By Craig Funston:
A ton of thoughts flood my mind as I start this column, mostly based on the myths surrounding this sixth commandment. In fact, this may be the mostly hotly-contested of them all.
Much of the confusion, in my mind, revolves around the words “kill,” and “murder” (as in, Which one is it? And, Are the terms interchangeable?). It also touches on the sanctity of life, capital punishment, pacifism, and self-defence, just for starters.
To try to develop each one of these hot-button topics, yet limit them to just a few columns, is a near-impossible task.
So when I say “myth,” I am referring to all sorts of loopy ideas that come out of this prohibition, not the commandment itself. And needless to say, in keeping with my other columns about the relevance of the Ten Commandments for our world, it would be a better place if we followed it (and the rest of them)—absolutely no doubt about it.
Because of the wide variety of Bible translations, interpretations and applications, all of which are worth sincerely looking into, I could be writing till Remembrance Day (at the point of writing, that would be four columns away). Now that would be ironic, wouldn’t it?
I’ll be hard-pressed to squeeze my thoughts into a few columns, so I plan to pare my thoughts down and do just one or two. (I plan to, but I don’t promise to—a big difference.)
The word in the original language, Hebrew, has the thought of murder, not kill. It has the thought of slaying, crushing, and dashing to pieces. The main thrust is actually the “intentional taking of the life of another human being.”
So this is where we must be clear-headed and rational when applying the Bible to this dialogue. There can be extreme views on either side, and both tend to miss the point of the passage.
For starters, then, these commandments are directed at how humans relate to their Creator (the first four) and mankind (the next six), and fits right in to the theme of humans getting along (or not) with fellow-humans.
This is not what Bible students call a “proof text” against hunting animals. Animals are not in the context, for starters; as well, the culling and killing of animals is actually encouraged in the Scriptures. There is a humane way for hunting animals, especially when there is a need for food or protection; plus, there are a lot of examples for animal sacrifices in the Old Testament.
It likewise does not allow any discussion on the evil of gun control. Every time there is some senseless murder, and there are a lot of them these years, the rabid Left start spouting off about gun control.
By the way, have you ever noticed that when liquor or cars contribute to the death of someone, they don’t rise up and call for the banning of liquor or cars? But when guns are involved, the same mindless rabble want to ban guns? It’s the people that commit the crimes need to be dealt with, not guns. The Liberals have it all backwards. I understand that there are more deaths by knives than guns these days.
Nor does it touch on capital punishment. I am not coming down on either side of that argument at this point. I fear innocent men and women have been killed needlessly by the state, but that is not the issue here. I’m simply saying one can’t argue for sweeping clemency based on this text.
An inherent danger in this sort of topic is when one has a tentative grasp of truth (more bluntly stated: people who know very little about a subject) become very dogmatic and defensive. Don’t make “you shall not murder” mean something entirely off-base. It’s a warning I take seriously for myself, by the way.
See I told you: I’ll need another column to flesh out my thoughts. In the meantime, play it safe.