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You shall not kill Footnote

You shall not kill truth
You shall not kill love.
You shall not kill honor.
You shall not kill self esteem.
You shall not kill reputation.
You shall not kill hope.
You shall not kill the ability to hold a job.
You shall not kill peace.
You shall not kill friendship.
You shall not kill life.
You shall not kill freedom.
You shall not kill ambition.
You shall not kill knowledge.
You shall not kill that which gives the above.

          You may put these in any order you wish. You may add to this list, but you may not remove from this list.

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You shall not kill

          I have problems with this one. I do not see the word “except” in this statement.

          Some old testament linguists say the word used for kill here has a slightly different connotation than the American English word “kill.” The closest English word might be “murder.” But this is not really exactly right either. We have to be careful how we translate things.

          There are many who want to follow the exact words of the Bible. Those people need to examine this closely.

          Everyone else takes liberties with the Bible and interprets it in whatever way fits their own desires, so here goes:

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You shall not kill except:

1.         Animals
2.         Non-humans.
3.         To protect your own life from a killer.
4.         To protect someone else’s life from a killer.
5.         The enemies of your country in times of war.
6.         Killers who have been tried and convicted.
7.         Someone who is hopelessly, painfully, and slowly dying.
8.         Humans who are of a different race.
9.         Members of a non-Christian religion.
10.       Babies who have not yet been born.
11.       Humans who are of a lower class.
12.       Some people just need to be killed.
13.       Anyone else if you so choose.

          Oh, what the heck, just ignore this commandment.

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          How far down this list did you get before objecting? If God is the creator of all life, then all life is important to God. All life is sacred. Native Americans had respect for the animals they hunted and killed for food. They apologized to the spirit of the animal for killing the animal’s body. They thanked the animal’s spirit for its contribution to the life of the hunter, his family, and his tribe. A Jewish butcher also is required to say a prayer when killing an animal. What is so valuable about life that God told these two different peoples that respect of the animal’s life is important?

          I feel all life is sacred. Killing of any kind is wrong. But, I eat meat, and have killed animals for food. I was in the military. Many of my actions were dedicated to making the killing of the “enemy” more effective.

          Have you gone through the trauma of putting a family pet to death to end its suffering?

          What are your feelings when the doctors come to you and tell you that there is no hope? Now is the time to shut down the machines that are circulating blood. Your loved one is really not with you any longer, but only some of the bodily functions are still running.

          How many of you would not kill someone who was in the process of killing your child? How many of you would not kill if that was the only way to save your child’s life? There are very few people who would not kill under certain circumstances.

          There are too many people who get too far down the list of exceptions. My own feeling is the sense of horror should start even with the first item. Is that inconsistent with my own way of life? If you find me a hypocrite then you should not take my advice.

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1.    Exodus 20:13

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copyright© 2007 George L Snyder