War and Murder

Recently, I was listening to a lecture by Duke professor Stanley Hauerwas about a call for Christians to abolish war. It was a very nuanced lecture which was only part 1 of a series (and yet, still lasted over 90 minutes). I wish I could find it for you but up to this point, I have not been able to locate it. But in it, Hauerwas poses a questions about the distinction between war and murder. Wars kill people each and every day, so what is that separates it from murder? By the way that we use the words, murder is unjustified or unjust killing whereas war is justified killing. Thus, there is only one type of war – just war. If it is not just war, then it either becomes terrorism or just outright murder. And this is where the struggle of a “just” war begins. Who determines what is just and unjust? Is it the country who wants to go to war with another? Or do the other countries from around the world get to determine what is or is not worthy of going to war over? We find it easy to speak about a noble cause such as just war, but in reality, if it were not just war, we would want those who partake in war to be thrown in prison for murder. So, can just war ever take place in a world full of broken, sinful, self-seeking, people? Hmmm . . . .

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2 Responses to War and Murder

  1. John Rasmussen says:

    I was wondering if this is the text you were referring to:


  2. firescloudsandwanderings says:


    Thanks for the link. This was the group paper that written in part by Hauerwas and is their manifesto. I found the lectures that Hauerwas gave that expounded upon this paper. You can download them for free on iTunes. They are entitled, Call for the Abolition of War, and there are two parts. At this point, I have only listened to Part I.

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