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April 28, 2010

Comments

So what is your point Ron?

What does this have to do with:

1) What I had to say about why the unsaved spend an eternity in hell.

2) The distinction between distributive and retributive justice.

3) The priority of distributive justice.

4) The inability of humans to know what state-of-affairs satisfies distributive justice.

5) Even assuming knowledge of the distributively just state-of-affairs, the inability of humans to determine the retribution needed to return things to that state.

In short, what does your question (and/or my answer to it) have to do with anything I have been talking about in this thread?

Amy,

I wholeheartedly agree about the concept/word distinction, the best example probably being the hypostasis wording of the Nicene Creed.

However, I still maintain that "propitiation" is a theological construct that is read back into scripture. The references you listed are (sometimes) translated that way out of a preexisting theological conviction that propitiation was the function of the mercy seat.
"Mercy seat," and derivatives of that word are in scripture, but "propitiation" is not.

It could be that propitiation is a proper way to understand the atonement. My problem is when it is made out to be some sort of litmus test for orthodox faith or eternal salvation.

Propitiation is in the Bible, Amy already pinpointed the specific scriptural references.

David,

If I translate hilasterion in the above pinpointed scriptural references to read "ice cream sundae," that does not mean that "ice cream sundae" is in the Bible.

I'll admit that is not a fair comparison, because there is a strong case for using the word "propitiation." Many translators choose that theologically loaded term.
My simple point is that there is also a strong case for not using that word, thus making a plain-reading-of-scripture-appeal when discussing this matter a little naive.

It looks like you've overstated your case, MijkV.
Why do you say the translation to "propitiation" is new?
What difference does it make to salvation if the word ought to be expiation instead?
And it appears you are saying that the NT is not Scripture.
Is that the case?

Thanks

Daron,

I'm not sure how I conveyed that the NT isn't scripture. That wasn't my intention.

Also, I didn't say that the "propitiation" translation is new. I said that it doesn't appear in scripture. Therefore, the heart of the matter is the history of interpretation rather than the inspired word. Let's not confuse the translations of scripture with scripture itself.

What's more, once propitiation is the decided function of the mercy seat, "propitiation" is then loaded with even more nuance resulting in atonement formulations like Anselm's.

As for the salvific differences between expiation and propitiation, that is beside my original point. Grudem, Ryrie, Packer, et. al. can explain it far better than I ever could anyway.

Hi MijkV
You seemed to say that the NT was not Scripture when you repeatedly charged that "propitiation" is not in Scripture, but we see it is clearly in the NT.
If you mean the English word "propitiation" is not in there then that is trivially true, but so what? Neither are the letters J-E-S-U-S.
When the Greek writers of the NT used the word "hilasterion" they meant "propitiation", did they not? Even if the use of "hiasterion" in the Septuagint (if) carried a different meaning.

Are you serious? Surely you are aware that the view of the atonement you are defending is new (relative to the span of Christianity). I'm not saying it's wrong or right, but to pull the "eternal destiny" card lacks both humility and a rudimentary knowledge of theological history.

In addition, how could propitiation for sin be the “norm” when “propitiation” doesn't appear anywhere in scripture? Propitiation is a theological construct that is read back into scripture. Again, this may be right or it may be wrong, but let's not pretend that propitiation is “scriptural.”


I've misread you then. It seemed you were talking about "propitiation" being a new construct and that
you were addressing the salvation of the eternal soul.

What was the point that I have missed?

Thanks

Hey Daron,

You wrote:
When the Greek writers of the NT used the word "hilasterion" they meant "propitiation", did they not?

That's precisely the question. It's not a matter of straight up explicit translating (like iesous to Jesus), it's a matter of interpreting the function of the mercy seat (which is what hilasterion refers to, not propitiation explicitly).

So to say that someone's eternal destiny rests on affirming a theological construction that is neither explicitly scriptural nor uniformly attested to by the historic church gives me pause.

Peace.

Wait, why do you say helasterion was not explicitly about propitiation at the time of the writing of the NT?
Forget the Mercy Seat and the Septuagint for a moment. If the Greek writers meant "propitiation" in reference to Jesus then they meant propitiation - regardless of whether or not propitiation is a "construct" with reference to the Mercy Seat.
What makes you think that, given the context of the NT and the Greek of the time, they didn't mean "propitiation"?
What did the writer of Hebrews mean when he said that no remission can be made without the shedding of blood?

