Christianity, war and peace: index of articles by Nick Megoran


- Responding to war and the refugee crisis Baptist Times 2/10/2015.
In July I attended the Baptist World Alliance's Congress in Durban, as a member of the new Commission on Peace and Reconciliation. I wanted to know: how are Baptist churches responding to the multiple challenges facing the world of war, violent persecution, and the refugee/migrant crisis? This article is a summary of key discussions, reports and highlights.


- 'Remember the Christmas 1914 truces: a brief moment of sanity amidst industrialised slaughter' No Glory in War 16/12/2014.
As classic anti-war dance anthem All Together Now is re-released, this article looks at the cultural and commerical phenomenon of marking the December 1914 Christmas Truces. Based on interviews with political activists, academics, musicians and church leaders, it asks why commemorating the 1914 Christmas truces is so important - and how it should be done.

- (with Andii Bowsher) 'The day the war stood still', Church Times 19/26 December 2014, Vol no7918/19: pp. 28-9.
Article about how the December Christmas Truces began, what happened, and how they ended.

- (with Andii Bowsher) 'How should churches mark the First World War?' Baptist Times 14/10/2014.
Commemoration is always political: it tells a story about whose lives and deaths are worth grieving. As the UK begins four years of World War 1 commemoration, it is crucial churches don't sleepwalk into commemoration. The role of churches is not to tell the nation's story to the church, but the church's story to the nation.

- 'Stranger danger or angel stranger?' An article for Baptist Times, February 2014.
Horrifying stories about child abusers are never far from the news. The concern that strangers will abduct or otherwise abuse vulnerable children is one of the distinguishing fears of modern life.Yet in the Bible, the way that we treat strangers is often held up as a distinguishing mark of true faith: indeed, by welcoming strangers, the book of Hebrews (13:2) insists, 'some have entertained angels unawares.' stranger danger or angel stranger? How do we, as parents and church, balance this tension?

- 'Radical politics and the Apocalypse: activist readings of Revelation,' Area, 2012.
People are well aware of how some readings of apocalyptic scripture have informed militaristic and right-wing geopolitical visions. But these interpretations are far from representative of the only or even the mainstream tradition in two millennia of Christian history. Using the examples of Dan Berrigan,William Stringfellow and Allan Boesak, this article shows how justice and peace activists have read the Book of Revelation as a radical anti-imperial text and found in it a source of resilience for non-violent resistance in the face of apparently overwhelming odds.

- Does religion cause war?, Published on the website of the Council of Faith and International Affairs, November 2008.
One of the greatest intellectual challenges to religion is its implication in warfare over time. This article begins with Richard Dawkins' important charge to this effect in his 2006 book The God Delusion. This article argues that Christianity has done much to suppress the martial spirit in history, that religion is rarely the primary cause of war, and that atheism itself both empirically and conceptually is more given to violence than Christianity. It accepts that in many cases Christianity has been invoked to flame warluke lusts and justify violence, but argues that this is a distortion of authentic faith and that this sorry situation should provoke us to seek to practice it properly and critically analyse its deformations. It concludes with some examples from recent history about the peacemaking impact of authentic Christianity.

'Militarism, realism, just war, or nonviolence? Critical geopolitics and the problem of normativity.' Geopolitics. 13 (3):473-497.
This is an academic article on military ethics, recent US wars, and an element of geographical theory known as 'critical geopolitics'. The article discusses Catholic just war theory, and concludes with a statement of my own position of Christian nonviolence.

The War on Terror: How Should Christians Respond?
This is Nick Megoran's first book, published by Inter-Varsity Press. Through a series of reflections on scripture and political analyses, it ask 'what is the war on terror?' and 'how should Christians e sesne of and respond to it?'. It grounds its analysis in orthodox Christian theological understandings of creation, sin and redemption, demonstrating the relevance of the historical Christian message for our times. It challenges Christians to take the teachings of Jesus as they relate to war and peace seriously, rather that subordinate our understanding of how the world works and what it is sensible to do to common-sense political analysis and loyalties to nations and states. The 'war on terror' presents challenges to Christians in Britain, America, Palestine and Iraq, but also unique opportunities.

'God on our side? The Church of England and the geopolitics of mourning 9/11
Political geographers have been surprisingly slow to engage with the importance of religion in contemporary international relations. Informed by theories of critical geopolitics, this paper addresses this failure by considering the Church of England's immediate response to the Al-Qaeda attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001. Focusing on a national service of remembrance held at St. Paul's Cathedral on September 14, it argues that the service was both an expression of grief at a shocking tragedy, and a (geo)political commentary. Occurring at a crucial moment of public debate about how to understand and respond to '9/11', the service scripted a geopolitical text that resonated with voices that were advocating a military response. The article undertakes a discursive reading of the service and its coverage by journalists, and uses interviews with key organisers to analyse its production. It concludes that although the organisers of the service strove to create what they considered to be an apolitical event, the service became part of a process of geopolitical scripting that made the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq more likely, and alternative peaceful responses to the crisis of 9/11 less likely. It calls on the Church of England to reconsider this aspect of its engagement with international affairs, by listening to non-Western Anglican perspectives, and political geographers to interrogate more systematically the intersections of religion and the 'war on terror'.

