My husband is a believer / need opinions
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
26-10-2013, 12:10 AM
My husband is a believer / need opinions
For some background: my husband is a believer. He leans more toward atheism than he'd probably like to admit, but sometimes I forget, and say things to him that he finds insensitive.

When we get down to whether or not god exists, we eventually end up at this point: if not for the fear of judgement and punishment, he might have murdered someone.

Bear with me. He would never murder anyone innocent, he means those people who really do not deserve to live. A person who molested/raped a child that he knew for example.

He says the only reason he didn't was because he feared eternal hell, and stipulates that if he did not believe in god, he may have committed murder.

Honestly, I don't have a response for this, I truly believe some people deserve to die, and I can't reason out how it is immoral to kill a person who TRULY deserves to die, and how to avoid doing this without the fear of eternal hell.

He agreed to letting me get your thoughts on this subject.

Do individuals have the ability to decide if a person deserves death, and does that person have the right to execute?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
26-10-2013, 12:21 AM
RE: My husband is a believer / need opinions
Only if they're serving on a jury.


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Momsurroundedbyboys's post
26-10-2013, 12:23 AM
RE: My husband is a believer / need opinions
Say there was no chance of conviction by jury? And it was the heat of the moment kind of situation? I really want to see if I can talk him out of this, just can't come up with it on my own.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
26-10-2013, 12:30 AM
RE: My husband is a believer / need opinions
(26-10-2013 12:10 AM)Smercury44 Wrote:  He says the only reason he didn't was because he feared eternal hell, and stipulates that if he did not believe in god, he may have committed murder.

Is he a Prison executioner ?

I think there are plenty of justifications for killing someone.
self defense, protecting others, taking my car space.

But scrubbing the un from unlawful just for political, religious reasons is no acceptable.
that's all the death penalty is for, buying votes from the hateful voters.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
26-10-2013, 12:34 AM
RE: My husband is a believer / need opinions
(26-10-2013 12:23 AM)Smercury44 Wrote:  Say there was no chance of conviction by jury? And it was the heat of the moment kind of situation? I really want to see if I can talk him out of this, just can't come up with it on my own.

I wouldn't do it. If the only thing keeping me from commuting a crime is the fear of hell, well that's not enough and a whole lot of people would already be dead -- including my own father.

There is only one reason I'd willfully take another's life, if myself or my family was in imminent danger.
Even then I'd actually try not to kill them. I'd blow someone's kneecaps off.

If there was no chance of being convicted by a jury, I'd say the case they really are guilty might be thin. How can I really know for sure beyond a reasonable doubt unless I actually witnessed the event or subjected to it.


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Momsurroundedbyboys's post
26-10-2013, 12:35 AM
RE: My husband is a believer / need opinions
Hi Smercury44
I can understand your problem and I can only give you my take on how I see it.

Do we have the right to take another person's life? Who decides if someone 'deserves' to die?

I should say that I am from the UK where the death penalty was abolished 40 odd years ago and I personally don't think anyone has the right to take another's life.

My view is based on the premise that death is too good for them and the fact that I don't believe in hell only strengthens this view:
If we could rely on god to punish murderers, rapists and child-molesters by sending them to hell, then I might take a different view but, as no god exists and therefore no hell exists, I feel that they should actually suffer a hell on earth.
Put them in prison, preferably solitary confinement, and throw away the key.

The other question is your husband's holding onto his, albeit slight, belief in god and hell which prevents him from committing murder. This kind of follows the criticism thrown at atheists by the god squad that the morals we have come from god and the scriptures. Poppycock.
There are moral and amoral atheists just as there are moral and amoral god-lovers. We are human beings at the end of the day and most of us respect the law of the land and, in a civilised country, these laws are largely sensible (and do not necessarily come from our religious past) and we follow them because we want to live in a world where people are decent to each other.

We only have one life and it is precious. I do not believe we have the right to take another's life.

Interestingly, my husband, a former police officer, does believe in the death penalty but that's another story....
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like englishrose's post
26-10-2013, 12:35 AM
RE: My husband is a believer / need opinions
(26-10-2013 12:30 AM)sporehux Wrote:  
(26-10-2013 12:10 AM)Smercury44 Wrote:  He says the only reason he didn't was because he feared eternal hell, and stipulates that if he did not believe in god, he may have committed murder.

