6th Commandment


#1

THOU SHALT NOT KILL


As a cradle Catholic, my study has revolved largely around the Gospel. I have never been a fan of the OT and lately have been troubled by some of it’s content. Would someone please help my understanding of this?

Whilst reading Exodus, Moses and the ten commandments, I have found myself deeply troubled. I read after the commandments were given Moses proceeded to break the 6th commandment (no murder, please) by eliminating those who would not follow the ways of the Lord. I realise that some make a distinction between killing and murdering it’s okay to kill things but not murder. Essentially if God commands that you take somebody out - it’s killing, not murder… I’ve heard that here many times, but I still cannot help but wonder that a law to guide all men was set out with foundations in murder (Moses killed an Egyptian and approximately half of the tribes of Israel). Is this how you see it?

It gets worse for me- I think that No.6’s closest translation is ‘Though shalt not murder the innocent’, so using that I can explain away the odd unjust chap being killed, (though it still doesn’t sit well with Jesus teachings for me) but the slaying of the firstborn of Israel? Were they not innocents?

Someone help me please!


#2

Welcome to Euthyphro’s Dilemma. tomchance.org.uk/research/philosophy/platoaristotle/euthyphro


#3

God is the author of life. He has the right to take it or not. He can call the innocent home any time according to his wisdom and he can call the wicked to judgment any time as well.

Murder is wrong precisely because we presume to usurp God’s rightful authority to take mortal life.


#4

But Moses did the killing? :confused:


#5

[quote=FightingFat]But Moses did the killing? :confused:
[/quote]

By whose command?


#6

As a follow-up, I think this causes some people to worry that God might ask them to act against their conscience, and they wouldn’t know what to do. But as the Church teaches, we cannot act against our conscience without condemning ourselves.

God may have given people a revelation such that they could see at least part of the bigger picture of God’s plan with sufficient certainty that they could act with a clear conscience when asked to take life, and therefore know that they were being submissive to God, and not, say for example, Satan.

catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0403fea3.asp


#7

[quote=FightingFat]THOU SHALT NOT KILL

As a cradle Catholic, my study has revolved largely around the Gospel. I have never been a fan of the OT and lately have been troubled by some of it’s content. Would someone please help my understanding of this?

Whilst reading Exodus, Moses and the ten commandments, I have found myself deeply troubled. I read after the commandments were given Moses proceeded to break the 6th commandment (no murder, please) by eliminating those who would not follow the ways of the Lord. I realise that some make a distinction between killing and murdering it’s okay to kill things but not murder. Essentially if God commands that you take somebody out - it’s killing, not murder… I’ve heard that here many times, but I still cannot help but wonder that a law to guide all men was set out with foundations in murder (Moses killed an Egyptian and approximately half of the tribes of Israel). Is this how you see it?

It gets worse for me- I think that No.6’s closest translation is ‘Though shalt not murder the innocent’, so using that I can explain away the odd unjust chap being killed, (though it still doesn’t sit well with Jesus teachings for me) but the slaying of the firstborn of Israel? Were they not innocents?

Someone help me please!
[/quote]

FF,

(I’m coming from a non-Catholic, but sympathetic-Catholic, perspective, so be forewarned. :D) I was reading a a book on Islam, and of course, Islam has its critics who make the argument similar to the one you make: if Muhammad was a prophet, how could he have waged war, ordered people killed, etc.? The author (who is a well-respected, Western-educated Muslim currently living in the U.S.) suggests that one has to look at religion and society as people did in the past, before we had the current church-state separation in the West.

In ancient Israel, as well as in other parts of the Old World, to be a member of a religion was not a private affair. It was also to be a member of a community, a society, a nation, a state. So to relinquish one’s religion, essentially meant a form of treason, or betrayal, against society. Now, today, we also punish treason with imprisonment, or even death – but we no longer punish people for leaving a particular religion, because we’ve been able to separate religion from the state.

Thus, when Islamic law (which is currently being re-evaluated by modern Muslims) sentences death to someone who leaves Islam, in the pre-modern context in which that law was formulated, leaving Islam was seen as treason against society, against the community.

Likewise, it seems to me, Jewish law wasn’t simply “religious” – it also functioned as a set of social, cultural, and political laws. And thus to reject the laws given to Moses, would have meant treason against the newly forming Jewish nation, and thus would have called for the death penalty (in the extreme cases).

As far as innocents being killed, several options are open, it seems to me:

(1) God didn’t really say for innocents to be killed;
(2) Moses misinterpreted God’s command, and went a bit too far;
(3) (and the most morally troubling) God ordered innocents to be killed, but only so that greater good could come out of it.


#8

OK

So it goes back to that old saying that a person is capable of any act once it is justified, and we can apply that to any God at any time we need to.

The system works well and will continue to do so as more and more people are being swept in every day. Those few who slip out the back door, well they can be taken care of in some ‘justified’ manner or condemned for their ‘unbelief’.

Would it not be true to say there are no conflicts in a justified system and if any are pointed out then that’s justification enough to remove who ever can be identified as a point of conflict?


#9

[quote=FightingFat]OK

So it goes back to that old saying that a person is capable of any act once it is justified, and we can apply that to any God at any time we need to.

The system works well and will continue to do so as more and more people are being swept in every day. Those few who slip out the back door, well they can be taken care of in some ‘justified’ manner or condemned for their ‘unbelief’.

Would it not be true to say there are no conflicts in a justified system and if any are pointed out then that’s justification enough to remove who ever can be identified as a point of conflict?
[/quote]

Could you clarify this or re-state it in a different way? I’m not sure I’m understanding what you’re saying. Then again, maybe it’s just me. :slight_smile:


#10

I understand it as Thou Shall not Murder, and see a difference between kill and murder.

Murder is a premeditated act of hate. The desire to destroy one of God’s creation for your own gain (whether monetary gain or a gain of conscience like revenge). Truly an evil act.

Killing, I see as different. Sometimes it is unavoidable or necessary to stop a greater evil (such as the second world war, stopping murderous Nazis). It is certainly acceptable in self defense as Christ Himself told his followers to sell their cloak and buy a sword as the world would be hostile to them.


#11

Just to set the record straight, seeing that this is a Catholic discussion, “Thou shall not kill” is the 5th Commandment.

The 6th Commandment is “Thou shall not commit adultery”.


#12

[quote=Timidity]Just to set the record straight, seeing that this is a Catholic discussion, “Thou shall not kill” is the 5th Commandment.

The 6th Commandment is “Thou shall not commit adultery”.
[/quote]

I was just about to say the same thing! I thought I was in the twilight zone for a second there! :eek: My thought was “And for the past ten years I have been teacing that the 6th commandment was thou shall not commit adultry!”


#13

Oooopps! :slight_smile:


#14

FightingFat,

I don’t have a good explanation that I am satisfied with, but I would like to put in a note that seem to have been missed. It regards the massacres in Numbers and Joshua, when the Israelites were conquering the Promised Land and just before then. They were to destroy the Canaanite culture because if they didn’t, that culture would infect their pure worship of God (as it wound up doing) and would lead them into sin. So this wasn’t just cold-blooded murder for its own sake; it was a measure of self-protection.

  • Liberian

#15

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