I say that because the lexical scope of the word is debatable. If we forget the LXX for a moment then that scope is widened even further, not narrowed.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not arguing for or against any particular atonement theology, only cavalier and prematurely exclusivist presentations of a specific brand.

Mike,

You're right, if you translate "hilasterion" to mean ice cream sundae that does not mean ice cream sundae is in the bible. But the problem for you is that "hilasterion" is in the Bible and there is a correct and incorrect way to define the word. Ice cream sundae is an incorrect translation of the word. Propitiation, on the other hand, is very close.

Setting aside the actual word propitiation for a minute, the concept of Jesus making peace with God on behalf of sinners is not constricted to the few verses at issue. This concept is the thrust of the Gospel.

HI MijkV

I say that because the lexical scope of the word is debatable. If we forget the LXX for a moment then that scope is widened even further, not narrowed.

Before today I'd never thought about or heard the word hilasterion", but your assessment doesn't seem to be accurate.

http://books.google.com/books?id=H9rxQMNtoYYC&lpg=PP1&ots=jnfZVrFsNW&dq=%22The%20Apostolic%20Preaching%20of%20the%20Cross%22%20%2B%20Morris&pg=PA144#v=onepage&q&f=false

If this link doesn't do as I wish go into the table of contents and click on Propitiation.
This is maybe more for those who disagree with you than it is for you.

Peace,
Daron

WL,

In a way I agree: I did go off topic. But it goes back to where Greg asks his mark:

“Do you think people who commit moral crimes ought to be punished?”

The lawyer says yes he does. And Greg accepts his answer without asking for an explanation; he does not ask, “Why? Why do you think people who commit moral crimes ought to be punished??”

If he was asked why the lawyer might answer, “Well, since I’m a human being and we'd have had a short run as a species if most of us didn't think people who commit moral crimes ought to be punished, I guess it's my genes that make me think this way - our genes. Don't you think? I mean it's a bit like asking why we take care of our offspring isn't it?”

Of course, Greg doesn't ask why the lawyer wants people who commit moral crimes to be punished. He doesn't want the lawyer - a theist - to think about his reasons.

The prospect of our having a short run as a species fills me with dread like that I have of outliving one of my children.

This prospect is objective. And it's dreadful. This prospect is the explanation for the existence of morality. It is also the ultimate justification for practicing it, promoting it, and coercing it. The bumper sticker usually refers to some bird, or a big cat, or the polar bears but it applies to us too: Extinction is forever.

A good enough reason for morality.

RonH

Hey Daron,

Thanks for the link. I read the chapter and I actually think it goes toward proving my point, even though the author has an agenda to defend rendering the term as "propitiation." My point is that there is not a clear consensus as how to translate that word even though there are a range of possible meanings. Why else would Morris feel the need to devote an entire chapter to defending his view?

This is not to say that because the precise meaning is uncertain we can use any word (you have misunderstood my point David). It is to say that portraying "propitiation" as "scriptural" because it appears in some translations is overstated. Furthermore, the nuances created
by the differing translations has an impact upon how we understand the atonement and by extension how we understand God.

The problem with our having a short run as a species isn't that it's so awful. You're importing a moral badness to the equation that you're not entitled to. Indeed, in your world view, shouldn't our species, in the long run, end and be replaced with a more fit species?

The problem with our having a short run as a species is that it shows that the particular crime that I was mentioning, suicide, is rationally incoherent in a certain way. In order for me to be in a position to commit suicide, it first has to be the case that others don't. In effect, I'm asking that no one else be allowed to commit suicide, but I get an exception in my case.

This is the core of evil: asking to be exempted from the universal law. In doing so I'm asking to be outside the jurisdiction of the universal lawgiver. That is, I make myself a rebel against God.

Hi MijkV,

This is not to say that because the precise meaning is uncertain we can use any word (you have misunderstood my point David). It is to say that portraying "propitiation" as "scriptural" because it appears in some translations is overstated.
But it's not because it appears in "some" translations that it is scriptural. It is because that is the concept portrayed throughout the Scriptures and that the word used to capture that concept was used, in its time, in the manner best translated as "propitiation".
He makes the great point "what is expiation if there is no propitiation?". What is Hell if there is no propitiation? What is Sin and Forgiveness?

