Since I write for an audience and population that, generally, consists of Christians, I'll use their tenets to base the discussion on. What discussion? Why, the idea that we ever, under any circumstances, have the right to take the life of another human being!
Consider, first, that the Ten Commandments has as one of its demands "Thou shalt not kill". I have found numerous Bibles that have altered that to a more convenient "Thou shalt not murder" but that is a case of semantics for political reasons. "Kill" is a very exacting word while "Murder" can be ascribed to the "unlawful" taking of a life. Thus, capital punishment and war can be separated from this commandment and made to seem as if "The State" has the tacit approval of God. We can kill anyone whom we believe to have broken one of our nation's laws (for treason or other capital crimes) and still be on the side of God. We can cause the deaths of millions over our petty patriotic objectives and still have our priests and ministers and other representatives of God tell us that He blesses our acts of horror.
The basic problem with this premise, of course, is that the true word from the Commandments is "kill", not "murder". To be banned by a greater power from killing simply means that taking the life of another is wrong, period! He allows no exceptions. If you shoot someone over love, money, revenge or out of some sick religious or patriotic fever, you have committed a sin against your fellow human being and God, no questions allowed.
Yet, since so many of the hundreds of millions of people who have died in wars over the centuries have died because of religious lies and greed, the Bible had to be changed to pretend that God might support the killing of his children for inconsequential reasons.
The Crusades were based on the excuse that God hates everyone but those who profess their belief in Christianity and so these narrow-minded "warriors" traveled thousands of miles to kill anyone who believed differently and to reclaim ownership of land that had been challenged and posessed by different religions and rulers for thousands of years. They killed for dirt and religion and ideas, but only the dirt was based in truth. They raped and stole and destroyed in the name of an apparently very despicable God. Their theologians were able to misrepresent the ideals that God's last emissary to earth had expressed and to give clearance for the mass extermination of any of God's children who simply worship Him in a different way.
This nastiness continues the world over. In the Middle East the Islamic faithful go to their heaven if they die in the process of killing Christians or Jews or any of the multitude of "infidels" their leaders create, again due to a complete misrepresentation of their beliefs fostered by these same violent leaders. The Germans made an science of killing massive numbers of Jews in support of their heinous political beliefs. The Christians in Bosnia kill and rape and destroy in the name of their style of God and patriotism. Some Christians in America ambush and murder anyone with a different belief regarding abortion, with the quiet approval of the leaders of their church (not damning an appalling act executed in the name of God is equal to approving the act). The Ku Klux Klan and other groups of bigots use the Bible as a buttress for their need to hate and murder others over religion and skin color, again using sick misrepresentations of their God's actual words and requirements.
I refuse to believe that any of the thousands of religions that man has invented comes anywhere close to a true description of any God who is worth worshipping. Any God who encourages only some of His children to hate and kill others of His children is a sick and demented creation of human beings. I cannot hold with any system of belief that tries to tell me that it gives me or anyone the right to take a life we do not own, particularly over differences in the amazingly shallow, purile and self-centered belief systems man has invented.
If there is an afterlife, it is one that God has created for His children for their use when He is ready to bring them there. There is no circumstance, save the immediate defense of life, in which we have the right to over-rule God's choices. Even the idea of self-defense is asinine since we happily produce such a varied supply of weapons and then keep them to protect us against others who bought those same weapons from us. Killing is wrong, no matter what your favorite pious harlequin tells you.
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