Religious Ethics, Christianity, and War

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Syse, Henrik (2009) Religious Ethics, Christianity, and War, Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics -- Etikk I Praksis 3(1): 49–58.

This article discusses elements within Christian ethics and anthropology that have ramifications for the ethics and laws of war. The author argues that several distinctively Christian conceptions of morality and of human beings contribute importantly to the idea of just war, namely the Christian (and more specifically Augustinian) view of history, the Christian view of killing, and the Christian view of sin and grace. While other religious and philosophical traditions also offer significant contributions to a normative discussion about armed force, it remains a fact that Christian thought, historically speaking, has furnished much of the groundwork of what we today know as the ethics and laws of war, and that the experience of being a Christian in the world has important ramifications for thinking about war and the use of armed force.


Henrik Syse

Henrik Syse

Research Professor. Editor, Journal of Military Ethics