Thou shalt not kill

From Religions Wiki
Revision as of 18:17, 28 March 2012 by Arensb (talk | contribs) (Counter-apologetics: Rephrase. Collapse redundant counter-arguments.)
Jump to: navigation, search
Ten Commandments
Protestant numbering
1st 6th
2nd 7th
3rd 8th
4th 9th
5th 10th
Catholic numbering
1st a b 6th
2nd 7th
3rd 8th
4th 9th
5th 10th

Exodus 20:13 Bible-icon.png:

13 Thou shalt not kill.

Deuteronomy 5:17 Bible-icon.png:

17 Thou shalt not kill.

Exodus 34:21 Bible-icon.png:

21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

Some translations read: Thou shall not murder.


  • This commandment is often cited as proof of the morality of the Bible or the necessity of the Ten Commandments. However almost every law code in the history of the world has included this rule. A society in which people were free to kill each other with no adverse consequences would almost certainly fall apart very quickly, or at least fail to thrive.
  • The Jewish people in the story traveled across the desert before finally being told that killing isn't acceptable?
  • Thou shalt not kill, unless thou be on Crusade, or if the other fellow be a heathen.
  • Does this mean that capital punishment is wrong? What about self-defense? What about war? What about euthanasia requested by the terminally ill? The drawback of this law is absoluteness—good laws make distinctions. Since the actions and commands of God burst with bloodthirstiness, this commandment seems to lose its import. Besides, prohibitions of murder existed long before the Ten Commandments or the Israelites appeared on the scene. It is not as if the human race never would have figured out that it is wrong to kill without some tablets coming down from a mountain. Laws against murder and manslaughter based on self-preservation and social stability have found their way into almost every culture before and after Moses, and it would be odd if the Israelites did not have a similar principle.

In United States law

  • This commandment is a part of U.S. law. Laws in the united states generally prohibit the killing of another individual. U.S. law goes beyond a simple "do not kill" statement. It makes exceptions in some cases for the killing of another individual (justifiable homicide, personal self defense, etc). U.S. law also goes further in that it defines tiers of severity for different types of killing. First Degree murder is considered more of an offense than less malicious killings (manslaughter, etc.). It is worth noting that this prohibition appears in some degree or form in virtually every society in the world, whether it is a Christian dominated society or not.
  • Many apologists (such as Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron) reference Matthew 5:21-22 Bible-icon.png as another form of "murder." In this passage, Jesus warns against being angry at your brother without cause, and seems to equate it with murder. This act, however, is not illegal in any part of the United States - in fact, most would consider it absurd to attempt to bring charges on anyone who was angry at another without just cause.