What is killing? Well the dictionary definition is: to cause death/the act of causing death. But is that enough? I s there another type of killing? A type that is justifiable. For example if a person steals or puts you in mortal danger is it acceptable to take their life in return? But more importantly is it morally right? In this journey I hope to answer all these questions if not more, but also explore the views of theists, atheists and agnostics this kind of study (of morals, virtues and ethics) is called Deontological study.Sometimes it is “tolerable” to kill in dire consequences and extreme conditions, the people who follow ethics that are variable are called Relativists and the people who stick with their rules through-and-through are known as absolutists, as they are absolute with their rules. In Some religions if you kill you are branded as a “sinner” for life and have to live your life in shame, however in some, so called “religions” it is their duty to convert and they don’t care how they do it. This group of people are often called fanatics or extremists for an obvious reason.Absolute or relative? In the world there are two types of ethical beings; on one side we have relative ethics and on the other we have the absolute ethics.
The two “sects” have different ways of life. Relative ethics are a set of moral rules that are only to be broken if at the cost of lives. Absolute ethics state that you should never break the moral code even if you are to die, which I think you will agree is pretty extreme. For example, imagine a scenario two Buddhist’s, one is a relativist and the other is an absolutist.The ethics of Buddha clearly states, “Refrain from destroying living creatures” but in the same scenario there would have been two different consequences the relativist’s name, in this case is Bob and the absolutist’s name is Jim. Lets see how they cope with this scenario: Bob’s story Bob was peacefully sauntering down the pavement enjoying the sun the shining down lighting up his face, suddenly a man clad in black wearing a balaclava tackled Bob to the floor the assailants hands were clammy and Bob struggled to get free.
He spied a small sharp stone not very far from the attackers leg. His only chance was to stab him and injure him before the rogue could do any further damage. He quickly took his chance, all Bob could hear was a sickening crunch, by this time the police would have already intervened and the attacker was arrested and it turned out to be a racial attack .
Bob was commemorated in the paper and they all lived “happily ever after” apart from the balaclava boy. Jim’s storyJim like Bob was also walking down the pavement and also was attacked by a fascist gasbag but unfortunately being an absolutist Jim had know means of aggression or self-defence he couldn’t cause his assailant any bodily harm and so suffered grievous pain after that incident he later died in hospital, no one was there at his funeral. Life is not just like this of course as even the same act in the lifestyle of today could lead to two different outcomes.
You just need to be at the right time in the right place.Unfair Vs Fair. This chapter is all about the same action and always a different reaction, for example if you are a soldier it is tour duty and kill. The job that has been taken compels you to kill or be killed, however on the street if you kill another human being and cannot prove to be in self defence you will now find stories that are of people being killed of what you know already I would like you to decide. Relatives and friends of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian man shot by police in London, have expressed their grief, shock and anger at the killing.
His London-based cousin, Alex Pereira, paid tribute to him but sharply criticised authorities for the error. His grandmother said there was no reason for considering him a terrorist. The 27-year-old was fatally shot after boarding a train at Stockwell underground station on Friday, a day after failed attacks on the network. (Courtesy of BBC news) The officer captured on video apparently pushing a man during the G20 protests in London has been suspended, police have said. Ian Tomlinson, 47, died from a heart attack minutes after the incident on 1 April, near the Bank of England.
The Metropolitan Police suspended the officer after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) called for that action to be taken. The IPCC has launched a criminal investigation into the death. It has yet to interview the officer involved but said it intends to “as soon as possible. (Courtesy of BBC) A religious view We have addressed the issue of relative and absolute views but we haven’t looked at the religions themselves, nearly all religions believe killing is wrong yet records in history proved that there have been more religious wars than normal invasions.
There was WWII and The Crusades. Both of which failed miserably.Many religions have written in their “holy” book that killing is wrong.
In fact very few have actually said that killing is right. In the main religions Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism all of them have had killers and wars all of them intentionally. Additionally there is a feud between Islam and Hinduism all related to the separation of India and The Partition. At the time of Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi the Muslims wanted their own country. The best British architect drew a line in the middle of India, this was no easy task, because if the Muslims had more land the Hindus would complain and vice-versa.
When the partition was created then the Hindus on the Muslims border were dragged out of their houses and humiliated, the same happened to Muslims on the Hindu side of the border. They were then slaughtered mercilessly soon after Ghandi died the Muslims border was called Pakistan and Hindu’s side was called India (Hindustan). But that is another story, countless people were killed, murdered and beaten that is why we still know it today. WWII was also because of religious reasons but more of Jew discrimination rather than anything else, but The Crusades was a completely different matter.England declared war on Israel in “the name of God” and killed countless Saracens; unfortunately they still lost the war. The Sri Lankan Civil War between the Buddhist Sinhala majority and Hindu and Catholic Tamil ethnic minority has been characterized by outside observers as a “Buddhist holy war” from the viewpoint of the Sinhala Buddhist fundamentalism. The Sinhala hatred for Tamils has been linked to Buddhist religious fundamentalism, and their atrocities on non-Buddhist Tamils been criticized was provoked by a religious-nationalist desire to cleanse the country of non-Buddhist, non-Sinhalese ethnics.Atheist views on killing An Atheist doesn’t have a divine being that he could ask for advice; instead he has to rely on his moral sense of right and wrong.
Learning through experience, now you would think that over 5’000 years of experience benefited humans but every day thousands of people make at least one mistake. Scientists think that the human moral “code” evolved with the Darwinian theory. It has also been proven that, our closest relatives, monkeys also have a highly developed sense of right and wrong. For example A runaway train on a line which threatens to kill a number of people.There is a person “Denise”, standing by the track switch on one track there are five people tied down. However on the other track there is only a single person tied down what should Denise do? Our morals tell us that we should save the five people and kill the remaining one person. If you think out of the box you would say what if the person on his own was Albert Einstein or your mum.
If we change the situation so that the train can only be stopped by a large weight from a height but in this case the only large weight is a very fat man sitting on top of a high bridge admiring the sunset.Now the question is would you push the man (if you can) of the bridge? Another example similar to this would be: There are five people who need a donor within a day and no one has booked a slot. The only option is a healthy man sitting in the waiting room with five healthy organs. Now the question is to kill that man to save another person. A person with a good moral sense should deny this question.
The difference between the first and the last two is that you are using someone else’s life for your own problem or issue. This rule doesn’t only apply for lives but anything else really.A situation where someone can die is with the story of Oscar: In Oscar’s case there is a piece of diversionary track with a large iron weight that can be released by a switch, unfortunately there is a hiker walking beneath the weight and he will be dead like the very fat man. In this case it would be morally right to pull the switch as you are not using him he is just collateral damage.
We haven’t used him in any way shape or form. He just got unlucky. Conclusion In my opinion it is never right to kill, as life is very precious and it isn’t something you can get back or buy. Once it has gone then it will be gone forever just like that.