Unit 4 War and Destruction Lesson Aim

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War and Destruction

Lesson Aim:

  • Explore the issue as to why so many Christians take part in war.

  • Understand the ‘Constantinian Shift’.

  • Evaluate the difference between the ‘Just-War Theory’ and Jesus’ teachings.

The Christianity we know today and throughout history gradually moved away from Jesus’ teaching of nonviolent love due to the acceptance of 3 great temptations: Power-Wealth-Status.

Critical Awareness Task:

  • A PPP showing how Early Christianity responded to the challenges of Jesus’ Way of nonviolent love of friends and enemies is an excellent way to enable students to contrast the spirit of martyrdom of the Early Christians to the Constantine Christianity that resulted when the Roman Emperor converted in 315 AD. (resource disk: “Constantinian Shift”)

  • Students will be able see the shift in Christianity from non-violence to an embrace of the violence of State power and how the Just-war Theory first composed by St. Ambrose and developed by St. Augustine was used to distort Jesus’ absolute rejection of the power of dominative violence for living in the Kingdom of God.

Gospel story: Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

   “‘He will command his angels concerning you
   and they will lift you up in their hands, 
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.  “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’.

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Life narrative:

Show Bill Maher’s You-Tube on Christianity(resource disk) and then discuss:

  • How can a Christian learn to kill an enemy?

  • List the wars that Christians have been involved in over history?


Song and Video: “Who would Jesus bomb? (resource disk)

Other Resource: DVD The Spiritual Journey of Christian NonViolent Resistance
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