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Monday, July 21, 2008

A Skewed View of Justice

One of my biggest problems, personally, with Christianity per se is that of the injustice of it. There is the great injustice of belief=saved and unbelief=damned; no other qualifier other than belief. There is no basis on goodness or kindness or anything else. Any good teaching that Christianity has is overshadowed by the fact that you don't have to abide by those good teachings, just as long as you believe those teachings are written by God. If a Christian murders an atheist, the Christian goes to Heaven and the atheist is damned to Hell.

I think this has warped Ray's sense of justice, as revealed in his latest post:
If a criminal is shown mercy by a good judge and his case is dismissed, it wasn’t dismissed on the basis of the criminal’s goodness or his standard of ethics. It was entirely on the basis of the goodness of the judge.
I can't follow every case every where, but I did take law classes in college and read a bit on justice and can't say there is any provision for dismissing some case because the judge is merciful. Once the criminal is found guilty, the judge imposes sentence. A good judge chooses an appropriate sentence and punishment -- term and conditions of incarceration and/or service/fine. A bad judge chooses an inappropriate sentence and punishment. An exceptionally bad judge "dismisses" the case. I am sure in the final category the judge would not sit as judge for long. By any standard of law, God fails as a good judge.

When it comes to sentencing, a judge can show mercy and a good judge shows mercy where warranted. The criminal's goodness and standard of ethics most certainly come in to play here. The judge must consider the type of crime, the behavior and attitude of the defendant, the character of the defendant, the history of the defendant, etc. If the defendant is young, has no history, and seems to have made simply a stupid judgment call, a good judge indeed shows mercy. If the defendant is a career criminal, with a lengthy history, and the perpetrator of yet another violent crime, a good judge does not show mercy.

Any judge who would "dismiss" the case of a convicted murderer by showing mercy is a bad judge, not a good judge. The criminal has committed a crime and been convicted of it; a dismissal by the judge would be a crime against the victim.

If God were a good judge (which he may be, as the Christian representation of him may be wrong), he would judge based on the content of their life and composition of their heart. He would not say "you believed I existed, despite no evidence for it, therefore anything bad you did is irrelevant and you get rewarded" and "you did not believe I existed therefore, even though there was no evidence for it, anything good you did is irrelevant and you get punished." That would make him a bad judge.

The whole sum of Christian justice is that you are judged on a criterion completely immaterial and irrelevant to your crimes, that another can redeem you by taking on the punishment themselves, and that you are responsible for the crimes of those who have come before you. Those are the ethics of the average Christian.

Ray concludes his post appropriately by referring to it as "terrible justice." With that, I could not agree more.

1 comment:

flinging dust said...

I saw that last line in his post about 'terrible justice' and I laughed. I wondered if maybe some sliver of his mind that hasn't been completely blacked out by his religion might actually be calling out to him saying 'Ray, this is TERRIBLE !!' Of course, he wouldn't listen to it even if it was.