Is he a Prison executioner ?

I think there are plenty of justifications for killing someone.
self defense, protecting others, taking my car space.

But scrubbing the un from unlawful just for political, religious reasons is no acceptable.
that's all the death penalty is for, buying votes from the hateful voters.

I agree with you regarding justifications (and he and I actually discussed the protecting yourself/others)

I just can't justify the thought that killing someone who is truly heinous, and deserves death, for reasons other than the fear of hell, especially when the individual is able to avoid our regular justice system is immoral.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
26-10-2013, 01:29 AM (This post was last modified: 26-10-2013 01:44 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: My husband is a believer / need opinions
(26-10-2013 12:10 AM)Smercury44 Wrote:  For some background: my husband is a believer. He leans more toward atheism than he'd probably like to admit, but sometimes I forget, and say things to him that he finds insensitive.

When we get down to whether or not god exists, we eventually end up at this point: if not for the fear of judgement and punishment, he might have murdered someone.

Bear with me. He would never murder anyone innocent, he means those people who really do not deserve to live. A person who molested/raped a child that he knew for example.

He says the only reason he didn't was because he feared eternal hell, and stipulates that if he did not believe in god, he may have committed murder.

Honestly, I don't have a response for this, I truly believe some people deserve to die, and I can't reason out how it is immoral to kill a person who TRULY deserves to die, and how to avoid doing this without the fear of eternal hell.

He agreed to letting me get your thoughts on this subject.

Do individuals have the ability to decide if a person deserves death, and does that person have the right to execute?

You and I differ very much on our notions of justice. That's fair, I've got a screwy view of justice. But since you ask, I'll lay it out for you. I'll use rape instead of pedophilia as the example crime, because pedophilia is a banned topic on this site.

I don't think people deserve things in a fundamental, absolute way. I don't think there really is an absolute moral right or wrong. (And if there is, I'm very, very confident that it is beyond our capacity to discover with any degree of certitude, so we might as well act as if there isn't.) We may construct moral codes as individuals or societies, and we may have certain moral tendencies engrained as instincts, and under those codes a person may deserve this or that punishment, but that is not the same as an absolute moral code.

To me, justice is not retributive. It's not about punishing wrong-doing, it's not an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth simply because that somehow balances the scales. Justice is, literally, making right... or at least, doing so as best you are able. It is making right a particular wrongdoing, such as through reparations or care for the victims. But more importantly than that, it's about making right the damage done to society by that wrongdoing, about repairing the breach that was caused, and improving the world such that it is less likely to happen in the future.

Is the rapist a horrible person who has done a great harm to the world and especially some particular individuals in it? Yes. But does killing him fix any of this? No. Imprisonment for a sufficiently long term will more than suffice to prevent him from raping again in all but the most unlikely scenarios (er, not counting prison rape... which for some reason isn't as bad? But it is? The prison system is seriously messed up), and that added degree of punishment won't significantly deter beyond the already existing public revulsion, shaming, ruin, and imprisonment, and I understand that the prison system is especially rough on certain kinds of rapist. Factor in the increased cost of death penalty cases and time on death row, triple that because the first case of whatever "rape earns the death sentence" law will almost certainly go before the supreme court as potentially a cruel and unusual punishment, and you've got a high cost for a more severe penalty when a lesser penalty would work pretty much just as well and a lot cheaper. (EDIT: Cheaper = more money to help the victims rather than punish the criminals.)

Can someone decide that a person deserves to die? Yes. Obviously. As evidenced by all the people who have made exactly that decision after, say, watching a news spot on religious parents who let their kid die because they believed in faith healing. But the key question is, would a vigilante killing be just? No, it wouldn't be.

Underlying the moral code of our society in the case of severe crimes is the idea of fair trial under a clearly constituted set of laws. Any deviation from that ideal starts us down a very dangerous slope. To kill someone, extra-judicially, because you think they deserve to die, is not just to make that decision for this one case, but also to espouse the idea that you amount to judge, jury, and executioner based on your own strong feelings, AND THAT THIS IS RIGHT. And the natural extension of this is that ANYONE can be judge, jury, and executioner on the basis of their own strong feelings. That killing a rapist in this manner would certainly become the topic of national debate would mean that this idea would be propagated to many who would believe in it and act on it, and more, act on it in different ways. What about terrorists? Muslims that bigots assume are terrorists? Sikhs that bigots assume are Muslims and ergo terrorists? A fair trial to determine whether they are in fact terrorists? What's that?

