Thursday, October 17, 2019

Augustine's View on the Death Penalty Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1250 words

Augustine's View on the Death Penalty - Essay Example "He needed and wanted God, convinced that he could never achieve happiness in God-fewer worlds. But at the same time, he could not deny the sometimes overpowering presence of evil in himself and the world," Burt (1996, p.13). Augustine argued that all beings came from one God and such a God cannot be the cause of evil. But he acknowledges that there is Evil in the world and law can only control it, but cannot completely eliminate it. It is not easy to point out at a single cause of evil and the person who creates evil is responsible for that part of evil that is his creation. The Justice of God will punish the evil-doer. Asked closely by Evodius, Augustine says that if we believe in the laws, we should try to understand whether the laws punish a murderer justly or unjustly. When it comes to killing, Augustine favours the killing in self-defence and feels that it is not exactly a murder. Also he says that some murders like a soldier killing an enemy cannot be classified as murders, because the soldier here is merely an agent of the law, because he did not kill to satisfy his own desires. At the same time, law, which orders him to kill, does not have any desires of its own. He did not stand by a strict understanding of moral autonomy which, he thought could be an error consisting of impossibility. "Where human beings are concerned, there is no such thing as being free from a law that is imposed from without; to deny the authority of the eternal law is not moral adulthood but moral perversity. Moral uprightness therefore consists in submission to this eternal and immutable truth, which is not of our own making," says Williams in Introduction (xvii) of On Free Choice of the Will. Augustine had firm opinion about law and justice and thought that in a civilised society, it is important to have proper legal machinery to guide the citizens, and without that guidance, citizens might become too free and encroach another person's rights which could be the root cause of evils and evils do not occur without a human cause. "Such evil could not occur unless someone caused it" (p. 1). Despite legal compulsions, people tend to commit grave crimes, in the hope that they would be able to hoodwink the law. Augustine lays great stress on 'learning', so that the citizens could stay away from crime with knowledge that came from the learning. Still he agrees that they can turn away from the knowledge and commit the crimes. "Perhaps because they turn away from learning and become strangers to it.it follows that doing evil is nothing but turning away from learning' (p.2). Augustine is of the opinion that despite learning and the law regulation, people can still commit grievous crimes to others and such people should be punished by the law. He also agrees that there is another kind of murder which is not sinful. When Evodius asks him about the murder that is not sinful, ".when a judge or his representative puts a criminal to death.these people do not seem to me to be sinning when they kill someone" (pp. 6-7), Augustine agrees that such people are not called murderers. It is a just killing. He states that a real, intended crime should never go

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