T Nation

Killing: When/If It's Ok?

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:
Thou shalt not kill is a principle, a first principle to be exact. [/quote]

It doesn’t say “kill,” it says “murder.” “Thou shalt not murder.”

There is a large gulf between killing and murdering.

[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]

Those situations do not change the universal maxims. If someone is dying on a battlefield, and the time an situation do not permit you to show him the appropriate kindness and mercy, then you got to do what you have to do. If his screams are going to endanger the rest of the troops then you don’t really have a choice as to what to do. If you cannot clear him from the battle field and you cannot progress because of him, for the sake of the rest, you have to put a bullet.

Who’s going to do it, you? Have you ever really thought what it’s like to shoot another human being, even one that’s dying? No I haven’t done it, but I know people who have and it fucks them up badly just to even mention it. Even if it’s deserved or unavoidable, it doesn’t make the killing any easier. It’s not natural to take away everything a person is, has and will ever be. I hope and pray I never know that pain.

What about the situation of Marines, Seals, Army Soldiers, etc. They are trained to kill and keep the peace overseas. Cops also face this everyday (you know what I mean). If cops are fired upon they have to protect themselves.

[quote]pat wrote:

Those situations do not change the universal maxims. [/quote]

I guess what I’m getting at is I don’t know if they are universal. I mean, are they?

Shit, in another thread Trib is talking about wars in the name of the God he prays to are a-okay reason to murder people. I, think that is insane. It happens all the time, and some people are good with it. I’m not.

So what are the universal maxims?

Is it evil?

Is granting the suffering man peace evil?

Thought about it? Sure… Could I do it? I haven’t the slightest idea.

To be honest, I doubt it, but it would depend on the situation.

I can’t hunt, can’t stand the thought of killing a deer, but if I was starving, I would slice Bambi up like a mofo…

Just because it would be difficult, maybe the most difficult thing anyone has ever done, doesn’t mean it is evil.

[quote]Jewbacca wrote:

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:
Thou shalt not kill is a principle, a first principle to be exact. [/quote]

It doesn’t say “kill,” it says “murder.” “Thou shalt not murder.”

There is a large gulf between killing and murdering.[/quote]

You beat me to it. This is a very important point I often times have to explain to my Catholic friends as well as my atheist friends who seem surprised that as a believer in God I do agree with the death penalty.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
Just because it would be difficult, maybe the most difficult thing anyone has ever done, doesn’t mean it is evil.[/quote]

Good point, emotions are just a biological response we have yet almost our entire concept of right and wrong is based on it.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]pat wrote:

Those situations do not change the universal maxims. [/quote]

I guess what I’m getting at is I don’t know if they are universal. I mean, are they?

Shit, in another thread Trib is talking about wars in the name of the God he prays to are a-okay reason to murder people. I, think that is insane. It happens all the time, and some people are good with it. I’m not.
[/quote]
That is insane. There is a different way of looking at it though. The author of life, has to the right to do with it what he will. Just like an artist can paint a masterpiece, can set it on fire. That doesn’t make us like it any better, but in the realm of theology, bodily death does not end life. Life transitions. And perhaps it was out of mercy he transitions people, I don’t know. I know just because an earth quake kill 1000 people, that doesn’t make it right for you or me to go kill 1000 people.
Tirib is a nut job, though and I don’t share his views. The deaths in the bible bother me and it requires faith on my part to just trust that God knows what he’s doing.
In saying that, though, he typically only acted when all else was lost. Which is why I warn people that really want God to intervene, that it’s typically not pretty when he does. Get yourself right so he doesn’t have to make you right. But then that’s Biblically speaking. tirib tends to make God out to be a jerk, I vehemently, with every fiber of my being, disagree. My personal experience is way different then that. The difference is rooted between freewill and predetermination. Tirib believes that God already made all this stuff the way it is and we are merely acting it out, which technically, removes culpability and therefore makes God the author of all evil.
I believe in freewill and believe evil was born of a free desire to be and act evil, I.E. being disobedient to God. Again, though that’s a theological rebuttle to what you have heard from tirib. I have him on permanent ignore, but I feel compelled to clean up his mess in this case.

I love weapons, but I don’t hunt nor do I want to. But I don’t have a problem killing an animal for food. We eat dead animals all the time. I had one last night and it was delicious. I don’t believe in killing animals just for fun. Except roaches…I hate those fucking things.

[quote]

Just because it would be difficult, maybe the most difficult thing anyone has ever done, doesn’t mean it is evil.[/quote]

Correct.

[quote]pat wrote:

[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]

That’s actually what I’m asking. If you’re not appealing to God, then what else is there to base the definition of “evil” on?

[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]

The way I see it, there’s no need to look at anything as “right” or “wrong”. Humans have an infinite potential for compassion, so what need is there for these ready-made answers?

Ready-made answers are for children who can’t weigh the complexity of any given situation with their own minds. If you find yourself in the situation above and you don’t end his suffering because it’s against YOUR morals, you haven’t just put the cart before the horse, you’ve left the horse miles back.

[quote]TigerTime wrote:

That’s actually what I’m asking. If you’re not appealing to God, then what else is there to base the definition of “evil” on?[/quote]

I don’t want to derail this into a political discussion, but I remember when that preacher interviewed both McCain and Obama.

He asked each to define “sin.” Obama stated (paraphrase) “sin is going against MY moral beliefs.”

I was pretty stunned at the ego involved at every level of that statement.

