Debate/Topics/Murder

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Murder is the intentional taking of the life of another person. Killing an individual may not be considered for various reasons, such as self-defense.

Legal view of murder[edit]

Not all cases of illegal killing constitute murder. For example, unintentionally caused deaths due to recklessness or negligence are treated in most countries as the lesser crime of involuntary manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide. Similarly, intentional killings without premeditation are sometimes charged as voluntary manslaughter rather than murder. In addition, some illegal killings have legal defenses such as insanity or diminished capacity).

Some cases of premeditated, intentional killing have lawful excuse and thus are not legally murder. These include killing non-surrendered enemy combatants in time of war, killing a person who poses an immediate threat to the lives of oneself or others (i.e., in self-defense), executing a person in accordance with a sentence of death, and, in some countries, abortion under defined circumstances. Sometimes killings under extreme provocation or duress are legally excused as justifiable homicide.

Most countries allow conditions that "affect the balance of the mind" to be regarded as mitigating circumstances against murder. This means that a person may be found guilty of "manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility" rather than murder, if it can be proved that they were suffering from a condition that affected their judgement at the time. Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and medication side-effects are examples of conditions that may be taken into account when assessing responsibility. A somewhat different defense is insanity, which is almost exclusively used in cases of psychosis such as that caused by schizophrenia. Also, some countries, such as Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom and Australia, allow post-partum depression, or 'baby-blues', as a defense against murder of a child by a mother, provided that a child is less than a year old. See also crime of passion.

Christianity[edit]

Old Testament[edit]

Do not commit murder. Deuteronomy 5:17 [1]
Do not commit murder. Exodus 20:12 [2]

New Testament[edit]

...no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:15)
murderers... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. (Matthew 5:21)
Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill (Romans 13:9)
Listing sins: Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings (Galatians 5:21)
Listing sins: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. (Revelation 9:21)
Listing sins: murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars (Revelation 21:8)

Abortion[edit]

Many Christians, especially conservative Christians, oppose abortion, capital punishment and euthanasia on the grounds that it ends a life and thus constitutes murder.

Justified murder and execution[edit]

There are many passages in the Bible that could be construed as justifying either murder or capital punishment.

Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)
You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17 NAB)
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives. (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)
A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death. (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)
Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)
If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)
But if this charge is true (that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)
If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)
Suppose a man or woman among you, in one of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, has done evil in the sight of the LORD your God and has violated the covenant by serving other gods or by worshiping the sun, the moon, or any of the forces of heaven, which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then that man or woman must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NLT)
One day a man who had an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father got into a fight with one of the Israelite men. During the fight, this son of an Israelite woman blasphemed the LORD's name. So the man was brought to Moses for judgment. His mother's name was Shelomith. She was the daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan. They put the man in custody until the LORD's will in the matter should become clear. Then the LORD said to Moses, "Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard him to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. Say to the people of Israel: Those who blaspheme God will suffer the consequences of their guilt and be punished. Anyone who blasphemes the LORD's name must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the LORD's name will surely die. (Leviticus 24:10-16 NLT)
Suppose there are prophets among you, or those who have dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles take place. If the prophets then say, 'Come, let us worship the gods of foreign nations,' do not listen to them. The LORD your God is testing you to see if you love him with all your heart and soul. Serve only the LORD your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. The false prophets or dreamers who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of slavery in the land of Egypt. Since they try to keep you from following the LORD your God, you must execute them to remove the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 13:1-5 NLT)
But any prophet who claims to give a message from another god or who falsely claims to speak for me must die.' You may wonder, 'How will we know whether the prophecy is from the LORD or not?' If the prophet predicts something in the LORD's name and it does not happen, the LORD did not give the message. That prophet has spoken on his own and need not be feared. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22 NLT)
So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved. When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, and are heartless and unforgiving. They are fully aware of God's death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway. And, worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. (Romans 1:24-32 NLT)
For the LORD had said to Moses, 'Exempt the tribe of Levi from the census; do not include them when you count the rest of the Israelites. You must put the Levites in charge of the Tabernacle of the Covenant, along with its furnishings and equipment. They must carry the Tabernacle and its equipment as you travel, and they must care for it and camp around it. Whenever the Tabernacle is moved, the Levites will take it down and set it up again. Anyone else who goes too near the Tabernacle will be executed. (Numbers 1:48-51 NLT)
The LORD then gave these further instructions to Moses: 'Tell the people of Israel to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you forever. It helps you to remember that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. Yes, keep the Sabbath day, for it is holy. Anyone who desecrates it must die; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community. Work six days only, but the seventh day must be a day of total rest. I repeat: Because the LORD considers it a holy day, anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death. (Exodus 31:12-15 NLT)
All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)
If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)
A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)
If you find it (that a person in a town worships another god) and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. (Deuteronomy 13 NLT)
Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)
They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)
If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, "You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord." When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through. (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)

Islam[edit]

Most Muslim scholars believe that all murder is forbidden in Islam. Some people claim, however that Islam is tolerant of murder, such as writer Robert Spencer [3].

And slay not the soul which God has forbidden except for the just cause (Koran 17:33)
If anyone killed a person not in retaliation for murder or to spread mischief in the land, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole of mankind (Surah Al-Maaida 5:32)
Fight for the sake of Allah those that fight against you, but do not attack them first. Allah does not love the aggressors. (Koran 2:190)
The Prophet Mohamad said to his army before going to a fight "Depart in the name of Allah, and by his help. And kill not any old man nor young boy nor child, nor woman, But be good doers for Allah loves those who do good. (Hadeeth)

Allah guiding human hands[edit]

It is not us who slay them but Allah, in order that He might test the Believers by a gracious trial from Himself. (Koran 8:17; cp. Surah Al-Baqarah 2:190)
Allah "will punish them by our hands (Koran 9:14).

Martyrdom[edit]

Some sects of Islam believe that those who kill or are killed by unbelievers will enter Paradise after death (Koran 9:111).


fight (non-Muslims) and let them find harshness in you (Koran 9:123).
So when you meet (in fight/war), strike off the heads of the disbelievers and wound many of them, then bind a bond firmly (take as captives). Thereafter, either for generosity or ransom (according to what benefits Islam) until the war lays down its burden... (Koran 47:4).
slay or crucify or cut the hands and feet of those who wage a war against Allah and His messenger, that they be expelled from the land with disgrace (Koran 5:33).

Buddhism[edit]

One of the Five Precepts is I undertake to abstain from harming living beings. [4].

Some material for this page was taken from Wikipedia's GFDL article on murder.