This historical thriller tells the story of the Dunkirk evacuation during the early days of World War II. When 400,000 British and Allied troops end up trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, France, following a catastrophic defeat, a number of civilian boats set out to rescue them before they are decimated by the approaching Nazi forces. Dunkirk explores the different perspectives of those involved in the evacuation: on land, sea and air.
This clip follows a young British soldier called Tommy as he is pursued by enemy soldiers to the beach, where he is greeted by thousands of soldiers who are lined up waiting to leave. But as enemy bombers appear, it becomes apparent that the beach is anything but safe.
- Why do you think the soldiers are lining up on the beach to leave rather than fighting against the enemy in the town?
- Is there such a thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in war?
- How would you have felt if you were in Tommy’s situation?
- Should a Christian fight in a war for their country even if it goes against their moral beliefs?
Once you’ve had your first set of discussions, read Deuteronomy 20:1-4 together. It’s a deliberately provocative verse that should generate some further discussion. You may want to have Matthew 26:52 on hand for balance. Once you have done that, break off into small groups to discuss the following questions. You may want to have a whole group feedback session afterwards to share ideas.
- What do you think the message of this passage is? Does it suggest that war is acceptable for Christians?
- Is this the only message the Bible has about war, or do you know of any other passages that might appear to contradict this one? If the passages seem contradictory, which one should Christians follow?
- Does God have ‘favourites’ who he wants to win when it comes to war?
- Should a Christian contribute towards a war effort (giving money and belongings) even if they disagree with killing others?
At some point, you may wish to show your young people the whole film so they can explore these issues further.