Mourning 9/11, politically and prophetically
A shorter version of the above article written for a Christian magazine, The Anglican Peacemaker. Concludes with poijnts of specific interest to Christian, rather than general scholarly, readers.

Losing a war not of our choosing
A comment piece in the Church Times, September 2006, on the fifth anniversary of the September 11 2001 attacks in the USA. The article asks whether the church is 'winning' the war on terror.

'Citizens of heaven': Negotiating contesting citizenships
An updated version of a sermon preached at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. It looks at the concept of citizenship in both the modern world and the Bible, and explores how Christians living as citizens of two 'countries' can have an impact on international relations.

Make poverty history by making war history
A talk aimed at young people as part of the Make Poverty History campaign. It explores the connections between war and poverty, and insists that if we are serious about making poverty history, we must also be serious about making war history.

Why does war happen?
A sermon preached on Jeremiah 4 v 11-27 at St Barnabas Church, Cambridge, September 12 2004.

Christianity and critical political geography: on faith and geopolitical imagination', Originally a talk given to undergraduates at Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
Subsequently published in The Brandywine Review of Faith and International Affairs 2 (2): 40-46 (2004)

Peace without end
The account of a eucharist of repentence held by Christians from Cambridge at the gates of RAF Lakenheath, on the Sunday after the US and UK attacked Iraq in March 2003
Includes a photograph of the event.

Why are Christians opposing this war?
A pamphlet produced for Cambridge's vigil for peace, part of an event called by Desmond Tutu and the US National Council of Churches, and held in 140 countries on March 16th: edit, print, and fold.

Pre-emption Perforce? A Reply to Chris Seiple
Chris Seiple, head of the Christian think tank Global Engagement, wrote an article entitled 'Guns, Government and God' setting out an argument as to why Christians ought to support the concept of warfare in general (using just war theory) and war on Iraq in particular. He invited myself and Marc de Chazal, a South African Christian writer, to repsond. Our piece follows his closely, critically engaging with his use of scripture and ideology. Taken alongside each other, these two pieces would form a useful start for a church or small-group discussion on whether Christians can engage in war."
Originally posted on the website of the Institute for Global Engagement in February 2003.

I see Satan Fall Like Lighting
Review of book by Rene Girard, published by Orbis in 2001. Girard develops a bold thesis about the role of group violence in social formations in classical mythology and the Bible. Published in Third Way in March, 2003, Vol.26 No.2: 29-3

Henry Martyn: Iraq- lessons in a time of war
Henry Martyn became imbroiled in the Napoleonic wars as the ship in which he was sailing out to India in 1806 took part in the Battle of Blaauwberg, when Britain seized Capetown in 1806. Drawing a comparison between the role of Britain in the nineteenth century and the USA in the twenty-first, this article suggests that his reflections on warfare provide useful insights for contemporary Christians pondering how to respond to the Iraq question.
Published in Evangelical TImes in March, 2003, Vol.37 No.3

Let Those Without Sin
Churches in Cambridge and around the world oppose war against Iraq. A report on opposition to war on the part of US and UK churches, with a focus on Cambridge. Opposition is based on traditional 'just war' theory arguments, but also on an increasing appeal to the New Testament theology of non-violence that suggests that 'those without sin can cast the first stone.'
Originally published in November 2002 in CitizenCam journal

What About Hitler?
Commemorating Remembrance Sunday in the light of the Iraq Crisis. As churches in Britain prepare to commemorate their fallen in wars, there is unprecedented unity amongst British and American churches in opposing the Bush-Blair plans for an attack on Iraq. This partially represents the church's rediscovery of the early church's nonviolence, which many believe is a more authentic and coherent interpretation of the New Testament. Yet, many convinced of that still ask whether that works in the 'real world'. This article addresses the question,'What do we do about people Hitler?'.
This was distributed initially on November 8 2002,but was put later that month on on the ChristianCambridge website.

Love Your Enemies
A sermon preached on 15th September 2002, at a service to mark the year's anniversary of attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Centre, USA, September 11 2001. The text is Matthew 5 v9, 38-48, Jesus' famous teachings on loving our enemies. The sermon suggests that these words illuminate a particularly Christian response to violence.
This sermon was preached at St Barnabas church, Cambridge.
Translated into Finnish by Fijavan Brenk

Harvey, Anthony (1999) Demanding Peace: Christian Responses to War and Violence
Book review. Canon Harvey contends that the debate between Christian pacifist and 'Just War' traditions needs re-opening in the light of new conditions of warfare and peacekeeping. He notes a gradual shift in church thinking and believes that the time is ripe for the initiation of "a debate which might eventually lead to a pacifism becoming the norm for the churches instead of a minority movement within them." A review published in Christian Socialist 182, Summer 2002:p13 (the journal of the Christian Socialist Movement)