Friday, June 18, 2004

Uh... "Judgment" maybe?

I guess this one's going to be serious (he said, as if he was ever funny).

I'm going to demonstrate that, in the context of a religion that predicts a final reckoning before the Almighty, the sin of killing is basically equivalent to the sin of the fallen angels. Those religions include, obviously and in particular, Christianity and Islam, both of which, I believe, have a notion of Satan as a fallen angel. (If I'm wrong in this, please, correct me.) Notice also that I wrote "sin of killing" rather than "sin of murder"; that's exactly what I mean. I include in "killing" every act that causes a persons death and is at least as intentional as "a depraved indifference to human life."

Here we go.

Nowadays, we don't, as rule, consider (small?) blasphemies to be particular evil, or even evil at all. Most people, when they hear someone use an infix-type-thing like "Oh, Jesus-fucking-Christ..." are likely to be as put out by the "Fucking" part itself as by the blasphemy. At the same time, I think most Christian people, presumably Muslims as well, still think of blasphemy as a sin in itself, even if they're hesitant to actually label a given utterance as blasphemy. The one act that (I, as a Christian person, would hope) everyone would call blasphemous is inserting oneself in God's place, or trying to. This is the fallen angels' sin, after all. It's also Eve's. I'm not going to discuss why this turns out to be so loathsome--in fact, I'm not perfectly satisfied that it is--but within doctrine, this is the supreme sin. Let's take this as given.

We also have to remark that both Christianity and Islam assume that a person's moral resume becomes Read-only material upon his death. Even with Purgatory, there is no notion of undoing or counter-balancing the sins of one's life--it is a severe mercy, but the judgment is laid upon the soul that life made. We will take this as given as well: Death is the end of the game.

Now, suppose that Adam acts to cause Brian's death, in the sense indicated above. In fact, Adam has made two decisions. First of all, he has decided to end a life. In general, the moral question in this decision is something of a muddle, but it's not really germane here. Second, Adam has decided that the story of Brian's soul is complete. The judgment Brian will face is, I believe, determined by Adam in that he has implicitly judged that Brian was, by that moment, as good as he was ever going to get. Hence, Adam has taken a chair among some Ultimate Tribunal--but the judgment is supposed to be God's alone (last I checked). You can get pitchforks at Walmart, I think.

So what do we have? If you kill someone, you are committing a fully diabolical crime, The Crime. You get two mortal sins for the price of one.

I'm tired now, so I'm not going to try to treat ramifications. By the way, I don't think Predestination gets you out of this. I haven't read this argument before, but I don't claim that it hasn't already been made. In fact, if you've seen it before, I would like to know. Thanks.