Last week, OnFaith published an article by Philp Jenkins, titled Was the Great War a Holy War? The following is an excerpt from this article:
"During the First World War, overwhelmingly Christian nations claimed ten million lives in the name of God.
When Europe went to war a hundred years ago this summer, all the nations involved loudly claimed to see God’s hand in the struggle. To varying degrees, all governments spoke the language of crusade and holy war, martyrdom and sacrifice. All portrayed their enemies as quite literal servants of the Devil, of Antichrist. Even at the time, such language attracted plenty of cynics. As one 1920 poem mocked,
“Gott strafe England!” and “God save the King!”
God this, God that, and God the other thing.
“Good God!” said God, “I’ve got my work cut out!
Disenchanted later generations likewise dismiss such tales as the window dressing offered by callous states sending their young men off to mass slaughter. But the closer we look at that war and its rhetoric, the more seriously we have to take those religious ideas."
Philip Jenkins will be speaking at Wycliffe's Refresh! Conference on May 13 & 14th, 2014. For more information, please visit: refresh.wycliffeserves.ca
Philip Jenkins, the author of The Lost History of Christianity, Jesus Wars, and The Next Christendom, is the Distinguished Professor of History and member of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. His newest title is The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade.