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War and the Christian Conscience: Where Do You Stand? [Paperback]

By Joseph J. Fahey (Author)
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Item description for War and the Christian Conscience: Where Do You Stand? by Joseph J. Fahey...

This primer on war and the Christian conscience, begins in an imaginary college classroom as students react to news that the draft has been reinstated. Why can't I finish college? asks one student. Why do I have to go? These urgent and personal questions, offer the entry to a clear and comprehensive outline of the basic Christian responses to the problem of war. As Fahey shows, the Christian tradition has supplied a variety of answers, including pacifism, just war teaching, the ethic of total war, and the vision of a world community. In the face of these different approaches, how are we to decide which one is right? And more basically, how does one go about forming one's personal conscience?

Citations And Professional Reviews
War and the Christian Conscience: Where Do You Stand? by Joseph J. Fahey has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Choice - 02/01/2006 page 1028

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Orbis Books
Pages   205
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.18" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.49"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 30, 2005
Publisher   Orbis Books
ISBN  1570755833  
ISBN13  9781570755835  

Availability  0 units.

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1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Religious Studies > Christianity
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy

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Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about War and the Christian Conscience: Where Do You Stand??

Comprehensive  Aug 26, 2007
In the beginning, the book started off written in a conversational mode... you follow this college girl faced with an impending draft, and the questions she asks and those brought up by the professor and students in her class on the subject.

I had the impression that the whole book would follow this method, which is not all that bad (see "Why Don't We Go To War" by Susan Landis), but after the intro and chapter one it dealves off into a comprehensive explanation on just-unjust war terminology/history. The final chapters review the peace movement by various spanish monks/priests that spoke out against slavery and American conquest: This seems to be the only part of the book that is not fluid with everything else, it's great to know, and does belong in the "Total War" section as he rightly placed it, but unlike the masterful transition he maintains throughout the book this topic seems a bit more abrupt.

The conclusion is a very good recap with up to date peace roles in the world currently facing the threat of terrorism.

His discussion on peace and war movements in the Middle Ages come a close second to that of Ronald Musto's "The Catholic Peace Tradition". The section is very readable and enlightening and pretty much makes the book. A very good explanation of Just War, Holy War and Total War entwines successfully with this part. The Total War section is so eerily familiar with today's "War on Terror", and the pitfalls are made clear in a historical, rational and Biblical sense (what a great combo eh?).

Let's say you are interested in studies on nonviolence or biblical pacifism, this book would probably not make a good primer, for that I suggest various readings from Bainton, Wink or McSorley... instead here you will find greater depth on the subject without getting in too much detail. It's a nice size being under 200 pages, with enough info for writing any report or making good conversation with others.
Not a good defense of the pacifist paradigm  Jun 29, 2006
Overall this book does a good job at examining different ways of looking
at armed conflict within the context of Christianity and the general
human condition. The method the author uses to describe varying points
of view is useful, thought provoking and provides some insights that
perhaps would be new to most readers.
However, the author's biases are very apparent in the construction and
content of the book. As an example, when the author talks about the
biblical support for Just War Theory, he shows both pro and con sides of
the applicable Biblical interpretations. However, when addressing the
Pacifist model he does not give the same care.
In short, this book is a call to the pacifist model of conflict
However, it does not adequately defend the pacifist paradigm. In order
to make a solid argument, the book should have addressed the key topic
of pacifism's difficulty in providing tangible results in relieving the
affliction of others. (Rare example - ending Apartheid in South
This topic is especially relevant today when looking at the situation in
Easy to Understand and Follow  Apr 11, 2006
This book is easy to understand and will make you second guess whether or not War is always the answer. As a student this book helped make reading easy and allowed me to understand some of the deeper and more involved concepts. You won't find yourself bored or struggling to get through the pages. The book flows so well from one chapter to another. As a student I must say this isn't my particular field of interest, yet I had to read the entire book and I am glad I did. This book opened my eyes to war and the Christian Conscience. I believe this book can make even the most pro-war advocates consider other options and methods to solve disputes. Dr. Fahey is brilliant. Just as a side note, his personal demeanor is as gentle and kind as the underlying message behind his book.
Great Book for Anyone Who Cares about War and Peace  Feb 23, 2006
I now understand why the question of war and the Christian conscience has been and is such a struggle. Even though I converted from hawk to dove during the Vietnam War, I never knew all the history and implications of the church's varied positions on this issue.

I'm now using this book as a resource at workshops I conduct about my own book, "Patriotism, Peace and Vietnam: A Memoir."

Thank you, Dr. Fahey, for an important, informative, yet easy book to read and digest!

Finest Resource on War and Conscience  Feb 19, 2006
Joseph Fahey has written perhaps the most useful resource for students, teachers and parents as they grapple with the demands of Christian conscience on matters of war, peace and military service in the 21st century.

Far from being a dry, scholarly study of historical approaches to Christian conscience and war, Fahey presents an imaginary "case study," with the U.S. president calling for a resumption of mandatory conscription (the draft), with no exemptions: women as well as men will be called up for duty, as will all college students when they turn 19 years old.

One student, "Nicole," serves as the central character facing the questions that are raised as she contemplates, for the first time in her life, possible service in the armed forces. An initial discussion in the classroom leads to several perspectives upon which to base one's moral consideration of military service: Culture; Duty; Egoism; Gender; Religion; Science; and Utilitarianism. This leads to an exploration of how these perspectives contribute to the formation of conscience. The class then -- throughout the remainder of the book -- examines four approaches to war that have developed over the centuries as Christians considered what to do: Pacifism or Nonviolence; Just or Limited War; Total or Holy War; World Community or Global Citizenship.

Fahey does a masterful job of exploring the rich traditions of pacifism and just/unjust war, along with the less-discussed "tradition" of holy war or Crusade. His consideration of the new category, World Community, is particularly relevant in our interconnected, globalized world --a world increasingly familiar to young people.

Each chapter reviews biblical, historical, philosophical and actual practice of each tradition, with a neat summary of major points of the chapter at the end, followed by an "assignment" to write a letter to "Nicole" in an ongoing "conversation" with her about what is being learned. Each chapter ends with a set of recommended readings for further research. The book will enable young people (or not-so-young people) to decide "where do you stand?" regarding war in this new century.

Perhaps the only thing lacking in the book is an easily accessible list of websites of organizations that could provide up-to-date information on the draft and conscientious objection. With the knowledge and familiarity of today's youth with search engines on the Internet, however, this should not prove to be much of a stumbling block!

Finally, although the content of the book is perhaps most useful for young Catholics, all Christians and people of other religious traditions will also find this publication helpful in wrestling with the common issues of conscience and war.

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