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Showing posts from December, 2015

Know thy enemy

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We are told ad nauseam by our president and his administration that ISIS is not Islamic; but members of ISIS certainly understand themselves to be Muslim. After all, they call themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,[1] and claim to be the only true and faithful representatives of Islam. One can gain a pretty good understanding of their religious motives by simply listening to what they have to say in their latest promo video:

We know, of course, that not all Muslims are radicals or terrorists, hell-bent on world conquest. The problem is that Muhammad was. Consider the teaching of the Quran and the Hadith (the sayings of Muhammad). You can find numerous passages from both sources quoted and explained in their context here. And since the adherents of a religion generally attempt to obey the teaching and follow the example of its founder…


[1] Alternately, ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The Levant is a geographical term for the territory on the eastern shore of the …

The Ethics of Killing

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A post I wrote a couple of years ago, The Ethics of Killing in Self-Defense, received some renewed attention this past week. Judging by some feedback I’ve received, I thought it might be helpful to set the discussion into a larger context, The Ethics of Killing in general, you might say.
Homicide The sixth commandment safeguards human life with the prohibition, “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13). It should be pointed out, however, that the verb in the commandment (Heb., ratsach) is more general in meaning than “murder.” Kill is the single word that perhaps best captures its meaning. It indicates a range of actions from murder, to causing death by negligence or reckless behavior.
The word which is used in modern jurisprudence is homicide, derived from the Latin homō, meaning man, human being, and the suffix -cide, which indicates an act of killing. Thus the term refers to the killing of a human being.[1] Homicide is a neutral term. Any killing of a human being, whether justified or not, …