Sunday, August 2, 2009

keep it light

well this is what i look like while i'm writing this post, so dont take it tooooooo seriously.

i was watching everybody loves raymond, and a commercial came on for house. it was a commercial for a rerun i think, i dont know because i dont watch that show, it looks crazy boring to me.

anyway the commercial was about an episode where there's a man who is dying that is in prison for killing four people and they're debating whether to save him or not. immediately it made me think about what i would do, what "should" be done etc. i thought of all this mainly because seth has actually brought this kind of thing up recently a couple times. i know he's had some conversations with some of his friends lately about when killing is 'right' or if it ever is.

i'm sure most of you know that i fully support abortion being legal and if i found myself in a position where i felt that was my best option, wouldn't be opposed to going that route. first of all i have to say this just so the argument doesn't end up about abortion, because that's not really what we've been discussing and there are two things i need to say about abortion just to make clear why its not really something i'm interested in talking about... one is that to me its not necessarily killing someone, the jury is still out on that one for me, and two is that i dont necessarily think its 'right' per say.. im just not opposed to doing things i think are 'wrong' or could be considered wrong by others or even myself if the situation calls for it.

ok so moving on... i dont agree with there being a death penalty. it seems strange to me to dispose of people because they made choices that hurt others. i certainly believe that people should be punished for doing horrific things, but death seems very drastic. so hopeless. like once you've done something all of us decide we can't forgive, we're done with you, we decide that you have no hope and nothing left to offer anyone. its a weird idea for me because on one hand i totally understand the argument seth puts forward, which is that killing is wrong in any situation. across the board. never ever right. ever. killing for what you determine is justice does not make killing right. so on one hand i agree, i feel like i get that point and even if you feel justice when you kill because that person has wronged so terribly not only does that not make the action of taking someone else's life ok, but who are you to determine what justice is? there are people who want to kill others because they believe god told them to, that their god wants them to. in their minds, this is justice. to us it is terrorism. if a man killed your child and you killed him to you it is justice, to his family or ones who loved him it is still wrong despite his wrongs. this doesn't mean seth doesn't understand the idea that people kill for 'justice', he just believes it doesn't make it right.

now at the same time i have a hard time agreeing completely because it is SOOOOOO ridiculously hard for me to even decide that something is 'wrong'. using the words wrong and right is one of the hardest things to do for me. in my mind there are choices that are better for you than others, but not necessarily right or wrong... and even when i believe something is wrong, that doesn't make it wrong. that just makes it my own conviction. we have decided as a society that killing is 'wrong', but really what we are saying is that its not best for us, in certain arenas. it doesn't make things any better, it usually makes things worse, not just for the people who's families get someone ripped out of them but for the ones who kill and find something cold inside of them that will never go away.

again, at the same time as thinking of all of this i think about how i, myself, believe that oppressing another persons rights is wrong.... haha... seriously though.... so oppressing someones rights to the same things you decide you have rights to in my mind is wrong. its injustice. its not just not whats best for both parties but i feel that it is actually injustice. me believing this doesn't make it true. to me there's not much that i believe is right or wrong. i define righ and wrong like this: there is only what is better for me, what will make me grow, move forward, be a better person and love better. there is only what is better for our society, what will make us grow, move forward, be a better people and teach us to love each other better. but even then i am deciding what i think will make me or my society better, and a thousand other people will see it the opposite way. we have decided collectively that we believe killing is wrong.... at the same time, we have decided it is very acceptable and very necessary. i'm certainly a person who believes in government, rule and order. which is very contradictory to my own nature, because i dont see in black and white. is the only answer that things that are wrong are just sometimes necessary?

i want to know what people's views are on this. obviously i think myself back and forth and i have a stance, but my stance leaves me with no true black and white... which is exactly where i usually am.


-bobby- said...

Um... Abortion, death penalty... What is right? What is wrong? With the group of radical Christians that follow you, don't you think you just leaned into a left hook?

Elissa Rachael Parrish said...

love this. many people need to read it.

since we talked about it at beth's i've been thinking about this a lot. you said, "i'm not saying there are absolutes. i'm just saying i'm not going to claim what the absolutes are". to me this is a very mature way of looking at right and wrong. there is a right and wrong. it just seems incredibly self absorbed and pompous to claim that I know what it is.

all i can know about god or jesus or abortion or whatever is how it affects me; what it does to me; who i am because of it. what else do we have to go off of? we can't tell someone else that jesus is the only way. he may be the only way for me because who i am because of him. but i am not at a place in my life that i can tell anyone else that he is the only way for them.

i may change my mind at some point but that is where i am right now. when it comes to moral issues i like the death penalty, it becomes more difficult because it involves other people. how will we teach our kids about moral issues? my two year old doesn't know what is right for her or if she thinks the death penalty is right or not. it seems like it would be scary for them to be presented to a world with no absolutes. there are things that i will tell them are right and wrong because i believe it will be best for them. hopefully they will find their own way and i will give them the room to do it.

Beth McDermott said...

You should watch The Life of David Gale. Super interesting take on the death penalty.
I dont usually go public with my humble musings but I happen to think the death penalty, in theory, is organized justice. I think most people who believe there IS absolute truth, whether they think they know what that truth is for themselves or not, will say they believe in justice. Its tragic that some people make choices bad enough to end them on death row, but all I can picture in this instance is my family being the victim of something that hideous, and never having the closure of knowing it can and will never happen again.
I think its also important to say that its never too late for redemption, only too late to not face a consequence of a poor choice.
Also? If we are looking at this from a FISCAL standpoint... it costs more to use capitol punishment than banishing someone to life in prison. Hmmm.