Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Intent, Motive, Reason...and Other Concerns
I pose a philosophical puzzle: Killing is not always murder.
Murder, I would define, is the intent to kill with a vicious purpose outside the conventions of war and without just cause to justify your actions. I would further argue that the definition of murder is arbitrary depending on the available evidence, the intent, and the means. Murder is an intent, not an act. The act is to kill, the murder is the mindset in which the action is taken.
One who kills another for breaking into their home brandishing a weapon and pointing it at someone would not be murder...because the intent was self-preservation which can arguably be reasoned due to the circumstances. And therefore isn't murder.
But take the above example, but then we learn that the killer was coaxed by way of immoral means with the intent of causing him to break into the man's home out of provocation, with the killer knowing he'd react in a particular way, then...it would turn from self-defense killing to murder.
NOW...I'm going to venture into very muddy water here...and apply this reasoning to another circumstance:
Abortion: It's not murder because it does not fit the above criteria that defines murder:
A woman who ends her pregnancy due to the threat of her life ending has not committed murder because her intent was not to end the developing life within her with malice or hatred or malicious intent. But was out of self preservation. By the standards we have established above...abortion for the purposes of self-preservation is justified.
A woman who ends her pregnancy due to a rape is not committing murder because the act which caused her pregnancy was outside her ability to control. Therefore, to end a pregnancy which was unintentioned, unwanted, and a consequence by which she had no personal responsibility to cause...her intent is not malicious, but is pragmatic and reasonable and is also out of self-preservation. The prospect of being forced to raise a child she did not willingly participate in the conditions which brought it's conception which brought it's growth into being is not murder either.
Now: This third thought...before hand I want to stress I DO NOT ENDORSE elective abortion personally...but, this is my reasoning behind why I don't actively seek legal sanctions to oppose it either:
A woman who has six children and his impregnated again and cannot afford any more children may be ethically justified to end her pregnancy out of pragmatism. The ending of a pregnancy to preserve a healthier standard of living for her other children is not malicious nor hateful...it's not with the intent of causing harm to the unborn for reasons that are generally associated with murder. It is a combination of self-preservation and protection of her already born children. And therefore is not murder.
I'm not going to diminish how this issue touches so many people. It's a difficult matter to reason fairly because passions are inflamed so vigorously. Life is precious in all forms and that's never a bad thing. It's when you push your view onto another that it becomes harmful. Whatever the moral/spiritual/physical consequences may be, it's not for us, as human beings to pass that judgment on others. Our role as responsible people is to support others in their personal decisions, whatever those may be in this matter. To do anything else is to move away from "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Posted by Gabriel Givens