Hey Daron,

Sorry, that was a bad choice of words on my part. I'll readily admit that there is a case that propitiation is a scriptural concept. However, it has to be argued; it cannot be garnered from a "plain" reading of scripture.

Now whether the concept is portrayed throughout scripture is a most excellent one. I have endeavored to steer clear of this theological question in this conversation for good reason. It's very complicated, and I have no desire to pursue it in a blog setting. I haven't read Piper and Wright's back-and-forth, but the reviews have suggested that they both give this topic fair and serious treatment.

I will say that its a discussion for the pews and not just the seminary given the 1) gravity of the discussion and 2) the fact that how we portray atonement to others contributes to their first impression of YahWeh.

WL,

The problem with our having a short run as a species isn't that it's so awful. You're importing a moral badness to the equation that you're not entitled to. Indeed, in your world view, shouldn't our species, in the long run, end and be replaced with a more fit species?

It's not necessarily a matter of being 'more fit'. It's not necessarily a matter of being replaced. Seems you don't understand the fundamentals of evolution. Here's one place to start: "If we are descended from apes, why are there still apes around?"

We share an ancestor with the chimps. That species didn't die out; that species has turned out to be a fantastic success.

One day our descendents might indeed be a different species. Imagine yourself somewhere on that line - a couple million years in the future, say. The thought is no more tragic than your life today. In fact, it's not different from your life today. But to find yourself at or near the end of the line - that would be tragic.

The development of morality is one reason we've done so well. (The others have used it too - in different ways.) Morality is a real thing here - not something 'imported' from anywhere else.

Speaking of imports. Human law is an expression of morality which is part of our deepest nature - a real and natural thing without which we'd have a short run as a species. It's quite understandable, then, that the idea of law be imported into myths about the world.

RonH

Hi Ron,
Since you abandoned trying to defend your conception of justice I presume you realized your statements such as "Does it mean justice is served by punishing a 3rd party? No." required a grounded morality.
It looks like you are now attempting to ground morality in the processes of nature. I am sure you are aware of the is/ought fallacy and but is your moral grounding boiling down to something like "that which allows our species to survive"? Or, "the instincts given us by 'evolution'"?

Do you see how these will not justify your hastily firing buckshot into Greg's argument?

Daron,

How's this for abandonment: When human beings talk about justice (except in Christian theology) they don't mean punishing innocent parties.

I'm not trying to 'ground' morality in anything. I'm trying to explain what people mean when we talk about it and how they got started talking about it in the first place. I'm trying to show that it is definitely not true that 'without God anything goes'.

I'm imagining archeologists uncovering the records of some ancient society that has died out. "Hmm,..." one says to the other, "it says here they decided to abandon morality on account of something called is-ought. I wonder if that had anything to do with their demise."

So tell me what exactly is my problem with is-ought?

RonH

The problem with the first is that you ignore the fact that human beings do, in fact, punish innocent third parties. So your statement is false. If you say they not, then you need a grounded morality.
If you say it is not just then you need a justice that transcends theirs.

I'm imagining archeologists uncovering the records of some ancient society that has died out. "Hmm,..." one says to the other, "it says here they decided to abandon morality on account of something called is-ought. I wonder if that had anything to do with their demise."
That's exactly what HItler , Nietzsche and even Darwin thought would happen if we did follow, not abandon, western morality.
So tell me what exactly is my problem with is-ought?
We'll find out as you respond, I suspect. For one thing, regardless of extinction or archaeology, you don't derive justice by asking what is the case.

Daron,

Assuming I understand your first paragraph*, please provide an example of someone - outside Christian theology - seriously describing the punishment an innocent party as just.

RonH


* It's hard to tell what's a typo and what's just wrong. Two typos in the first paragraph, right? Not sure exactly what it was supposed to look like.

Yes, sorry for the egregious typos. I forgot the word "do" in my third sentence.

And I capitalized the I in Hitler.

1) You've already seen it - the payment of fines by a third party.
2)
http://www.google.ca/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=muslims+justice+rape+daughter&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&redir_esc=&ei=JATeS56fJZCCNs6iofkH

Daron,

On (1): First, we don't use fines for serious crimes and it's partly on account of the very thing you mention: We want the criminal to pay and this might not happen with a fine. Second, even when a 3rd party pays it is almost always some person, like a parent, who has an interest in making the criminal go straight. Third, the deterrent effect for other potential criminals is still in place: the rich kid's dad is willing to pay the rich kids fine but not yours.

