T Nation

Killing: When/If It's Ok?

[quote]Cortes wrote:

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
So under what circumstances do you think killing is not evil and why Cortes or anyone?[/quote]

That’s a biiiiig question, probably one that deserves its own thread, but I’ll try and put it as succinctly as I can summarize:

What you said.

Heheh. When there is a clear and present danger to one’s life or to the life of others.
When killing or not killing a man are the only two alternatives, with the former resulting in the saving of a greater number of innocent lives overall. In other words, when the greater good demands it.

Thing is, this is the part where most people get tripped up. That “greater good” is a slippery little critter, and needs to be defined VERY clearly and nailed down well before any justifications are made.

As you can see in the case of abortion, we have what should be a question that applies only to the extremely narrow sliver of the total cases in which the life of the mother is directly and unquestionable threatened, to, uhh, this kid’s life is gonna suck anyway, so, you know, I’m doing it and society a favor.

It’s like Mother Theresa with a glass suction tube. [/quote]

Per Cortes’s suggestion, I thought I would make a thread about this.

As an introduction, I’ll give some examples. There’s some Buddhists who think killing a fly is evil and will never willingly commit the act and then there’s some who think people should receive capital punishment for some non-murder crimes.

The quote above is from the abortion thread, but before I derailed the thread, I figured I’d make one of my own.

I will just repost my answer I guess:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
So under what circumstances do you think killing is not evil and why Cortes or anyone?[/quote]

Before I answer, I want to point out I feel there is a significant difference between evil and immoral. And evil isn’t always immoral nor is immoral always evil. But:

Mercy. When you would give someone mercy, it isn’t evil. Why? Because only a select few humans deserve to truly suffer for the remainder of their life.

Self defense. If you are capable and someone is foolish enough to roll on you or your lived ones, you end them. Even if they didn’t intend to murder. (Ie: someone is intent on molesting your kids, or raping your wife.)

On the flip side, sometimes killing is “right” even when it is evil. Executing Jerry Sandusky would be evil, but I’d be in the front row cheering it on. Shit, I’d prefer they let a somewhat weak individual hack him to near death with a dull, rusty, iron blade, and then let the fever from infection take him. (Sorry, that is a bit much.)
[/quote]

Do you think there is any principles in the matter? It would seem there would need to be principles or it would be somewhat arbitrary if there was exceptions.

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:
Do you think there is any principles in the matter? It would seem there would need to be principles or it would be somewhat arbitrary if there was exceptions.[/quote]

What do you mean principles? What principles do you specifically see that without exceptions would be arbitrary?

My take on this topic :

Taking a life is evil. Always. Without any exception. It’s never a “good thing”.

That being said, in some circumstances, it may be the “right” thing to do.
A “necessary evil”. And/or a “lesser evil”.

but a “lesser evil” is not a “greater good”. It’s still an evil.

The very existence of such cases is one of the main reason i can’t buy most christian theodicies (notably those based on “Free will”), and the whole concept of a “will of God”.

Title “Killing: When/If It’s Ok?” should be renamed to “Ok: What is your definition?”

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:
Do you think there is any principles in the matter? It would seem there would need to be principles or it would be somewhat arbitrary if there was exceptions.[/quote]

What do you mean principles? What principles do you specifically see that without exceptions would be arbitrary?[/quote]

I don’t think you quite understood me, that is my fault. I heartily apologize.

Let me start over again. Thou shalt not kill is a principle, a first principle to be exact. For there to be exceptions without it being arbitrary (or ad hoc) it would seem there would need to be a secondary principle. Or, maybe an explanation of the first principle to enlighten us to the fact that those actions that seem like exceptions are actually following of the first principle.

if threatened with life ending consequences I will do whatever it takes until the threat no longer exists.

I also agree with Kumui, as I often tend to that “a lesser evil is not a greater good”. It is still “evil”

and “evil will always triumph, because good is dumb”. OOH sorry, hit the derail for a second.

Still I hope that this thread does move forward in a positive light as there will be much to discuss,

while I hope we can keep god and christianity the hell out of something like this just ONCE ?

[quote]killerDIRK wrote:
if threatened with life ending consequences I will do whatever it takes until the threat no longer exists.

I also agree with Kumui, as I often tend to that “a lesser evil is not a greater good”. It is still “evil”

and “evil will always triumph, because good is dumb”. OOH sorry, hit the derail for a second.

Still I hope that this thread does move forward in a positive light as there will be much to discuss,

while I hope we can keep god and christianity the hell out of something like this just ONCE ?[/quote]

I don’t wanna see this become a bible study session, but I am interested in the perspective.

[quote]kamui wrote:
My take on this topic :

Taking a life is evil. Always. Without any exception. It’s never a “good thing”.

That being said, in some circumstances, it may be the “right” thing to do.
A “necessary evil”. And/or a “lesser evil”.

but a “lesser evil” is not a “greater good”. It’s still an evil.

The very existence of such cases is one of the main reason i can’t buy most christian theodicies (notably those based on “Free will”), and the whole concept of a “will of God”.

[/quote]

Why is it evil?

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:
Do you think there is any principles in the matter? It would seem there would need to be principles or it would be somewhat arbitrary if there was exceptions.[/quote]

What do you mean principles? What principles do you specifically see that without exceptions would be arbitrary?[/quote]

I don’t think you quite understood me, that is my fault. I heartily apologize.

