Thou Shalt Not Kill
The sixth commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Kill", does make sense to me. I am yet to know of a single advantage to deliberately setting out to kill someone, the want or perceived need to murder. To be clear, I am not addressing manslaughter in this post.
I understand that a desire to murder may be present in some. It may be considered necessary as an act of revenge, an attempt to gain power or to remove a threat. In all cases, I feel that the killing is selfish, hypocritical, undemocratic and unjustified. Essentially you do become morally bankrupt when you resort to murder. You become as morally bankrupt as those who murder.
Consider murder as revenge for terrorism. When the September 11 attacks occurred in America, there was a significant loss of life. The perpetrators were murderers. Innocent victims were murdered by ideological violence. No matter the violence, or the number of deaths, how can murder of the perpetrators be justified? I know that it probably feels good to some to know that the perpetrator is now dead, removed from the physical world and no longer a threat, but why is it the right thing to murder in retaliation of murder? This is especially troubling when America often holds itself up as the bastion of Christianity in the West. The same Christianity that espouses, "Thou Shalt Not Kill". The same Christians that cheered upon hearing of the death of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Again, why was/is it right to murder in retaliation for murder?
One would assume that atheists would be prime candidates for this type of moral bankruptcy. Atheists don't believe in God and I suppose, by extension, probably don't follow the Bible. An atheist without morals grounded in the Bible would surely be a killing and raping machine. However, history shows that disgusting acts of violence, rape and murder are not isolated to atheists. Surprisingly, the moral arbiters of our world, Christians, are soaked in violence, rape and murder. Some sources report that a large majority of prison inmates are aligned with Christianity. Sure, with a large population of Christians in America, you might expect a correlated percentage, but seemingly, the good book and the associated moral fibre don't go hand in hand.
When it comes to crime in general, I feel that the "Forgiveness Escape Clause" plays a major role. Commit the crime, pray for forgiveness, absolve your responsibility and escape negative judgement in the next life. Secular law seems to be the only mechanism that does not forgive and for good reason.
For more heinous actions such as murder, capital punishment and an eye for an eye, I sense a little blood lust and a power trip. I sense that those groups and individuals backed by religious dogma, feel that they are doing the work of God. Christians, doing the work of God, in contradiction to central tenants of the Bible. Amazingly, George Bush received a message from God regarding Iraq - God told George Bush to end the tyranny in Iraq. This, of course, had nothing to do with "Invading Iraq" being in the family DNA.
Next, let us observe the actions of Texas Governor, Rick Perry, an Evangelical Christian. Governor Rick Perry holds the record on the number of death row executions in America. Why? "Thou Shalt Not Kill" need not apply here. Never mind that innocents may be put to death. Never mind those pesky rules in the Bible. Just assume the role of your God on earth and fulfil your desire for justice by means of murder.
Disturbingly, during a recent conversation I had, one fellow was able to justify his adherence to the rule of "Thou Shalt Not Kill" by explaining that they, themselves, had not killed. This is bizarre and shows a moral disconnect between the support of killing and the actual killing. Therefore supporting the death penalty for prisoners, is not killing. Maybe this is how Governor Rick Perry adheres to "Thou Shalt Not Kill". Governor Rick Perry only signs the documents authorising the killing. Some other individual controls the injection, the gun or the noose. In other news, eating animals that you have not killed yourself, is also not considered killing.
The hypocrisy doesn't end here. Recently it seems fashionable to denigrate atheists in the military. Apparently there are no atheists in foxholes. A pitiful attempt at making atheists seem like cowards who are not mentally or physically tough enough to fight the good fight in battle. To be good enough for war, to fight for your country, to invade another country for it's oil, you need God on your side. You need to be a Christian. You need to be a Christian warrior for God. Who does all of the killing in war? "Thou Shalt Not Kill" seems to only apply when it suits. Personal gain, lust for power, also known as, "What A Christian Wants", will always trump biblical adherence.
I feel that adherence to the Bible is a facade. Adherence to the teachings of the Bible is essentially optional. The facade is at it's most powerful when a Christian wants something, desires something. Invoking the invisible and undetectable God for their purpose, gives them the green light. Murder and crime are sure to happen, with God on the Christians side.
Murder overseen and sponsored by the Christian God is perfectly reasonable in the moral mindset of a Christian. Forgiveness will be granted. It is Gods will. It is a Christians will. Thinking that any of the commandments, or the Bible, make a shred of difference to Christian actions and/or morality, is absurd.