputed by Islamic nations who have witnessed their families and neighbors slaughtered in response to political threats.The Doctrine of Double Effect says that it is wrong intentionally to do a bad act for the sake of good consequences, but it is permissible to do a good act, foreseeing that bad consequences will ensue. It also requires that the action, itself, independent of effect, must not be morally evil; the evil effect must not be a means of producing the good effect; and the evil effect is sincerely not intended, but merely tolerated. Holding to this definition alone, it is difficult to justify the means of war. The slaughter of thousands to millions of lives to force a political action seems to supercede the benefits of such a reward stemming from the political action being adapted. The total life and teaching of Christ is one of love and commitment to God and fellowman. His commandment condemning violence is extremely explicit: “I say to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you.” (Mt. 5:39-45). The Catholic Church, however, realized that to deny the state the right to go to war was to condemn it to extinction, and thus established the idea of Just War. Christianity’s idea of Just War justifies killing in combat for the good of the whole society and for the defense of property and religion. Within the idea of Just War, St. Thomas Aquinas named four guidelines for the use of violence. These include: (1) the cause must be just; (2) violence must be used as a last resort; (3) the bad side effects of such a cause cannot supercede the good and just reason; and (4) remorse must be felt for the violence caused.Islam has a similar idea towards war called Holy War, or Jihad. Islamic texts preach that military victory should not lead to expansion or dominance as the case is with colonial regimes, nor should it lead to control over sources of wealth, or to arrogance in the land to raise a race above another. Victorious believers had better “establish regular prayers” to attain spiritual exaltation by worshipping God, and to purify their spirits. They most also “establish regular charity” and thus establish social justice by supporting the right of the needy to live a decent life. They “enjoin the right” by spreading benevolence and right among people, and “forbid the wrong” by fighting against evil and corruption and uprooting them from society.
The Islamic nation is commanded to establish justice on earth. This requires Moslems to stand in the face of injustice and oppression, wherever they may be, and eradicate their causes. They must not to take hold of the earth, enslave people, nor dominate their welfare, but establish the Word of God on earth, without doubtful intentions. In Islam, this is called the “strife in the cause of God.” The cause of God is the cause of justice. Every fight in the cause and support of freedom in religion is a fight in the cause of God. Every fight to drive away oppression and support the oppressed against the oppressor is a fight in the cause of God. Upon examining closely the Koranic passages in which God requests Moslems to fight, we find that war should be a means to drive away aggression and tyranny. God says: “To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight) because they are wronged; and verily God is Most Powerful for their aid.” (22:39)People of Islamic belief have often found fault with the Christian ideas and practice of Just War. They argue that Western-Christian society often dives into a war without reasonable cause and before all other options are exhausted. They hold that Western war is a political tool rather than a tool of last resort for correction of a serious wrongdoing. It is obvious that the concept of Just War and Holy War is almost identical in meaning, thus it should likely follow that if each party was to uphold these doctrines that war should be almost extinct among the two cultures. Obviously, this is not the case and Islam has sought to place the blame on the aggressor, the Western-Christian culture. Logic follows that the one who throws the first punch is most likely the first to break the rules.