Notice: we're balancing moral concerns with practical concerns. Sometimes justice is too expensive. What do you think of that?

On (2): This turns up a lot of sites. Please decide what it is you want to say and say it. A link might work if it is a good one. Probably you need to explain though. We don't share a lot of assumptions.

RonH

Ron,

First, we don't use fines for serious crimes and it's partly on account of the very thing you mention: We want the criminal to pay and this might not happen with a fine.

But it is still an acknowledged punishment taken on by a third party in keeping with justice.
Second, even when a 3rd party pays it is almost always some person, like a parent, who has an interest in making the criminal go straight.
For the sake of argument I could agree with this but it doesn't matter. Justice was served when the innocent party took on the punishment.
Third, the deterrent effect for other potential criminals is still in place: the rich kid's dad is willing to pay the rich kids fine but not yours.

Still makes no difference to whether or not justice was served when the third party took on the punishment.
It could happen for any number of reasons - the third party could do it out of compassion, because he feels he owes the offender, because he can afford to help the offender out and doesn't believe the offender should have to foot the bill....etc.

Nonetheless, justice is satisfied.
Unless... there is something like what you mentioned in your opening comment ... some kind of moral debt owed. But if there is then there is some kind of transcendent morality which is not subject to man's justice systems.

Sometimes justice is too expensive. What do you think of that?
Justice is too expensive? I don't know what to make of this. Are you saying that justice is served by not punishing the offender at all because it can be inconvenient? If justice can allow him to be let off the hook for free it can certainly allow him to be let off the hook by having another punished in his place.

2) You can look at any of the sites. I only looked at the first and it was fine - justice is served by a man raping an innocent girl because his wife was raped.

Another case of third party punishment by human justice.
http://www.cherokeebyblood.com/justice.htm


If a member from one clan killed the member of another, then balance must be restored. Blood revenge was considered very sacred and was carried out under the utmost sincerity. If a member of the clan a) should kill a member of the clan b), the clan b) would be owed one life, and the clan a) would pay with a life. Usually, the eldest brother or nearest male relative of a victim was expected to be the avenger of spilled blood.

If the aggressor was still in the area, it wasn't likely the offended clan would take the life of a relative, but if the aggressor fled, another member of his Clan would be selected in his place, usually the brother.

Punishing parents for crimes of their children.
http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:43PTY2DL5vEJ:www.brown.uk.com/teaching/socialpolicy/arthur.pdf+tribe+justice+son+punished+crimes+of+father&hl=en&gl=ca&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESi6eV26Y7m7i88DApJ69t4vShgPjOqpiyLMvsMh05zuROLb1kvl8KLrz01Q0qzzfQ5l8RAhp0SWSE9JPQ5yebtsHmYJ3sCB2R71wMelO450UsHM78WOJsKYuZCaKN2TMD5-Kqcy&sig=AHIEtbT0mIOxe-hxfVrV4u8KTlLUQUbTOA


In Bedouin society:

The general governing principle is that of Dum butlab dum ("blood begets blood"), which may be compared to the lex talionis. In many tribes, the first five levels of male cousins (Khamsa) are obligated to seek out and kill the murderer. If not found, another male member of the murderer's tribe would have to die in the retaliatory killing.[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedouin_systems_of_justice


Etc.
You do not speak for humanity or justice when you make your claims. They are unfounded and ungrounded. In other words, your charges are empty.

Oops, my typo repair in my previous comment was in error.
The sentence was supposed to say "If you say they ought not [punish innocent third parties] , then you need a grounded morality."

It seems I made an italics error and the word "ought" disappeared.

Actually, it seems we do fine people for serious crimes:

Article 297 Retribution for Murder
The compensation for murdering a Muslim man to his family is as follows.
The murderer has the right to choose one of the following.
1- 100 healthy camels not considered very thin.
2- 200 healthy cows not considered very thin
3- 1000 healthy sheep not considered very thin.
4- 200 set of new suits made from Yemeni fabric (heleh)gold
5- 1000 Dinar where ever Dinar is equal to one Mesghal 18 carrot gold
6- 10,000 Derham, where every Derham is equal to 12/6 Nokhod Silver
If the murder occurs in the four forbidden Islamic months of Rajab, Zighadeh, Zihajeh and Moharam, the above compensation for murder will increase by 1/3.
The retribution for murdering a Muslim woman is 1/2 of the Muslim man.
There is no retribution for murdering a non-Muslim or a Kafir.
The murderer will be give one year to compensate the family of victim if the murder was premeditated. Two years if it was manslaughter.

http://www.homa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=99&Itemid=57

On Diya, or "blood money".
Note, justice can be served by the payment of diya in lieu of prison or execution.
Also, the family or clan of the murderer can pay the blood money to the heirs of the victim.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diyya

I can't verify this site. Can you? I am skeptical (as usual).