Let me start over again. Thou shalt not kill is a principle, a first principle to be exact. For there to be exceptions without it being arbitrary (or ad hoc) it would seem there would need to be a secondary principle. Or, maybe an explanation of the first principle to enlighten us to the fact that those actions that seem like exceptions are actually following of the first principle.[/quote]

I think I’m more confused than I was before. I’m not even sure what to ask.

[quote]kamui wrote:
My take on this topic :

Taking a life is evil. Always. Without any exception. It’s never a “good thing”.

That being said, in some circumstances, it may be the “right” thing to do.
A “necessary evil”. And/or a “lesser evil”.

but a “lesser evil” is not a “greater good”. It’s still an evil.

The very existence of such cases is one of the main reason i can’t buy most christian theodicies (notably those based on “Free will”), and the whole concept of a “will of God”. [/quote]How can you say such a thing after all we’ve been through together? God defines what evil is and He very clearly pronounces killing in some circumstances as holy and righteous.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
He very clearly pronounces killing in some circumstances as holy and righteous.[/quote]

al-Qaeda would agree

[quote]sufiandy wrote:

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
He very clearly pronounces killing in some circumstances as holy and righteous.[/quote]

AL-Qaeda would agree[/quote]Not with the true God of Christianity they wouldn’t. AL-Qaeda is pure murderous demonic evil and has nothing to do with what I’m talking about.

-When your life is directly threatened (OR another, especially lees able bodied individuals is at risk of death/serious injury etc).

-When you’ve been the victim of a really heinous crime such as rape etc.

-When it’s accidental/with little to no negligence playing into the equation.

-Assisted suicide.

*I’d also say I don’t agree with the idea that killing (& other actions) always has to be defined as purely good OR bad etc. Permissible Vs Impermissible Vs (arguably, morally laudable/good etc would be better IMO).

Examples:

Killing in self-defense= Permissible.

Killing to defend other less able bodied individuals while risking your own life= Morally laudable/good etc.

Killing a random person= Impermissible.

I should also say going back to the issue of ‘good’, I see goodness in two distinct ways Ie: Good with regards respecting an individuals liberty & good with regards wider societal impact. The former is a touch more important than the latter, since, acting in a way which truly produces the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people tends to entail incessantly calculating & perhaps an arguably sociopathic degree of impartiality.

Killing is only morally neutral when it’s in the defense of yourself or others.

Killing in any other circumstance is wrong and evil.

War is merely a sociological extension of the above definition.

Seriously, this isn’t complicated stuff.

[quote]TigerTime wrote:

[quote]kamui wrote:
My take on this topic :

Taking a life is evil. Always. Without any exception. It’s never a “good thing”.

That being said, in some circumstances, it may be the “right” thing to do.
A “necessary evil”. And/or a “lesser evil”.

but a “lesser evil” is not a “greater good”. It’s still an evil.

The very existence of such cases is one of the main reason i can’t buy most christian theodicies (notably those based on “Free will”), and the whole concept of a “will of God”.

[/quote]

Why is it evil?[/quote]

Define evil, then you’ll know why.

[quote]pat wrote:
Killing is only morally neutral when it’s in the defense of yourself or others.

Killing in any other circumstance is wrong and evil. [/quote]

Is there an established norm for what is or isn’t defense of yourself or others accepted as truth by everyone, or at least a vast majority?

I dissagree.

Someone dieing on the battle field. It will take 24-36 hours for them to die. The medic has been blow to hell, and there are no compounds to ease the pain available. There is 0% chance of survival and the wounded man is begging for mercy, knows his fate and wants it done.

Do you:

a) sit with him for the 24-36 hours, muffling his screams to not give away your position, and hold his hand and sing him songs while he suffers

or

b) put the bullet he is begging for in his skull and give him peace?

Option b, IMO, isn’t evil nor immoral, but it is killing.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]pat wrote:
Killing is only morally neutral when it’s in the defense of yourself or others.

Killing in any other circumstance is wrong and evil. [/quote]

Is there an established norm for what is or isn’t defense of yourself or others accepted as truth by everyone, or at least a vast majority?

I dissagree.

Someone dieing on the battle field. It will take 24-36 hours for them to die. The medic has been blow to hell, and there are no compounds to ease the pain available. There is 0% chance of survival and the wounded man is begging for mercy, knows his fate and wants it done.

Do you:

a) sit with him for the 24-36 hours, muffling his screams to not give away your position, and hold his hand and sing him songs while he suffers

or

b) put the bullet he is begging for in his skull and give him peace?

Option b, IMO, isn’t evil nor immoral, but it is killing.[/quote]

I do see what you mean and it does make me think hard about assisted suicide for the terminally ill with extreme suffering. The biggest problem I see with assisted suicide is the question of where do you draw the line in saying it’s the right thing to do or not.

[quote]Fletch1986 wrote:
I do see what you mean and it does make me think hard about assisted suicide for the terminally ill with extreme suffering. The biggest problem I see with assisted suicide is the question of where do you draw the line in saying it’s the right thing to do or not. [/quote]

I feel like we can start to draw the line at the person who is suffering’s wishes. If the person can’t communicate those wishes… Well, I’m not sure.

My wife and I have orders in place that if a machine is the only reason we are alive after X amount of time, ie: we can’t live without the machine after being nursed as far back to health as humanly possible, that the plug is to be pulled.