Sunday, December 16, 2007

To kill or not ...

... I have become involved in a discussion over at Bryan's blog: New Jersey's Death Penalty.

4 comments:

  1. Areopagite12:24 PM

    Since you seem to announce reguluarly that you imagine yourself to be a Christian, you believe Jesus is compatible with the righteous killing. If so, on what possible basis is Jesus a significant being, as Jesus is simply another relativist. Since you are prepared to put a gun against the head of another individual and blow his brains out( if you are properly consistent with your belief in the desirability of killing people you believe to deserve being killed), then unless you disbelieve in a moral universe, you are an advocate of evil since killing is evil, that is unless evil doesn't exist.

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  2. Who said anything about my putting a gun to anybody's head, or anything about people I think deserve to be killed? Citizen A murders Citizen B. The act is done in broad daylight and is witnessed by Citizens C though F. In other words, there is no reasonable doubt that Citizen A has done the deed. He is duly carted off, tried, and convicted. He is sentenced to death and executed. He will never murder anyone again. He has paid for depriving Citizen B of his life by forfeiting his own. The execution is carried out by authorities acting on behalf of society. What I would like to know is why that act on the part of society fills you with greater indignation than Citizen A's murder of Citizen B. Please address your reply to Citizen B's family. As for Jesus, I see no evidence that he suggested any notable changes politically. He never, for example, told the centurion that he should give up soldiering, that killing in wartime was tantamount to murder. I also have no trouble imagining a thoroughly humble and pious executioner.

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  3. Areopagite8:07 PM

    I am trying to stress the nature of the killing of another person- to place yourself in the position of the executioner that you believe justified. Passing this action on to 'the relevant authorities' is a distancing yourself from the moral, visceral, spiritual nature of this action. If you believe in it as justified, you should be prepared to kill the convicted murderer yourself, not pass on the spiritual load onto someone else. And a gun to the head is infinitely more honest and humane than the sick, ghoulish masquerade of lethal injection or electric chair- killing and attempting to wash one's hands of it at the same time.
    As for "saying anything about people I think deserve to be killed", what are we talking about except your belief in people deserving to be killed/executed/murdered/ however you want to put it.

    "What I would like to know is why that act on the part of society fills you with greater indignation than Citizen A's murder of Citizen B."

    Where did you get this conclusion from? You keep diverting the issue into unconnected tangents and making ludicrous assumptions as to what the other person is saying, and not realising the nature of your own position. It's so totally unbased on anything I have written that you might as well ask Why do you hate black people. The question discussed is the moral nature of executing another person, and whether it can be justified. Your assumption that abhorrence towards murder must, as a matter of apparent course, connect to a resulting desire for the murderer to be executed is false reasoning: imagining that the strength of your emotive response correctly leads to the justice of execution, and that anyone who doesn't share this desire feels less than you do.

    Given your notion of Christianity being compatible with the cold-blooded killing of another person, Jesus seems someone wholly without unique significance, and as said, Christianity simply an abstract belief system without consequence. The early Christians that we know of did no preaching of the desire for retributive blood of the murderers of themselves. Did Jesus ask that he be avenged of his murderers? If they did seek perpetrate such lawful retribution, it is very hard to square this with my understanding of the early Christians. This desire for execution also speaks of a very grave lack of faith in God or Truth. Romans 12:19-21, Paul writes, "19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." 20 No, "if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (NRSV)
    Are you afraid these people will escape God's justice?

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  4. "You keep diverting the issue into unconnected tangents and making ludicrous assumptions as to what the other person is saying ..." Please take a look at your own comments and compare them to what you are commenting upon.
    "I am trying to stress the nature of the killing of another person ..." So was I, only the person I was focusing on was the person murdered. You still don't seem to have anything to say about that person. The family of a murder victim may have the right to forgive the murderer, but you don't, and I don't, and neither does society.

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