Faith Communities

Recruitment poster calling for Jews to enlist  (ww1propaganda.com)

Recruitment poster calling for Jews to enlist
(ww1propaganda.com)

When war was declared leaders and members of faith communities across Surrey had to decide on the justice of Britain’s cause and determine where they stood on the question of taking up arms on behalf of the state.  An overwhelming majority were persuaded that this was a war in defence of civilisation.  Anglicans, Catholics and Non-Conformists all enlisted in great numbers and the British Jewish and Muslim communities similarly supported and defended the war with both communities appealing to their members to stand alongside their Christian brothers and fight for right.  However, a small number of Christian groups and individual believers could not reconcile their pacifist principles with the act of killing, however just the cause.

As the war progressed and losses mounted, many people of faith began to ask themselves searching questions about the cost of the war and about God’s purpose in allowing it to continue.  Many decided that it was, in some way, a punishment for mankind’s sin and neglect of its religious duties, and hoped that the sacrifice that the war was demanding would bring about a spiritual reawakening and lead people back to God.

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