Correct me if I'm wrong but there are copious examples of laws against murder in all it's varieties, levels and incarnations on the books. They don't guide those misguided individuals anymore than the three words I cited earlier.
No, you are not wrong in this. You are just missing the point.
Homicide is rarely the result of vagary in our homicide laws. Occasionally, as in the case of the Treyvon Martin shooting, it may be unclear just how the law should apply in a particular circumstance, but this tends to be the exception rather than the rule. I suspect that most murderers, when they commit murder, realize they are violating man's law.
This stands in contrast to the examples I've provided in which it is not always clear whether the killing violates laws attributed to god. Reasonable people of good faith may come to very different conclusions as to whether, for example, doctor assisted suicide or killing in combat or judicial execution or even the killing of an abortion doctor violates the commandment. In each case, though, I think whether or not the act violates secular law is clear.
It is also worth noting that the bible prescribes death for a variety of acts many moralists no longer consider quite so grave as to warrant the punishment, including adultery, false prophecy, blasphemy, and breaking the Sabbath.
Thus, when someone says, in effect, "god has provided perfect moral guidance through religion and it is only man, in his corruption and feebleness, who has fucked it up," too much credit is given to god, and not enough to man. Or, perhaps, too much blame is assigned man, and not enough to god.
So please stop taking outrage on what a small percentage does on the rest of the group that believes.
I don't presume to tell you what to be outraged over. Please return the courtesy.
That I blame "what a small percentage does on the rest of the group that believes" is a canard which I would have thought beneath you. While I believe religion has in one way or another caused or contributed to a great deal of human suffering, I can't imagine where you got the idea that I blame all members of any religious group for the bad acts of a few of its members, in the absence of endorsement of those acts. I have never, for example, blamed all Christians (not even all fundamentalist Christians) for murders of abortion doctors committed in the name of Christ. I am likewise certain that many Catholics are critical of the benighted dogma of their religion regarding homosexuality.
Moral distinctions and decisions in the end come down to the individual. Too few folks these days look at thinking for themselves..
I agree with the latter point. I am not sure what you mean by the former.
Please allow me to remind you of what I said in an earlier post in this thread about those who claim religious justification for their acts: "Scripture tends to be cryptic and full of self-contradiction. Like tea leaves, its reading tends more to reflect the sensibilities and prejudices of the reader than of the author." It seems you agree with this.
Religion.. like guns.. don't kill people. We do, using one as a tool to do it and the other as a justification. And there are plenty of both justification and tools to do it with.
Religion has frequently provided a ready source of justification to those who would commit barbarous acts. Today's conventional wisdom is that those who found warrant in the bible for launching wars or stoning adulterers or burning witches or flying airplanes into office buildings got its message wrong. The view is comforting to those who like the syrupy view of god and religion, but where, really, is its touchstone?
I don't know that it profits us to distinguish between the role of religion and the role of people in killing or other nastiness, especially for those who believe, as I do, that religion is the handiwork of man. We regulate guns (to the extent we regulate them) in the hope that by so doing we will reduce the number of instances in which people will use them to commit homicide. We regulate religion -- to the extent only of separating it from government and insisting on the primacy of secular laws -- in the hope that we will reduce the number of instances in which people will use it to oppress and harm others. The point here is that both guns and religion are too dangerous to be left entirely unregulated.
I'm just pointing out you come down pretty hard on religion as a whole rather than trying to look into how it, like anything else, is subverted for those who give lip service to it rather than follow the spirit of the idea.
Your insistence that the failings of religion lie only in its being "subverted" by those who refuse to "follow the spirit of the idea" only begs the question of what, exactly, is "the spirit of the idea?" As I've tried to point out, the expression of the "idea" has been more than a little bit muddy.
I'm done. I shan't be reading/posting in here anymore I think.
Your call, of course.