- The Christian writer Lactantius of Bithinia wrote about the Sixth Commandment ("Thou shalt not kill") as follows:
"When God prohibits killing, he not only forbids us to commit brigandage, which is not allowed even by public laws, but he warns us not to do even those things which are legal among men. And so it will not be lawful for a just man to serve as a soldier for justice itself is his military service, nor to accuse anyone of a capital offense, because it makes no difference whether they kill with a sword or with a word, since killing itself is forbidden."
Attacking even capital punishment, the great Church father Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage wrote:
"Christians are not allowed to kill, it is not permitted to guiltless to put even the guilty to death."
Capital punishment is generally seen as a point of contention between liberal Christians and Vaishnavas, as Srila Prabhupada taught us capital punishment is more merciful than life imprisonment, as a killer or a murderer will be absolved of the karma, and not have to suffer for his or her crime in future lifetimes.
However, it must be pointed out that sanctity-of-life issues like abortion, animal rights, capital punishment, euthanasia, indeed discussion over the moral wrong of killing itself... are all based on the premise that it's wrong to prematurely end someone else's life!
Vegan author John Robbins writes in his Pulitzer Prize nominated Diet for a New America (1987):
"Animals do not 'give' their lives to us, as the sugar-coated lie would have it. No, we take their lives. They struggle and fight... They go kicking and screaming, bellowing their protest, fighting for their lives, and calling...for somebody, somewhere, to please hear them."
Plutarch (45 - 125 AD), was a Greek priest at Delphi. This gave him access to Greece's most ancient traditions. Plutarch was one of the few writers in the ancient world to advocate vegetarianism solely out of compassion for animals, without referring to reincarnation.
His essay, "On Eating Flesh," is a thought-provoking literary classic:
"Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstinence from flesh?" he began. "For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of mind the first man touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, set forth tables of dead, stale bodies, and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had before bellowed and cried, moved and lived.
"How could eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds?
"It is certainly not lions or wolves that we eat out of self-defense; on the contrary, we ignore these and slaughter harmless, tame creatures without stings or teeth to harm us For the sake of flesh we deprive them of sun, of light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and being."
Plutarch then delivered his challenge to the flesh-eaters:
"If you declare that you are naturally designed for such a diet, then first kill yourself what you want to eat. Do it, however, only through your own resources, unaided by cleaver or cudgel or any kind of ax."
Plutarch observed that the first man put to death in Athens was the most degraded amongst knaves, but eventually the philosopher Polemarchus (what to speak of Socrates) was put to death as well.
Plutarch concluded that killing animals, whether human or otherwise, is a bloodthirsty and savage practice which only serves to incline the mind towards more brutality. His argument appears to link the needless slaughter of animals to capital punishment.--Vasuvasumurti@...