Is murder wrong...?

This is a preface to a post I plan to make after this question has been hashed out.


In Judeo-Christian Theology there are a number of Commandments.
(10, 14 or 613, depending what particular theological discussion you're in at the moment.)

One of them is roughly translated as "Thou Shall Not Murder". I'm sure we're all familiar with the distinction between murder & killing, so I'll skip that.


So here's the question...

If we accept the axiom that murder is wrong, is it wrong because God said so, or did God say so because it is wrong?


Comments

  • Wouldn't that be the same thing assuming you believe that God exists and is the ultimate authority?
  • What did you do?

    Serious answer: I'm agnostic. I do consider murder wrong. My reasons I recognize relate to a "do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you/do unto others as you would have them do unto" framework.

    Killing without justifiable necessity or just cause... how much does the victim suffer? Assuming you made it quick, not much. However their friends, family, etc. may be relegated to a lifetime of suffering and consequences.

    In that way killing without a damned good reason is wrong, within the philosophy the Judeo-Christian God kept pushing man towards.

    Maybe the question of whether it's wrong because God said so, or God said so because it is wrong is missing the point.

    Maybe God said so because that was necessary for a philosophy with a center that would hold, and would prove functional and advance man.

    I mean you could have a supreme being that contradicted itself left and right, arbitrarily and at convenience, creating systems of situational morality, rules of abrogation, and lots of things that sound nice on the surface but have so many loopholes the sleaziest of lawyers would be proud. You could have a deity that declared such behavior its eternal doctrine. But we've seen how well that works out.
  • Murder deprives a person of his right to live, without justification.

    The right to live naturally emanates from the fact of our being.

    Unjustifiably depriving a person of his natural right to live is inherently wrong.

    You don't need God to define Murder as wrong.

  • Zed said:

    Wouldn't that be the same thing assuming you believe that God exists and is the ultimate authority?

    The question is couched in religious terms but it's a philosophical question having little to do with God and everything to do with a person's paradigm.
  • MC Escher said:

    So here's the question...

    If we accept the axiom that murder is wrong, is it wrong because God said so, or did God say so because it is wrong?


    It can only be the former.
    dgm said:

    Murder deprives a person of his right to live, without justification.


    The right to live naturally emanates from the fact of our being.

    Unjustifiably depriving a person of his natural right to live is inherently wrong.

    You don't need God to define Murder as wrong.

    Nothing is more natural than killing.  Without God, we're discussing politics, law, ethics, or popularity, not morality.  Mankind alone is an insufficient moral authority.  Both the story of Lot, and the nature of Christ's incapacity to sin, support this Christian orthodoxy.
  • P -

    The question is in regards to murder, not killing.

    I don't know if that would change your view of course, but they are two different things.
  • I think that differentiation requires an examination of the concept of "justification" in this context.

    When is it justifiable to kill another animal of your same species?
    - To eat it?
    - To remove genetic/mating competition?
    - To remove other resource competition? (Food, territory, etc)

    Do we differentiate ourselves from other non-sentient animals?
    Does our morality emanate from our sentience, or from our creator?

     
  • dgm said:


    Does our morality emanate from our sentience, or from our creator?

     

    That is the question I am getting at, although at an even more fundamental level.

    Like Assembler vs Object Code.


  • Slap said:



    Nothing is more natural than killing.  Without God, we're discussing politics, law, ethics, or popularity, not morality.  Mankind alone is an insufficient moral authority.  Both the story of Lot, and the nature of Christ's incapacity to sin, support this Christian orthodoxy.

    or Cain/Abel even...
  • MC Escher said:

    P -

    The question is in regards to murder, not killing.

    I don't know if that would change your view of course, but they are two different things.

    My second paragraph was sloppy; I was responding to DGM in the first three sentences, and really only returned to your question in the last sentence.  I entirely acknowledge the difference between murder and killing.  For us to consider a killing to be a murder requires a moral component to the choice to kill, something absent in animals killing other animals.  A moral component only makes sense to me within the framework of God delegating free will to us.  Whether we exercise that free will in accordance with God's will or against it is the only rational way of defining moral and immoral choices, including murder.  This gets difficult in Christianity in edge cases, since the entire purpose of Christ's manifestation of God as man is to provide an example to follow, while employing our capacity for reason, to replace a system of relatively straight forward laws.
    At least, that's what I remember from third or fourth year theology class at Ignatius...

    Also, the latter option in your question implies a higher authority than God.
  • jennifer said:

    Slap said:

    or Cain/Abel even...

    This is who I immediately thought of.  Cain killed Abel before the law was given to Moses but it was still considered murder and Cain was punished for it.  Ergo, it was wrong before God said so.

    To the larger question, if there is a morality outside of God's will then God isn't really God He's just "a god".
  • But is that the larger question?

    What if this is a philosophical discussion, not a religious one?

    What if the question isn't about God, but about Man?
  • so ask the question
  • edited July 2016
    I guess he doesn't want to.

    Probably something along the lines... if he has to ask we are too stupid to get it, with a nippleheads inserted at some point. ;)
  • jennifer said:

    so ask the question

    I did. At the beginning.

    I'm not trying to be mysterious or anything...

    I'm just saying that there's a side to the question OTHER than the religious aspects.

    There's also no right or wrong answer. It's about perspective.
  • MC Escher said:

    This is a preface to a post I plan to make after this question has been hashed out.

    this one

  • Oh....

    Duh.

    Later on. I need a regular keyboard, as opposed to an iphone and a nose picker
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