[quote]Jewbacca wrote:

[quote]TigerTime wrote:

That’s actually what I’m asking. If you’re not appealing to God, then what else is there to base the definition of “evil” on?[/quote]

I don’t want to derail this into a political discussion, but I remember when that preacher interviewed both McCain and Obama.

He asked each to define “sin.” Obama stated (paraphrase) “sin is going against MY moral beliefs.”

I was pretty stunned at the ego involved at every level of that statement.[/quote]

I bet you’re a good chess player (or would be, if you don’t already play it).

Good post man. I really enjoy mature back and forth.

[quote]pat wrote:

Well, it’s neutral. Doing what you have to do, is neither good or evil. [/quote]

I can agree it is situational and need based, but I feel like that is why it is complex.

Like tigertime said, our emotional responces might just be bunk, because we can be/are compassionate.

I want to believe that if put in a situation where I feel killing another man is needed, and I did, that I would be able to spend my remaining days guilt free. I don’t know that I could. I’ve had dreams where I was post-killing, and the weight, the depression, the horrid emotions that I felt were unbearable.

How does one know their emotional responce is right?

Edit: typos

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

How does one know their emotional responce is right?

Edit: typos[/quote]

I say this as a nineteen year old kid with more theoretical life experience than actual life experience, but I think it would be a waste to spend time constantly psycho-analysing your own feelings because you feel the need to justify your emotions to yourself. Emotions are your body’s reactions to stimuli. To say they can be right or wrong is the same as saying your existence is right or wrong, or even that existence itself is right or wrong.

The problem isn’t the appropriateness of your bodies emotions, it’s the ideals your mind imposes onto you, and the question then becomes; are these ideals your own invention, or are they borrowed from society? If they’re yours, then drop them! What good are they doing you if you’re making yourself miserable over things you can’t control just to appease them? And if they aren’t yours, are they really worth guilting yourself over?

Emotions are temporary things. Let them come and go as they please and you’ll find joy can be found in all of them.

[quote]TigerTime wrote:

[quote]pat wrote:

[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]

That’s actually what I’m asking. If you’re not appealing to God, then what else is there to base the definition of “evil” on?[/quote]

Evil is based on doing harm to sentient beings. The more harm and the more beings are harmed the more evil the act. I don’t not have to appeal to God to make the argument, but I can in either case.
All you have to do is personalize it and understand your experience is only as real and valuable as somebody else. Morality isn’t something you create, it’s something you discover, it already exists. Blowing up a puppy is an evil act, blowing up a person is an evil act, blowing up a rock is not.
The basic tenets of morality are:

  • intent
  • freewill
  • sentience
  • action
  • result

[quote]Jewbacca wrote:

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:
Thou shalt not kill is a principle, a first principle to be exact. [/quote]

It doesn’t say “kill,” it says “murder.” “Thou shalt not murder.”

There is a large gulf between killing and murdering.[/quote]

Yes, the translation of the word to “kill” has caused so many problems. “Murder” makes the commandment far more clear and comprehensible.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
Good post man. I really enjoy mature back and forth.

[quote]pat wrote:

Well, it’s neutral. Doing what you have to do, is neither good or evil. [/quote]

I can agree it is situational and need based, but I feel like that is why it is complex.

Like tigertime said, our emotional responces might just be bunk, because we can be/are compassionate.

I want to believe that if put in a situation where I feel killing another man is needed, and I did, that I would be able to spend my remaining days guilt free. I don’t know that I could. I’ve had dreams where I was post-killing, and the weight, the depression, the horrid emotions that I felt were unbearable.

How does one know their emotional responce is right?

Edit: typos[/quote]

I agree situations can be complicated, but the basis for it, is not. The biggest complicating factor is when the necessary, or right thing to do is the hardest thing to do…

[quote]IamMarqaos wrote:

[quote]Jewbacca wrote:

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:
Thou shalt not kill is a principle, a first principle to be exact. [/quote]

It doesn’t say “kill,” it says “murder.” “Thou shalt not murder.”

There is a large gulf between killing and murdering.[/quote]

You beat me to it. This is a very important point I often times have to explain to my Catholic friends as well as my atheist friends who seem surprised that as a believer in God I do agree with the death penalty.[/quote]

Uhh, but the death penalty is murder.

[quote]pat wrote:
I don’t believe in killing animals just for fun. Except roaches…I hate those fucking things.

[/quote]

You left out mosquitos.

[quote]TigerTime wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

How does one know their emotional responce is right?

Edit: typos[/quote]

I say this as a nineteen year old kid with more theoretical life experience than actual life experience, but I think it would be a waste to spend time constantly psycho-analysing your own feelings because you feel the need to justify your emotions to yourself. Emotions are your body’s reactions to stimuli. To say they can be right or wrong is the same as saying your existence is right or wrong, or even that existence itself is right or wrong.

The problem isn’t the appropriateness of your bodies emotions, it’s the ideals your mind imposes onto you, and the question then becomes; are these ideals your own invention, or are they borrowed from society? If they’re yours, then drop them! What good are they doing you if you’re making yourself miserable over things you can’t control just to appease them? And if they aren’t yours, are they really worth guilting yourself over?

Emotions are temporary things. Let them come and go as they please and you’ll find joy can be found in all of them. [/quote]

Yeah, but emotions like guilt and shame exist for a reason, a very good reason.

Those who have mastered the art of completely discarding them are commonly referred to as sociopaths.

[quote]sufiandy wrote:

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

al-Qaeda would agree[/quote]

Yup, but the veracity of this will be either denied or retorted with some cloudy statement that misses the irony of how the one is viewed versus the other.