Blood money is sometimes paid to a crime OR accident victim's family in Iran and other Muslim countries. If you drive there, you can buy insurance for blood money you might have to pay if you are in an accident.

This is not a fine; it's restitution.

It is pretty close to our wrongful death concept. Google 'Weregild'. If you kill someone here with your car, say, you will be sued. If you kill a man you will probably pay his family more than if you kill a woman because men make more money and the settlement is aimed at making the family whole.

The death penalty is common for murder (and other crimes) in these places. Sometimes the victim/family can opt to take blood money. In that case a criminal is excused from execution, prison, lashings. That's pretty different from here but that doesn't turn it into a fine.

But you raise a good point: maybe I should have said 'outside Christian theology and other theology, and mob wars'.

Hi Ron,
Thanks for noting that it is a good point, even with your qualifiers. But once you've qualified it enough you will qualify away your objection. Third person punishment is considered by the mob, sure. And by other gangs in the States, and in the recent British case where the mother and stepfather of a killer were murdered by the gang, and among Native American tribes, and tribes throughout Africa, and the Japanese system, and New Zealand Aborigines, etc ... etc.. etc... and us.
"We" do not seem to have the universal "it is unjust to punish a third party" injunction that you claimed.
You need much more than common experience, evolution, or emotions to make that case.

Which site do you want verified? The strange looking one on the Iranian system? I have looked up article 297 quite diligently and though it is hard to find solid information I find the site is correct and that is why I have backed it up with the wiki claim.

It doesn't matter if you now want to get behind the word "fine" and say it's not quite exactly just a fine in the normal sense (as you did earlier by redefining "punishment") because it all further undermines your point. The serious crime is justly settled by a monetary exchange. So the "moral" debt is paid off, even though you said it wouldn't be done with a cash penalty because we would fear that a third party might pay it and not the actual offender. And, indeed, the third party is allowed, even required to pay it, in some systems of justice.
Therefore, the third party is, again, allowed (or required) to take on the punishment to atone for the offence.

This is not a fine; it's restitution.
Whatever it is, it is the sole punishment meted out for the crime and it can be taken on my a third party.

This is not rare in human experience and you can't just say "we" don't do that. If one thinks hard on the subject it takes no time at all to realize that is the case. Especially if, as you say, "justice" is merely an attempt to ameliorate wrongs and set accounts straight. This perfectly relativizes justice and immediately demonstrates that justice is going to be exactly what any one race, society, community, group or even person, says it is.

This is why I pointed out your flat, objectivist's, admonition from your first comment. Without God it is very difficult to rightly say something like "that is not just".

It is pretty close to our wrongful death concept. Google 'Weregild'. If you kill someone here with your car, say, you will be sued. If you kill a man you will probably pay his family more than if you kill a woman because men make more money and the settlement is aimed at making the family whole.
And if you haven't the money someone else can pay it or you, take on that punishment, and satisfy justice. So apparently you knew this all along.

There is an aspect that earlier I didn't want to look into in these until a little more ground was turned:

First, we don't use fines for serious crimes and it's partly on account of the very thing you mention: We want the criminal to pay and this might not happen with a fine.
...
Second, even when a 3rd party pays it is almost always some person, like a parent, who has an interest in making the criminal go straight.
...
Third, the deterrent effect for other potential criminals is still in place: the rich kid's dad is willing to pay the rich kids fine but not yours.

