Archive for the ‘Morality’ Category

Death Penalty and Rome

February 1, 2010

Roman Catholicism today is mostly against the death penalty. For example, the contemporary Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the RCC’s view of capital punishment this way:

Capital Punishment

2266 The State’s effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. the primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.
“If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
“Today, in fact, given the means at the State’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender ‘today … are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'[John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.]

(source – punctuation and citation as in original, footnotes omitted)

Many folks will recall that Rome was not traditionally opposed to the death penalty, particularly for accused heretics. However, Rome’s view on this moral issue has been shifting to the liberal end of the spectrum, as evidenced by the CCC items above, which make capital punishment justifiable only in “very rare” if not “practically non-existent” circumstances.

Of course, the laws of Vatican City were originally drafted in older days, when this modernist mentality had not yet carried the day. Thus, the constitution of the Vatican City provided for capital punishment. However, it now reported that finally the laws of Vatican City have caught up to the shift in Rome’s view of morality (link to report). Thus, the Vatican City will join the ranks of other nations who are unable to obey the following commands:

Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

– TurretinFan


Morality and Piranhas

April 27, 2009

This video responds to a video by YouTube user Thunderf00t, entitled “Why do people laugh at Creationists? (part 29)”

In my video, I explain a few of the fundamental flaws in the argument that Thunderf00t uses. Thunderf00t argues that piranhas are vicious killing machines, but they do not (generally) attack each other. Thunderf00t asserts that piranhas do not believe in God, but they do not do whatever they want to do.

I observe that Thunderf00t is unable to enter the psyche of fish to determine whether (in fact) they believe in God. I also note that Thunderf00t is unable to enter the psyche of fish to determine whether (in fact) they do not do whatever they want to do. In short, I note that Thunderf00t’s entire set of premises relative to his argument are based on his own untestable assumptions regarding the psyche of fish.

From there, we turn to an investigation of his attempted application to human beings. We note that he claims that the same purely naturalistic mechanism that gives fish a code of morality also gives human beings a morality.

However, we note that we can get inside the human psyche and discover that, in general, human beings do believe in a divine law-giver and do intuitively understand that principles of right and wrong imply absolute and transcendent standards of right and wrong. Thus, if fish operate as humans do, we would expect to find that they too believe in God, in divine morality, and so forth. In short, Thunderf00t’s hypothesis of sameness between fish and humans actually undermines his argument.

Finally, we conclude that Thunderf00t’s argument is just another irrational attempt to deny that the moral law, written in the consciences even of atheists, comes from the moral law giver. While Thunderf00t attempts to go ad hominem on Ravi Zacharias, he has no cogent argument for morality being produced through purely natural mechanisms.



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