Find the flaw in the reasoning or: Why cant I kill Christians

Okay, I’ve been mulling over this for a while now and its one of those logical twists where perfectly innocent premises lead to insane conclusions.

Well, here is the chain of argument.

Premise 1: God is real, if believe in God and do good things, you will get into Heaven

Premise 2: The Utalitarian philosophy that we should perform actions that maximise the “pleasure” of the population and minimise the “pain” is correct.

Premise 3: The “pleasure” derived from going to heaven is immesurable greater than any deed done on earth.

Premise 4: The “pleasure” of any one person going to heaven is the same as another person.

Premise 5: When a person dies, they are judged based on their past lives whether they are deemed worthy enough to go to Heaven.

Premise 6: There is a possibility that a person may “lapse” from Christianity, that is, previously, they had a chance of going into heaven but now they do not since they have renounced their faith.

Based on these Premises, I can logically conclude that I should go out and murder as many Christians as I can. I accept that if I kill somebody and do not repent, I would be denied access to heaven, thus decreasing the amount of pain in the world, however if even one of the Christians that I have killed would have lapsed some time in the future had I not killed them, then the two acts would cancel each other out. For every other Christian I kill after that which would have lapsed, I am raising the total “pleasure” of the world. Since the amount of “pain” I bring upon Christians that would not have lapsed are immesurably smaller than the amount of pleasure derived from one more person going to Heaven, it is justified to kill any number of Christians if at least two of them have lapsed.

Now, clearly (or maybe not if you want to argue it that way), the “right” course of action is NOT to go out and kill Christians, however, which of the premises can be attacked to bring down the argument or is there a flaw in my chain of reasoning?

Oops, that should be increasing

Such is probably the way serial killers reason.

I see a conflict right in between Premise 1 and Premise 2: Do Utilitarians believe in God?

I don’t see “God” mentioned here.
http://www.utilitarian.org/one.html

So your chain of logic breaks down right there, because you can’t start out with one philosophy that has “belief in God” and then combine it with one that has “no belief in God”.

Shalmanese said:

The very first one. You are assuming that God is real. If, however, that premise is wrong, you have just ended the only life a person will ever know.

I’d say that’s a pretty damned big flaw.

Yes, but for this debate God is real. That’s one of the premises.

I have a similar line of reasoning when it comes to cutting off people who sport a “fish” symbol on their cars.

I figure that if I cut them off, they’ll be forced to “turn the other cheek”, that is, give me a cheery wave or some such other gesture of goodwill.

By cutting them off, I am actually a minister of grace, sent by God to reinforce Christian behavior.

No I don’t really cut people off, no matter what faith they profess. That would be stupid and dangerous.

Assuming all of your premises to be true, you would have to take into consideration the possibility that one of the Christians you killed might have gone on to convert several other people to Christianity. If you killed him, then those other people might not be converted and would therefore go to hell. By your logic, you would then have to kill several more ‘lapsing’ Christians to make up for the missionary you killed. While trying to kill the lapsers, you would inevitably end up killing other Christians who might not have lapsed. Therefore, you’ve ended up increasing the pain in the world.

I see no reason to accept this premise. It sounds good on the surface, but I don’t think it can be justified.

Consider the situation where a million people take delight in the torturing of a young child. One could argue that their pleasure vastly outweighs any pain the child might feel – especially if the torture is kept mild (a mere hammer lock, for example). Does this justify the child’s torture?

At this point, some would object to the notion of one’s pleasure balancing out someone else’s pain. That would be an odd stance to take if one advocates the killing of Christians, but let’s play that game for now. What about having a million people watch a child being killed in its sleep? If done properly, the child will experience no pain, and the crowd may take tremendous pleasure from this act… yet no civilized person would consider this to be justified. Such an act may maximize pleasure with no corollary increase in pain, yet it would be barbarous in the extreme.

[ul]:rolleyes: [sup]One slight flaw may be contained in the Ten Commandments.[/sup][/ul]

Perhaps one of the flaws is perpetuated by Christians. That is that heaven is the ultimate goal.

I think the correct position by a Christian is the ultimate goal is to do God’s will or to please God or to glorify God.

Some take the position that this life is a training ground for eternity. This makes sense to me.

In any case, if you kill Christians, you prohibit them for learning as they ought to learn in preperation for an eternity with God.

So, the crime of killing a Christian has eternal consequences. In some sense, you are stacking up infinities of crime.

[sub]Besides, (as a Christian I can say this), we all know that Christians need all the training they can get.[/sub]

Premises 1 and 2 contradict each other. If God is real in a meaningful Christian sense, then He defines morality. (Or at least, he’s perfect and omniscient and thus can’t lie or be mistaken about morality.) And He’s already said He’s not in favor of people murdering each other.

Also, Premise 6 assumes that you can tell who’s a Christian in the been-saved sense. Just going to church isn’t enough. Maybe the person hasn’t really sincerely repented and accepted Jesus as their Savior, but they would have in the future if you’d let them live. You have no way of knowing.

What “religion” condones “murder” as being acceptable?

Your logic does not resemble our Earth logic.

I think I had better get me to a confessional PDQ.

Neurotik said:

Did you not read the message? He specifically asked which premise could be attacked. I pointed to the one that could be. And you know what? Even if he hadn’t, I still would have. Saying “that’s the premise” is no excuse for basing a discussion on a faulty foundation.

There is also the possibility that murdering a whole slew of Christians will cause additional Christians to lapse who would otherwise not have lapsed (“How could God allow this person to go on this killing spree? Does He just not care? Well screw Him, I’m gonna go worship Satan” or whatever). Despair (such as that caused by having several loved ones murdered) can lead to some pretty severe crises of faith.

I’d like to refer you to a quote from St Paul…

Romans 6:1,2
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?

Killing is bad. Dying is painful. Besides, you have absolutely no idea which folk are actually “Christian,” as does nobody on earth. So, killing folks and accidentally “sending them to hell” would kind of decreace happiness, don’t you think?

Also, part of the point of life is to gain experience and grow and become a better, more compassionate/loving/whatever person. You’re depriving the person of valuable life experiences (which then means that the amount of compassion in the world is decreased). What if God had particular jobs in mind for the person, who now misses out on them?

Also, part of the point of life is to gain experience and grow and become a better, more compassionate/loving/whatever person. You’re depriving the person of valuable life experiences (which then means that the amount of compassion in the world is decreased). What if God had particular jobs in mind for the person, who now misses out on them?

That was the point I was trying to make, based on the Utalitarian principle, it would be better for one person to willingly sin and prevent others from doing so.