You won't accept these conclusions, but it is pretty obvious to me that above you are allowing that it is, in fact, just, to allow a third party to intervene as above.
But notice what your allowances admit to. In point 2 the third party has an interest in correcting the behaviour of the offender. The payment is made out of mercy and a desire to see the offender, or even to help him, correct his ways.
You seem to think this makes it more just.
In the third, although I don't know what point you were making, you highlight something very interesting. Indeed, we all have the rich Father and we all can be adopted heirs of His due to His sacrifice for us. He has an interest in our turning from our criminal mindset and behaviour and joining HIs family. He has told us how to do that and provided the means. Only He is rich enough (able) to pay that cost and satisfy the justice system in effect. All we have to do is accept His offer.
You told SteveK that a person would not accept the offer because it did not satisfy justice. I think we have established that you have no grounds for saying that.
Afterward you just denied to SteveK that there was such a Person willing to make the sacrifice and offer to us.
But there is. Since you are so unlikely to want to hear this I offer it to any onlooker who might still be with us ... please do not ignore the Father's offer.

Ron-

In the end, speaking objectively from an evolutionary world-view, whether a species has a long run or a short run is neither good nor bad. It just is. The most you are entitled to say from that point of view is that you don't like the idea of being at the end of a long or a short run of the species to which you belong.

Daron,

This is the site I am skeptical about...

http://www.homa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=99&Itemid=57

I doubt it for a number of reasons. For example, it says "The murderer will be give one year to compensate the family of victim if the murder was premeditated. Two years if it was manslaughter."

If that's true, why is does the bbc report about children being executed for murder in Iran?

And why are people raising funds to help pressure Iran to stop executing children for murder?

And, why are they blogging blogging about child executions in Iran?

What do you think?

RonH

WL,

In the end, speaking objectively about whether we share an ancestor with the other apes, we sure do.

RonH

Hi Ron,
Here's another translation (scroll).
http://sociolegal.blogspot.com/

You can search the phrase "Mulct for a Muslim man" and find plenty of confirmation.

What do I think? There is probably inconsistency in enforcement. What do you think? Is justice and punishment ever meted out differently?

"In the end, speaking objectively about whether we share an ancestor with the other apes, we sure do."

Whether we do or not is entirely beside the point in this thread.

1. It does not transform your opinions about ethics to anything more than a high-falutin' way of expressing your likes and dislikes.

2. It has no bearing on what I had to say about why the unsaved spend an eternity in hell.

3. It sheds no light on the distinction between distributive and retributive justice, the priority of distributive justice, the inability of humans to know what state-of-affairs satisfies distributive justice, and so on.

WL,

You brought up evolution, not me. And, if it's true, it suggests my explanation of morality is true and, at the very least, casts doubt on yours -- however much you may like yours and dislike mine.


Daron,

Your second link doesn't seem any more trustworthy than your first one. Are you saying the difference between 1 or 2 years prison and capital punishment might be 'inconsistency in enforcement'?

In any case, Article 297 of whatever it is, seems to describe victim/family compensation, not punishment. How many times is it necessary to point out the difference?

RonH

Ron-

Using the phrase "short run as a species" does not constitute the bringing up of evolution. I used the phrase to point out that immoral action (suicide in particular) requires us to want there to be a law that everyone else must follow but to which we are exempt. The phrase has absolutely nothing to do with fitness or even the horrors of extinction. To treat it as if it does (as you have) is to fundamentally misunderstand the point.

As far as I can tell, the first mention of evolution in our exchange was by you at 6:08 on May 2. The first use of evolution-based arguments was also by you at 6:47 on April 30.

Your comments to me since that 6:47 post have not been particularly relevant, let alone comprising a truer explanation of morality than mine. They also do not, as already noted, address any of the three items I mentioned in my previous post (which I take to be on-topic in this thread).

Hi Ron,

Your second link doesn't seem any more trustworthy than your first one.
I can't make you know anything you don't want to know, Ron; all I can do is give you the information.
I guess that's why you're a skeptic.

You can check any of the links, or wiki if you like, to your own satisfaction.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qisas

In the case of murder, it means the right of the heirs of a murder victim to demand execution of the murderer.
...
However, the Quran also prescribes that one should seek compensation (Diyya) and not demand retribution.[3]
As execution for murder was conceived as the retaliation of the victim's heirs, traditionally the state could only carry out the execution with their permission, and they were free to forgive the murderer, either as an act of charity or in return for compensation.