It's not exactly a slippery slope. One such killing won't automatically trigger widespread murder and anarchy. But it would serve to undermine the social order in negative ways. (I'm no big fan of the social order, but there are good ways to undermine it and bad ways to do so, and this would be a very bad way to do so.) In essence, the tradeoff is still there. Do you allow the social contract to continue to operate, even if it didn't quite hit the mark in this one case? Do you seek to improve the system so that it doesn't make the same goof in the future? Or do you tear it all to shreds... at least, your corner of it... just because of this one awful man? (Or woman. But usually man.) It's not so much the threat of hell, as it is the threat of bringing about hell on Earth.

What constitutes justice in such cases? Removing the offender from society so as to limit the future damage he (or she) can cause, and maybe attempting reform for the same reason. Seeing to the healing and therapy of the victims, the prevention of further wrong by that particular rapist or by any rapist. Finding ways to diagnose and treat rape impulses before they turn into actions. Finding ways to increase our security, without significantly harming society in other ways. (Everything's a tradeoff.) Examining ways in which society sometimes explicitly grants such people power over their victims, be it through religious authority or some other positional authority, and put in checks to that power.

At the root of the vigilante impulse you are describing is a mix of empathy, dehumanization, and helplessness. I won't suggest that you treat this by no longer caring about the victim, or trying to see the rapist as a potentially good person. But the helplessness, that you can do away with in positive ways. Support CARDV or your local equivalent, for example, or programs meant to help victims heal, or laws that will strip certain institutions of the powers that individuals within them abuse, or simply get out there in the public arena and shout hard and long against the attitudes and misconceptions at the root of rape until you help shift the tide. (Like, you know, making sure college guys know that drunkenness is not consent. Or that attempting to enforce chastity in a male-dominated hierarchical religious body has Consequences.) You don't have to be helpless to change this, but that's exactly what you will be if you dwell on the past. The past can't be changed, but the world we live in can be. Don't get caught up raging about what happened in the past, but focus on making it happen less in the future. One of these things leads to a better world, and the other does not.

And if you're still caught up on killing the rapist? Compare these two possible paths, tell yourself you can only take one, and then ask which one is better.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 7 users Like Reltzik's post
26-10-2013, 01:43 AM (This post was last modified: 26-10-2013 01:46 AM by GirlyMan.)
RE: My husband is a believer / need opinions
(26-10-2013 12:10 AM)Smercury44 Wrote:  Bear with me. He would never murder anyone innocent, he means those people who really do not deserve to live. A person who molested/raped a child that he knew for example.

My first thought wouldn't be to kill them. My first thought would be to molest/rape the motherfucker responsible and keep them alive as long as possible. .... Fair's fair.

(26-10-2013 12:10 AM)Smercury44 Wrote:  He says the only reason he didn't was because he feared eternal hell, and stipulates that if he did not believe in god, he may have committed murder.

You're married to this dude? He is need of correction. That shit's on you. Tongue

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
26-10-2013, 03:44 AM
RE: My husband is a believer / need opinions
Remove dick, remove problem Drinking Beverage

I dunno. I firmly believe that taking the life of another is beyond what is moral. I don't mind doing it if I feel it's necessary (protect family etc), but I'm not gonna justify it in any way.

On a social level, as in what's good for society, death might be an appropriate punishment for a multitude of crimes - you don't have to lock someone up and they push up beautiful daisies, much cheaper. Their family might have a vendetta with you though, that makes it more expensive in the long run...

It's just... say once someone's been murdered. Killing the killer... I wouldn't find it satisfying in any way. The person I miss is the person who's dead. Kill the murderer - what do I gain ? It won't bring back the dead person. Torture them... it still brings me no satisfaction...

I honestly don't know. I think best is to stick to what the law says. I wouldn't have a problem going against the law personally though, and I wouldn't feel bad about it if I did kill someone for whom I thought it was necessary, but you'd have to really push me to get me to that point and I'd take whatever the law sent my way by way of punishment or rehab or whatever without argument.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: