Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Surprised myself on this one

Have you ever started writing and thinking about something you felt strongly about only to relaize that you never really thought about why you felt that way? I had that just happen to me and it has had such a profound impact on my thinking that I want to share it on here.
I was having a discussion on Facebook with some Christians that I really admire and respect and the topic was "is all killing murder"? I started out my viewpoint rather rhetorically, asking if any life is worth more than another regardless of what that person has done? A reply to my stance was that it is alright to kill someone as long as it is lawful. That really struck something inside of me and I was able to apply some of my recent Bible study (thank God for showing Himself to me again) to my argument. I will preface posting what I stated by saying this: I have always thought that I was a proponent of capital punishment but when I think about it and try to see it through the eyes of Jesus, I can't really stand firmly on that belief any longer. ALthough I will need to put more Bible study and thought to this, I think I may have come out of the "no death penalty" closet a little tonight. I am going to post the argument I posted and I hope that many of you will give me your comments and thoughts because I am just a little shaken. I hope we can learn together on this. My argument is posted below.

But who are we to determine what is a lawful killing? It would be one thing if we were led by men who were Godly and all laws were set forth by men who you knew walked in the light of God. Unfortunately, that is not the case. My interpretation of your argument Steven is that if the law (and I am speaking from a man made sense, not ten commandments) that says it is alright to have abortions and provides licensed physicians the right to do so says it is fine, then it is "lawful." (by the way, I don't think you are doing this but your statements could be seen as saying that a lawful abortion is fine in the sight of God in the context of this argument) Never in the New Testament are the words due and process found together. So, is lawful actually lawful? Does God approve of the laws and statutes being passed in our country today? Does God approve of the Iraq War? Does God approve of who the citizens of our country have allowed to seize control? Since you brought up Moses and Exodus, let's look at a famous unlawful murderer by the name of Moses. Was his killing of the Egyptian lawful? Of course not. Did God choose to capitally punish Him? No. Instead, God allowed him to dwell in a less than desirable circumstance (one could almost say a prison) for 40 years and then used Moses for God's glory. So again, who are we to say that none of the people who have been "lawfully" put to death following their due process were not people who God could have used for His glory? Let us not forget who is the master of this world. Was God or Satan in control of Moses when he murdered the Egyptian? On top of all this, Jesus preached grace, forgivness, and turning the other cheek? We are so quick to say "well, he killed three college aged girls, he must deserve to die," or something similar yet Jesus, found it in Him to forgive the men who were not killing his brother, sister, mother, or father; they were killing him. If Jesus did not condemn those men to death, how can any of us ever justify taking another human life? Trust me, I know this sounds like a very liberal argument, but I am as conservative as they come. However, someone living in prison has much more of a chance to bring forth the fruit that Paul talks about in Romans 7 than someone who is frying in an electric chair.
Please note that I am not considering accidental killing in this context.


Deana Warner said...

i wonder if the examples in the Bible where people were stoned to death or even if they were supposed to be stoned and were spared helps to show that sometimes, the consequence of the action was death.

I'm personally not against the death penalty but I do personally feel that as long as a person is left alive, they will have to live with the torment of what they have done - that is if they feel guilty or feel remorse, sorrow. If they do not feel sorry, then they are stuck in a jail cell with (hopefully) no parole and no freedom. I know that costs tax money but at least they aren't going to hurt anyone else.

But does it help to know that sometimes, death was a consequence??

Deana Warner

Sabrina said...

I read your blog and really wanted to respond but I don't know how to post. I thought it very insightful even though I do not have the same depth of knowledge regarding the bible as you. I have always thought the death penalty was immoral and it has not been an easy mindset to keep. When I hear of horrible deeds committed- I instantly go to the place in my mind that says "That person is sick,evil, inhuman and should die for the crimes they committed". I find that after that thought occurs, I feel less than what I want to be. When I was in college I had to pick a side and give a speech. I really studied the materials and found that most people who are convicted of murder and sentenced to the death penalty are a.) primarily minorities, b.) mainly those who are poor and cannot afford decent reprensentation (or any and is generally court appointed), c.) giving any government the power to take/end life is terrifying to me personally and is in direct conflict with spreading ideas and values of life is precious. I found that around 1976 the government placed a moratorium on capital punishment, which had always been promoted as a deterrant, and homicides actually went down in number while no capital punishment existed and again increased when being reinstated.
Anyway, I believe that it is wrong for many reasons and enjoyed reading your view.

Terry Janelle said...

Good morning, David. Very deep and interesting thoughts here.
As Christians, are we under the old Law? or the New Law?
We are sometimes held to a higher, more demanding level than others in this world.
Capital punishment, legalized abortion, etc. is "lawful" and the "lawmakers/leaders/kings" have been placed in those positions by God. yes???
Yes, we are to "honor the king and the laws of the land."
What is my stance on "lawful" killing? I think I would have to say these things:
1. If I were placed on death row for whatever reason; justly so OR unjustly a Christian, I feel I would have to submit myself to that without resistance in order to be pleasing to God, etc. NO, I WOULD NOT LIKE IT ONE BIT.. AND NO, I MIGHT LIVE UP TO THAT BELIEF/UNDERSTANDING....
2. I also know that I would not be able to sentence another human to death row. I just don't think I have it in me because of my personality, emotions, thoughts, religious belief system...etc.
3. I also know I could not hold a position with that kind of power nor complete the requirements of such a job...[including being the one throwing the switch]. I already know that my conscience would not allow me to. In the case of abortion , for example, I would not be able to do such a thing to my unborn child regardless of the situation. When I was pregnant with my first child, the doctor told me that things weren't right with my bloodwork and the results clearly showed that my unborn baby had a much higher risk of being born with... awwww, geez. What's it called? It's where the baby is born with.. Oh yeah.. spina bifida. The doctor wanted to run more tests. I asked what we would be able to do about it if the next tests continued to show the same impending results. The Dr. said. There will be nothing to do about, but you will have a decision to make. I asked what decision would that be. The Dr. said I would then be faced with the decision of either keeping the baby or aborting it. I immediately told the Dr. to save his time and mine, etc. Because that is a decision I had already made and that I would not be aborting my baby for any reason. Long story shortened... my first born was born fine. He had some developmental problems, but I worked with him aggressively on those. And now? He is a fully functioning adult in the Air Force and stationed in Germany.
Well, anyway...this is probably not quite on topic for your blog page thing... but thought I would respond to you by email regarding my thoughts.

Have a good day today, David!

Dave Brumley said...

Thank you three for your comments. I like what you said Sabrina about our initial rush to judgment when we first hear of horrific things that happen.