The murderer can be executed, forgiven or freed upon payment. All represent justice. If he is freed upon compensation it can be paid by his friends and family.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diyya

The Qur'an specifies the principle of Qisas (i.e. retaliation), but prescribes that one should seek compensation (Diyya) and not demand retribution.
...
In Sharia law, Diyat should be paid in terms of cash to avoid possible fraud on the part of the criminal.[2] In Islamic and Arab traditions, blood money is the fine paid by the killer or his family or clan to the family or the clan of the victim (comparable to the traditions of weregild and główczyzna).
...
In Saudi Arabia, for example, the heirs of the victim have a right to settle for Diyya instead of the execution of the murderer.

----

Are you saying the difference between 1 or 2 years prison and capital punishment might be 'inconsistency in enforcement'?
Sure, it will do for this conversation. I'm not about to spend my days becoming a scholar of Iranian law to satisfy your demands when what I am demonstrating is obvious and common sensical. Are you saying that the difference between paying cash and being executed, as shown to be among the choices above, represents a greater discrepancy?

In any case, Article 297 of whatever it is, seems to describe victim/family compensation, not punishment. How many times is it necessary to point out the difference?
I guess until you quit straining at gnats and inventing definitions of "punishment" and "fines" in order to shield your failed arguments. If somebody is executed I would say he has been punished, wouldn't you? If he can pay a fine (in the case of a serious crime, which you disputed) in lieu of execution then he is punished in another manner. If the justice system allows, or even demands, that a third party pay (receive his punishment ) then your claim that this is contrary to justice has been falsified. I've even given you multiple examples where an innocent third party will be killed to satisfy justice. Your argument fails on every point and, hence, you have not a single relevant detail upon which to hang your absolutist claim that it is unjust to punish a third party for someone else's crimes.


Here's another attempt to help you to see:

Under the Islamic Penal Code27 (IPC) of 1991, punishments are divided into five types. Theyare: hodood28, qesas29, diyeh, ta’zirat30 and deterrent punishments. ... • Qesas is a retributive ‘eye-for-eye’ punishment meted out for a range of offences. • Diyeh (referred to as blood money) is financial compensation as determined by the Islamic shari’a and paid to the victim or his/her survivors. [Notice that Diyeh and Qesas are punishments]

Murder:
Murder is punishable under a section of the IPC headlined qesas49. The Iranian legal system considers murder to be amatter between private parties and therefore does not refer to its punishment as the ‘death penalty’ or execution. Theo-retically, it is not the state but the survivors of the victim or ‘heirs of the blood’ who impose retribution on the culprit. In practise, in qesas cases the judicial authorities execute the murderer, if the family of the victim demand execution of the murderer. Survivors of a murder victim may alternatively decide to withdraw their demandfor retribution (i.e. execution) of the murderer in exchange for financial compensation (diyeh) and let the murderer free. The legal provisions relating to murder are discriminatory on several levels as follows...


http://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/Rapport_Iran_final.pdf

You can also read that link to find out how it is that "children" can be sentenced to 2-8 years for capital crimes or how they can be executed by the judiciary applying justice inconsistently. You will also note that the majority of the executions are for murder, which is a qesas situation and by which they could have been justly forgiven had they, or a third party, paid or been allowed to pay the fine.

WL,

You brought it up when you said, "In the end, speaking objectively from an evolutionary world-view."

Not that I object: since evolution explains morality it is always on topic when the topic is morality.

Responses.

1) There are real constraints. We are not left with nothing but likes and dislikes just because we refrain from inventing an absolute (but inaccessible) standard.

2) What is the 'original sentence'?

3) Since we have limited knowledge it is possible that when a judge settles a case he acts differently or even in opposition to what he'd do if he knew more. Is that what you mean?

RonH

Hey Ron,
I just checked your scholarly links on juvenile executions. Did you?
The only one of value was the third and here's what I found in the first item I checked:

"I know I did something wrong, but I was just a child," he said.
"I
did wrong and mankind is like that. But I want to live. I know they are
suffering. My family has suffered too. Not as much as them - they have
lost their son[...]
"I just want them to forgive me. I can't do
anything else. Their son won't come back by executing me. I can just
say that I kiss their hands for forgiveness."

http://iranian.com/main/blog/sce-campaign/two-juveniles-facing-death-penalty-will-be-released-days

Would you look at that? The offender himself bears testimony that he can either be executed or forgiven by the family of his victim.

Ron-

I think it's silly to have this argument, but my remark you cite was made a full day after you were in full-Darwin-mode. So you and I must be using the terms "brought it up" somewhat differently.

