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Can Force be Used Justly? Questions of Retributive and Restorative Justice.

Johnson, James Turner
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) The 2001 Kuyper Lecture. Gordon College, Wenham, MA. November 1. Downloaded 5 May 2001.

James Johnson begins with questions about the use of force: is it ever moral to kill another human being, and is it moral to use force to punish or coerce another person? There are different strands of response in the Christian tradition. Some argue that killing is never moral, and many also express strong reservations about the use of force for punishment or coercion. Others argue for the moral use of force, up to and including deadly force. This is often called the just war perspective, though its fundamental ideas pertain to more than the use of force in war alone. In this paper Johnson examines the moral elements of the origin and coalescence of the just war idea. Then he extends his discussion of the moral use of force into the areas of anti-terrorist intervention and the application of the death penalty.


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