What Type Of Killing Is Worse?

During a conversation with my mother last night, the question arose: is killing in the name of God worse than other types of killing? We were talking about Christians that are being killed by Muslims in the midst of the various uprisings. It horrendous, of course, that anybody should be murdered in cold blood for no reason other than the religious beliefs.

Perhaps because of my contrarian nature, or perhaps because I have a special place in my heart for whichever group is being villainized by the media and the government at any given time, I pointed out that many Muslims are killed every day by American drones shooting hellfire missiles. Some may be people who have declared war against the United States, but many are just innocent bystanders, callously labeled as “collateral damage”. Also, let us not forget that many of tyrants in the Middle East are not even Muslims at all, but Nationalists and secular Marxists. In Eygpt and Libya, and now in Syria as well, the rebels that were being so ruthlessly slaughtered were Muslims. Do we have sympathy for Muslims who have perished trying to overthrow despots?

Harking back to the question at hand, is it worse to kill in the name of God than it is to kill for power? Is it worse to kill in the name of God than it is to kill in the name of nationalism? Is it worse to kill in the name of God than it is to kill in the name of spreading Democracy?

I answer with a resounding NO.

Murder is murder. Killing in the name of God is not worse than killing for any other reason. For if this wasn’t the case, we would have to conclude that current Muslims who kill Christians based on religion alone are more morally reprehensible than almost all of the truly prolific killers throughout history.

Hitler was a German nationalist first and foremost. Its true that he killed Jews based on religion, but he also wiped out homosexuals, the elderly, the crippled, and Jehovah’s Witnesses in mass numbers. An interesting note about the latter is that they were not exterminated because of their religion. The Nazi party gave them a chance to go free if they would renounce their faith and take an oath of loyalty to the Nazi party. The majority refused and suffered a deplorable fate. It wasn’t their faith that got them killed per se,  but rather their refusal to submit.

Stalin was an atheist. He had a penchant for killing his own people. His main motivation was power.

The same goes for General Mao.

The United States bombed civilian centers in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Japanese empire in the lead up to World War II did not rape and plunder based on religion at all. Its mission was national glory.

The Clinton administration imposed a sanction on Iraq that lead to 500,000 Iraqis starving to death.

In terms of sheer quantities of innocent people killed, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama is a much more brutal killer than any of these Muslim extremists.

If we go back about 750 years and take a look at the Mongols, we’ll see that they raped, sacked, pillaged, and brutally murdered anything and everybody that they came across. Religion played no part in their destruction.

Was the motivation to murder some how more pure for history’s greatest tyrants because they didn’t kill in the name of God? Of course not.

That being the case, we would do well to look at who is killing the greatest number of innocent people. The quantity of murder being carried out is surely the best indicator for who are the most despicable people alive today.

I don’t have the numbers on hand and would like to avoid making spurious claims. However, only certain modern nations have the technology and weaponry to kill massive numbers of people in one fell swoop. While murder with swords and guns executed at close range are certainly graphic and violent, it is an extremely inefficient way to kill. Bombs, missiles, plains, and tanks are needed to wipe people out enormous amounts of people.

To conclude, the case seems iron clad to me that killing in the name of God does not make a murder any more or less acceptable. Killing is killing. If it is done for any other reason except self defense, it is heinous and immoral. When an atheist or a nationalist commits extreme acts of violence, it is every bit as horrible as a when a Muslim commits a brutal crime against a Christian in the name of God. Likewise, when dictators take out innocent Muslims who are tired of being oppressed, it is a horrific crime that deserves to condemned in the strongest terms possible.

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