In this article, I intend to explore the normative relation(s) between “God” and “war.” A bit more precisely, I intend to explore the normative relevance of theistic conviction to the proper employment of military violence. Even more precisely, I intend to explore the relevance of theistic conviction to the proper employment of military violence as judged by the so-called Just War Tradition (JWT). Properly interpreted, I take the JWT to provide the best available account of the morality of war. The JWT is not perfect and is bedeviled by serious problems, but it is the best available nonetheless. So, when I reflect on the morality of war, and thus on the normative relation(s) between religion and war, I do so from the perspective of the JWT.
Now this might seem to portend a very brief discussion. As we will see in detail, contemporary adherents typically construe the JWT in resolutely secular terms. Perhaps in order to compensate for its religious prehistory, most insist that the JWT has outgrown its religious provenance and may not be used to legitimate a crusade, a jihad, a holy war, or anything of the sort. In so doing, they align the JWT with the commonplace, endemic to contemporary liberal democracies, that religious wars and religious justifications for war lay far, far beyond the moral pale.