1) You've not said one word about why the death of our species is objectively bad. As such, all you've really said is that you don't like species-threatening activity. Apart from being a terribly incomplete theory, it seems that evolutionary theory has this other sude-efect: it robs its adherents of the ability to think critically about ethical matters.

2) My original remark about hell is in this thread. It is a response to one of your criticisms of Greg's original argument. It is therefore eminently on-topic. As would be any relevant response to it.

3) Close. A judge with unlimited knowledge, especially one with unlimited knowledge about what the antecedently just distribution is, might well set retribution differently than we think he should given our limited grasp of the situation.

And by "sude-efect" I mean "side-effect". Good grief!

Ron,
Here's the next story I checked on your "blogging about executions" link:

In many cases, juvenile offenders under sentence of death in Iran are kept in prison until they pass their 18th birthday, after which their executions are scheduled. In this period, some win appeals against their conviction. Others have their sentence overturned on appeal and are freed after a retrial. Some are reprieved by the family of the victim in cases of murder and are asked to pay diyeh (compensation) instead.

http://iranian.com/main/blog/sce-campaign/iran-executes-alleged-juvenile-offender-mosleh-zamani

And the next and next...

According to Iranian lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei, Mostafa Naghdi and Amir Khaleghi who were on death row, will be released in the coming days. The victims families on these cases issued their consent and forgiveness. ... In Mostafa Naghdi's case, blood money "diyeh" had been collected through donations to help pay restitution to the family o f the victim.

...

Due to the fact that the murder was not intentional, the family of the victim granted forgiveness and accepted the payment of approximately $50,000.00 USD blood money in compensation. Human rights activists and those fighting against child executions helped Benyamin's family to raise the required amount.

...

Hossein's mother along with some good samaritans, spoke with Morteza's family and managed to obtain a pardon from them. As retribution is in the hands of the victim's families in ghesas crimes, Hossein Toranj will soon be free.

http://iranian.com/main/blog/sce-campaign/juvenile-pardoned

The Alinejad family spoke to SCE President Nazanin Afshin-Jam shortly after his release to thank the team for all efforts to help save Reza.

They expressed how overjoyed they are to see Reza home but were also stressed about their new financial debt. They had to mortgage their home and borrow a large sum of money at a high interest rate to secure the diyeh (blood money) to the family of the victim.


http://iranian.com/main/blog/sce-campaign/reza-alinejad-free

etc., it would seem.

Hi Daron,

I'm sorry for not responding. Around the time a post scrolls off the page I tend to let it go. Interpret it as you wish. Take heart: there will be other chances.

Islamic blood money is a victim compensation. It's not a fine. There are differences that are crucial to our dispute. Some of them are clear in the words of those you quoted.

As Greg might say, I'll let you have the last word.

RonH

It is a fine - read the links. And a fine is a punishment - as above.
Deal with the evidence and the arguments, RonH, as you have noted such a practice is essential to your skepticism; do not rely upon your presuppositions.

To sum:
RonH said that it is not just that a third party be punished for another's crimes.
But RonH has no transcendent morality to ground this claim about what is and is not just.
So he relies upon what "we" think. He says "we" refers to all of humanity. He then challenges that no humans (other than Christian theists) would say that it is just to punish said third party.
He has been shown multiple societies which refute his case.
So he has tried to dispute words like "fine" and "punishment".
But he is, as mentioned, discussing terms as humans use them, so his claim fails.
Humans use "fines" as "punishments". In fact, RonH referred, when he saw the link in a wiki, to Weregild and equated that to our case and said that this was "restitution" and not a "fine".
But, in fact, the links above show that such restitution is a fine. And that it is punishment.
He recognized this fact and then claimed that such fines were not used in serious crimes like murder. This was shown wrong, so he retreated again to saying they weren't really fines.

And this final wiki will finally punch all the tickets at once on "fine" and "punishment" and "mulct (the Iranian term) etc.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine_(penalty)

A fine is money paid usually to superior authority, usually governmenal authority, as punishment for a crime or other offence. ... Fines are considered to be a cost-efficient and fair way of punishment for those who commit a non-violent offense. ... Early examples of fines include the Weregild or blood money payable under Anglo-Saxon common law for causing a death. The murderer would be expected to pay a sum of money or goods dependent on the social status of the victim
So not only has his charge against the Atonement failed on principle, but is has thoroughly failed even in his battle of private definitions .

Nice work, boys.

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