UPDATE: For a great introduction into the Just War tradition, particularly in relationship to American foreign policy, check out this lecture by Jean Bethke Elshtain. Dr. Elshtain is a professor of social and political ethics at the University of Chicago. Also be sure to check out an interesting post on the ThinkTank regarding Justin Martyr's take on the relationship of church and state.
Lately I've been reading a book by J. Daryl Charles (a Union University ethics prof.) called Between Pacifism and Jihad.
It's something of a primer on just War theory, and as such critically interacts with the recent neo-traditionalist and pacifistic trajectories of Yoder and Hauerwas. Though it has its fair share of mischaracterization, and in my estimation doesn't reallly do justice to the heart of Yoder's theological critique, its been rather informative as to the development of America's consensus on the ethics of war and violence. It also highlights how Just War advocates are driven by precisely the issues raised by the weaknesses of the books mentioned in my previous post. But just as Hauerwas and Camp raise some unanswered (or insufficiently answered) questions, Charles raises a few of his own. I thought I'd post some of them for your comment and interaction:
- Does Augustine’s concept of “two cities” accommodate the apocalyptic aspects of the Gospel? In other words, how does someone with a "dual citizenship" emphasis preach the kingdom of God as a real alternative to the kingdoms of this world?
- If pacifism marginalizes civic responsibility, does just war theory inadvertently marginalize the Gospel as only dealing with “otherworldly” concerns?
- How can one be faithful to the exclusivity of the Gospel and at the same time admit a basis for justice and peace not rooted in the Gospel (but are instead “rooted in moral realities” that are not “narrowly Christian” pg. 60)? In other words, does Just War Theory cleave faith from reason in Enlightenment fashion?
- Is just war theory naïve in assuming that modern acts of war are in fact an execution of justice aimed at restraining evil? In other words, when governments resort to war in their pursuit of agendas outside of God’s moral will, with no redemptive trajectory in sight, can that war be called “just”?
- Is it naïve to assume (as just war theory does) that one can pursue public policy (including war) for the best good of all apart from religous or ideological motives? If so, the question becomes: which religious or ideological motives should be driving these decisions?
- When can pursuing national interest and international competition be called sin, and when should it be considered a necessary good (as appropriate boundaries of stewardship given by God)?
- By what authority is a state recognized as legitimate so that it may fulfill the duties assigned to it in Ro. 13 (including "bearing the sword")?
I don't even have a provisional answer to any of these questions, so be a pal and PLEASE COMMENT!!!