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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

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"Lan astaslem."
I will not submit. I will not surrender.
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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Capital punishment and stupid Christians

It's hardly surprising that there would be controversy regarding the recent Supreme Court 5-4 Kennedy v. Louisiana ruling that capital punishment could not be used for someone who violently raped a child, while still allowing it for other matters, including treason. While Christians can disagree about whether or not a government should be allowed to use capital punishment, it would help if they kept their arguments reasonable, rather than simply call names.

By this I mean, when someone says they believe the Bible allows for this punishment, a reasonable response from a fellow Christian is not to say only stupid people think the Bible says that. If one is going to so inartfully express their notion that the Bible doesn't support capital punishment, they would do well to explain and support their underlying position, rather than merely act so stupid themselves, by merely calling names. The lack of intellectual engagement is only displayed more clearly if they refuse to do so because they think the Bible does support the death penalty and yet they choose to reject that and deflect from their hypocrisy by childish rhetoric.

It obviously does nothing to support the idea that they actually thought deeply or can discuss this matter honestly, when they also imply that the other person can't possibly have the experiences they've claimed or be directly knowledgeable about the violence and aftermath that others have suffered. Irrational response squad groupies descend to the tactic of calling theists liars quite quickly, in my experience. Why should we think better of Christians when they choose to do the same to other Christians?

Some people also tend to say that when someone explains they support the death penalty for violently raping a child, because they've seen the aftermath of those who were molested or raped, that such is merely an emotional appeal. That would be nearly arguing that having any feeling automatically negates any argument. In fact, noting the damage crime causes and/or that a victim continues to suffer throughout their life, is a necessary component when determining what punishments are necessary and appropriate for many crimes and even civil cases. That one has strong feelings when considering the victim's suffering, indicates they are still human and capable of understanding the hurt others can feel when traumatized. Miscategorizing and denigrating that says nothing positive about the level of humanity of those stooping to such tactics.

As I noted, Christians can have reasonable disagreements about the matter. But those who argue in this fashion indicate they care more for their view and the applause they will receive from others in their choir, or even from those outside the faith, then they do for maintaining unity in the body of Christ.


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