Glad to see we have the wheels spinning on the current issue. Whenever talk begins around the death penalty emotional feelings, dogmas, mindsets and programming comes to the surface on both sides.
What we are attempting to do here is examine this subject from the plane of the mind starting with the fundamental principles which may lie behind it. Only by releasing ourselves of our preconceived notions and looking at the esoteric facts and influences can we get at the truth.
Of all the questions I have asked the group in the past five years, these past few concerning judgment have been sidestepped by the group more than any other I have asked by far. This just shows how emotionally charged this issue is. Then too I take some risk in entering an emotionally charged area because I am likely to offend some who do not see the conclusions that will be reached. I do hope we can rise above any offense and continue to learn together.
Are there punishments worse than death that are given by the State? What are they and why are they worse than death?
We received a wide variety of answers on this including descriptions of punishments that have nothing to do with the State.
In more civilized countries the main severe punishment (other than death) is long prison terms. In totalitarian ones they may cut off your limbs, your tongue, gouge out your eyes, use castration, electric shock etc.
These are bad indeed, but to answer the question we must ask - how bad is death? It is amazing that many who believe in heavenly bliss seem to view death as some horror much worse than all of these combined. Some will go to such extremes such as keeping the person on life support in great agony for many years just to avoid sending a loved one to the hands of God.
Is death really so horrible that it must be avoided at all costs?
Of course not. At death we are placed in the arms of the soul which has our best interests in mind. In between lives we contemplate the lessons learned in the last life and prepare for a better one. Is this so bad that we must shun it to the point that we force imprisonment and great pain on others to avoid it? Is this logical?
But, says one, we do not have the right to decide life and death.
If one supports life in prison for the hardened criminal has he not already supported the judgment of taking a life? One who is sentenced to life in prison with no hope of parole is given something worse than a death sentence. His life is not only taken way, but his freedom and hope are also taken away.
Why do we think we have the right to sentence one to prison for life but do not have the right to give the death sentence when both take way the life of the person? What is the difference between the two in finality?
If we do not have the right to give the death sentence then we do not have the right to put any in prison for any extended period either.
How many years would you have to be in prison before death would be preferable from the standpoint of your soul? That is when would you as an entity would move ahead faster through the door of death than prison and physical life.
5 years? 10 years? 20 years? 40 years 60 years 100 years? Never?
The general consensus on this was around twenty years. This is also the figure I came up with. Some avoided coming up with any figure but when you think about it there has to be one. In the eternal scheme of things the life of a physical body (a vehicle) has a set value just as any other vehicle (such as a car) has a set value. Just as most of us would be willing to go to prison for a year for a sum of money, even so would there be a term in prison that would equal the value of your vehicle - the physical body. I would personally put this at about 20 years.
Think of what can happen in twenty years. You can go to the spirit world and dwell there for five years and be reborn and arrive at around 15 years of age in a strong new body in a new and better situation for progress which has been arranged by your soul - or by yourself if you are a disciple.
This question has nothing to do with whether you deserved the sentence, whether you are innocent or guilty or the degree. It matters not if you are a saint, for in 20 years you can be reborn in a better situation and if you are a murderer you can also do this. The only difference is the murderer will be born in a situation where he can more quickly pay off his karma and so he can understand the magnitude of his crime. If the murder does not pay with his life in the lifetime of the crime then he will in the next. He will get the death penalty one way or another, with rare exceptions.
Keep in mind that when we speak of murder that we are talking about the shedding of innocent blood here and not an act of self defense which is another matter.
The exception would require the murderer to realize the extent of his crime and then save a life (or possibly more than one life) to repay his debt. The trouble with most murderers is that they have a ways to go before they will take the necessary risk to serve others in this way so they have to pay off their debt the hard way.
Suppose you were a judge and five criminals were brought before you. All these criminals are twenty years of age and have committed murder and are expected to live to be 100 years of age. The evidence is beyond dispute that they are guilty. Here is the recommendation of the jury.
Criminal number one. 10 years in prison or the death sentence.
Criminal number two. 20 years in prison or the death sentence.
Criminal number three. 40 years in prison or the death sentence.
Criminal number four. 60 years in prison or the death sentence.
Criminal number five. 80 years in prison or the death sentence.
What would be your judgment? How long would the wretched soul have to spend in prison before you would deem the death penalty more merciful than prison?
This puts the shoe on the other foot. You are not judging yourself, but someone else.
Now some mentioned that such judgment is impossible or should not be, but we must recall that every nation, people, land, state and city has judges who make some very tough decisions.
Some mentioned that revenge or lack of forgiveness is a motive involved here but I do not think the thousands of judges who imprison criminals or even sentence them to death have any revenge or lack of forgiveness as a motive. To them it is a job and they hold nothing personal toward the criminal. The judge is concerned with justice, not forgiveness. These are two entirely different items.
To forgive there must first be a grievance. A person can release a grievance and forgive a crime but still desire to see justice done, not for revenge, but because it is the right thing to support.
Now let us consider the question. How many years would you sentence a person to prison before you would view a death sentence as the more merciful alternative. Some think that one cannot put a number on this, but it is an esoteric truth that there is a number for anything that has value - and the life of the physical body does have a value.
Let us suppose that the person to be sentenced would live indefinitely in prison. Can you really say that you would let the poor soul rot in prison for 100, 200 or more years before you would rule a death sentence? Would it not be extremely cruel to do so?
If the average value of life in the physical body is worth about twenty years in prison then is it not more cruel to place anyone in prison for 40 years or more instead of giving the death penalty?
What gives the state the right to take away a life in a fate worse than death by sentencing to life in prison with no hope of parole when a more loving alternative of the death penalty is available?
Many are against the death penalty because of a fear that they are participating in a punishment that cannot be undone.
But they forget that even a year in prison cannot be undone. No punishment can be undone. Which is worse? To put an innocent man to death or to put an innocent man in prison for twenty years? Neither can be undone. The man in prison for twenty years often comes out a much more hardened criminal than he was before, whereas the man who is put to death and reborn may be discovering a new and healthier life.
What do you think? Is it not more cruel and vengeful to put a man in prison for life than to put him to death?
Rob just admitted spending some time in prison. What do you think?
If we would become emotionally aroused over our ideals as we become over our dislikes, we would ascend to the plane of our ideal as easily as we now descend to the level of our hates. Neville
Copyright 2004 by J.J. Dewey, All Rights Reserved