Why doesn’t it surprise me that someone from Boulder, CO started this thread?? That town is almost as secular progressive as San Francisco!!
Here you go:
The sixth of the Ten Commandants, "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13), can raise eyebrows in an era when wars in foreign countries continue, gunmen go on rampages, serial killers make headlines and murderers are executed by governments.
Today, many Christians interpret "Thou shalt not kill" to mean "Thou shalt not murder," several members of the Salt Lake Theological Seminary agree.
"Homicide signifies, in general, the killing of a human being," the Catholic Encyclopedia states. "In practice, however, the word has come to mean the unjust taking away of human life, perpetrated by one distinct from the victim and acting in a private capacity. For the purposes of this article, therefore, account is not taken of suicide, nor of the carrying out of the penalty of death by due process of law.
"The direct killing of an innocent person is, of course, to be reckoned among the most grievous of sins. It is said to happen directly when the death of the person is viewed either as an end attractive in itself, or at any rate is chosen as a means to an end," the Encyclopedia says.
Personal protection is often also considered a justification. The Encyclopedia states: "For the protection of one's own or another's life, limb, chastity or valuables of some moment, it is agreed on all sides that it is lawful for anyone to repel violence with violence, even to the point of taking away the life of the unjust assailant, provided always that in so doing the limits of a blameless defense be not exceeded."
"You are permitted to kill in self-defense," Rabbi Joshua M. Aaronson of Park City's Temple Har Shalom said. "In fact, you are obligated to kill any person that clearly intends your own death. Suicide is more complicated and is clearly prohibited by Jewish law, although many rulings of the rabbis mitigate that, and in general the survivors are treated with great compassion and the deceased is also treated gently. Other gray areas require a rather lengthy discussion.
"Animals are a different category entirely. There is a law about kindness to animals, but clearly killing animals is permitted in Jewish law, though only for a specific purpose (food)," Rabbi Aaronson said.
"'Thou shalt not kill' exhorts us to remember that life has sacred worth," the Rev. Tom Goldsmith of Salt Lake's First Unitarian Church said. "Suicide and animal slaughter are a matter of individual conscience. You are not hurting another human being, for which this commandment was intended. However, we are forced to reflect on the morality of all our murderous actions, even if they pertain to ourselves or animals. How widely this admonishment applies raises an interesting question. Like so much in the Bible, nothing is definitive but forces us to think hard about everything we do in our lives."
"To understand what is meant by this command we must first understand that life is sacred. Each of us (humans) are inherently valuable because we are created in God's image" (Genesis 1:26-27 ,Luke 12:6-7), Terry Long, senior pastor at Calvary Chapel of Salt Lake, said.
Regarding suicide, he said man's body is a temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19-20). "Suicide is murder turned inward. You are murdering yourself. Is it the unpardonable sin? No! Is murder the unpardonable sin? No! But it is a sin."
Pastor Long also said abortion allows forgiveness from God if and when we make mistakes/bad choices.
He said the Sixth Commandment does not pertain to capital punishment, nor does it prohibit going to war.
"God often ordered the Israelites to go to war with other nations (1 Samuel 15:3; Joshua 4:13). War is never a good thing, but sometimes it is necessary to defend ourselves, to protect freedom of the innocent/defenseless and children, he said.
Pastor Long said the prohibition also does not include killing animals, based on Genesis 9:3 and Acts 10:13.
Jehovah's Witnesses take a broader view of the commandment. "You don't kill another human," Richard Wolf, an elder in the North Salt Lake congregation, said. That includes abortion and war.
Witnesses believe the Mosaic law authorized taking life under certain circumstances or going to war in Old Testament times. However, they believe that is not allowed today, based on Christ's teachings of the two great laws — love God and love one another, according to the Watchtower.
Also, Witnesses believe ancient Israel was involved in "holy wars of Jehovah," while today's "carnal warfare" is not sanctioned by God.
They also feel hatred is a precursor to murder, notes the Watchtower.
Regarding animals, Jehovah's Witnesses believe, "Animal life is also sacred to the Creator. A Christian may kill animals to provide food and clothing or to protect himself from sickness and danger. (Genesis 3:21, 9:3; Exodus 21:28) But it is wrong to mistreat animals or to kill them just for sport or pleasure (Proverbs 12:10)," according to the Watchtower Web site.
"In that day and time, it applied to murder," the Rev. Steve Goodier of Christ United Methodist Church of Salt Lake said. "Today, we can see it as meaning more — that life is to be enhanced and preserved. Our role is to be responsible caretakers of life on this planet. Irresponsible taking of life, whether it is through suicide, slaughter of animals or the mistreatment of animals or people, is to be shunned."
Arthur R. Bassett wrote an in-depth article on "Thou shalt not kill" in the Ensign Magazine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in August of 1994 and noted the larger issue of violence.
"The Sixth Commandment's injunction to avoid murder is the minimum standard. The Savior's example points to a higher level: enhancement of life for others," he wrote.
"Though comparatively few mortals are seriously tempted to kill, many of us are more deeply affected by violations of this law than we realize. Peace continues to elude us in a world where killing is often an instrument of political strategy or personal gain. We seem to need a modern smoking Sinai from whose heights God might thunder down in power again: 'Thou shalt not kill."'
The Doctrine and Covenants, modern scripture for LDS Church members, states in section 56, verse six:: "Thou shalt not ... kill, nor do anything like unto it."
This could refer to suicide, abortion, mercy killing and even a knowing transmittal of the AIDS virus, Bassett wrote.
Bassett also quoted Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, addressing suicide:
"I feel that judgment for sin is not always as cut-and-dried as some of us seem to think," Elder Ballard said. "The Lord said, 'Thou shalt not kill.' Does that mean that every person who kills will be condemned, no matter the circumstances? Civil law recognizes that there are gradations in this matter — from accidental manslaughter to self-defense to first-degree murder. I feel that the Lord also recognizes differences in intent and circumstance."
What about the killing of animals?
"I have always been intrigued by a lesson that the Prophet Joseph Smith gave to the brethren who marched with Zion's Camp," Bassett wrote in his Ensign article. "That group, organized in response to revelation, was prepared to face armed conflict with the persecutors of the members of the church in Missouri — to give their lives or to take lives in defense of others, if necessary.
"Yet the prophet prevented them even from killing three rattlesnakes they found in one of their camps. 'Let them alone — don't hurt them!' he commanded. 'How will the serpent ever lose its venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition and continue to make war upon it? Men must become harmless before the brute creation, and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the sucking child can play with the serpent in safety."'