Friday, 8 February 2013

jesus rejects the Death Penalty

I saw a christian guy on Facebook calling for the death penalty, and I sighed so hard I needed an oxygen mask afterwards. It's sad when people are that blind to the core message of their own religion, in this case mercy and forgiveness. Sure, there's plenty of evil, wrong, nasty shit in the bible, enough that I'd disregard the whole thing as a source of worthwhile morality, but I can at least acknowledge that there is a general pattern of niceness and mercy to many of the jesus bits of it. So long as you skip the bits like Matthew 15, where jesus condemns the pharisees for not sticking to the rule about stoning naughty children to death (seriously, look it up). Perhaps my expectations are too simple, but I'd have thought the bulk of christian philosophy would ape the bulk of what's attributed to jesus, not the exact opposite of it, rushing for bloody revenge.

At the same time, I think it's even sadder to mindlessly draw your morality and ethics from a single stupid old book. I prefer to think about the consequences of my actions and decide on the what to do based on that, not follow a scripted "morality" that wasn't written for me, or my culture, or my millennium, or my language. The interesting thing about all the quotes below is that I've actually harvested them from a variety of different versions of the bible, cherry-picking the ones that agree with my anti-death penalty sentiments. Sticking with any one version would, due to differences in choice of words, lead to inherent contradictions and ambiguity. And that's before you go actively looking for the bits of the bible that purposefully say exactly the opposite, like "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," or the child-stoning instructions in Matthew 15 and the old testament sources it refers to. It really is a shit source of moral guidance, because it says everything is both forbidden and compulsory. I could just have easily written a piece titled 'jesus accepts the Death Penalty'.

Typically, the theists' response to pointing out these contradictions is that you're not supposed to only read the text as is, but also pray and get extra clarification magically pushed into your head, because that's obviously a far more efficient system, not at all open to misunderstandings and intentional deceit. But even if that really does work reliably, if the moral guidance you're getting that way is, "Kill people. Stick swords in them and throw rocks at their heads," then fuck the nostril-knobbing bagel-fuck out of that shit. That's no "morality" I want any part of.

Anyway, here's my list of bible quotes opposing the death penalty. I doubt I'm the first to draw such a thing up, I realise some are a bit off the mark, and I certainly got lazy after a while and skipped a few at the end of the new testament for being too repetitive. But I'm sure someone can find a use for these, if only to get some christians to oppose the death penalty (for the wrong reason).

Exodus 20:13 - You shall not kill.

Deuteronomy 5:17 - You shall not kill.

Psalm 37:8 - Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret - it leads only to evil.

Proverbs 11:17 - The merciful man doeth good to his own soul

Proverbs 13:4 - The law of the wise is a fountain of life.

Proverbs 14:16 - A wise man is cautious and turns from evil, but a fool is easily angered and is careless.

Proverbs 14:17 - Short-tempered people do foolish things

Proverbs 24:17 - Don't rejoice when your enemies fall; don't be happy when they stumble.

Proverbs 24:29 - Do not say, "I'll do to him as he has done to me; I'll pay that man back for what he did."

Proverbs 29:22 - An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.

Isaiah 5:20 - Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Matthew 5:7 - Blessed are the merciful.

Matthew 7:1 - Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

Matthew 7:12 - Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.

Matthew 19:18 - And jesus said: Thou shalt do no murder

Luke 6:37 - Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

John 8:7 - Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone

Romans 12:17 - Do not repay anyone evil for evil.

Romans 12:19 - Do not take revenge

Romans 12:21 - Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.