Friday, February 8, 2013

Wiccan Ethics: Is it a sin to Kill?

I was very hesitant to write about this subject because, well, it’s a hot button for almost anyone who follows any religion, whether its Wicca, Christianity or Buddhism.

Is it wrong or sinful to Kill?
This is a topic that came up in the Temple Illuminatus chat room the other night and I added my two cents there, so, if my readers are from that chat, I’m sorry if this seems redundant but my points here might be a bit more clear now that I’ve had time to think them through.
Many people when reading this question will say YES, killing is wrong. A Wiccan will call upon the rede of Do as you will an HARM NONE.

I want to point out the fallacies in this statement and why it is too simplistic.
First is that many people will say this until they are in a situation of Kill or be Killed. Maybe you would not kill another person to save your own life, perhaps your religious beliefs are so far ingrained that you feel as though that killing a person, even if they are going to kill you, is simply two wrongs not making a right. What if that person was going to kill someone else? What if that other person is your husband or girlfriend, son or daughter, mother or sister or brother or nephew? Could you hold onto the idea that killing is wrong even in that situation? Would you still kill the would-be killer?

What about in situations of death row? Is it wrong to kill a serial killer, a mass murderer, a serial rapist, a pedophile? Does your compassion go so far as saying it is wrong to kill these people?
Now, I want to point out that in Wicca and many Earth-based religious beliefs, all things have life. If it is wrong to kill, is it wrong to kill all living things? Do animals count? Are you a vegetarian or vegan who believes it is wrong to kill any living thing? What about plants? Scientists have proven that plants actually fear being harmed or killed even though we cannot hear their screams. Is it wrong to kill them? Should we simply stop eating or building homes from trees or even walking on the grass for fear of killing any living thing?
By the way, these are just things to think about…

Now take it in another direction.
Go back to those people on death row. I bring forth the idea of a man who is a pedophile who killed three children after abusing them. Does he deserve to die?
Now, for the many of you reading this who believe in reincarnation and that we all choose the life we live in or at least the lessons we are supposed to learn in this life before we are born, that our actions in our past lives effect the events of this one.

Those three children knew, before they were born, that they were making a choice in this life that would have an equal outcome. They had past-life relationships with the man who did this to them.
This concept comes from a book I read by Dick Sutphen. In this book he did a past life reading of a woman who wanted to know why she was in an abusive relationship with a man who, turns out, raped her daughter as well. Turns out the three of them had a past life in a similar situation in the middle east during a time when it was common for men to take on the daughters of his harem as wives even at a very young age. The man brought this idea over into this life, whether he meant to or not along with the idea that women are beneath him. The daughter, in this past life was abandoned by her mother so in this life she decided she would make the choices necessary to force her mother to stay with her and care for her – the rape and abuse she suffered ensured her mother’s nurturing care.

You may have an issue with this idea but, what if the three children made the choice to settle some sort of karma with the man who killed them? How can we know whether or not the children were not murderers in a past life? For all horrible people were children once – Hitler, Stalin, the Virginia Tech murderer, were all once children.

Another change in direction
What about soldiers? Are they committing a wrongful sin by killing people who could pose threats to their country, their freedom, and their families?
Are they evil for killing?

I once heard that soldiers carry with them the karma of their killing. Many soldiers were soldiers in their past lives and continuously live out this lifestyle in each lifetime. A soldier in the Roman legion dies at the hand of a Gaul. He is reborn in WWII as a Nazi soldier killed by an American bullet. He is then reborn as an Afghani fighter who is kills himself for his religion, country and family.
This is a cycle that can only be broken by the conscious choice to turn away from that path and find a new purpose.

I propose that killing is not wrong or evil in a sense. Killing is simply a decision. It is an action that has a reaction. Those that live by the sword or gun or noose die by the sword… Those that harm others will, in turn, be harmed by others. This is karma. It does not depend on whether or not others deem or judge it wrong or a sin, it simply is.

If you do not want to be involved in the karma of killing, do your best not to kill. It is up to you as to how far you go in this decision whether it simply means not joining the military, voting against a politician who is pro-death penalty, becoming vegetarian, or even wearing softer shoes so that when you walk on the grass it does as little damage as possible.
Life is full of these karmic choices and it is part of experiencing life to think about them, decide on them, live them.

I know this post is going to anger and upset a lot of people. I want to make it clear here that this is merely an argument that saying it is wrong to kill is far too simplistic a statement.

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