Monday, 23 November 2009

Perfect Justice

Many Xians claim that god is the author of justice, and as such gives us perfect justice, both in this world and the next. For the purposes of this post, we can simplify the idea of justice to getting what one deserves. I've already dealt with the inherent contradiction between getting what one deserves and god handing out grace from the Xian perspective, but today I'd like to focus on something else. Does Xian philosophy really provide perfect justice (minus the grace part of course)? Let's look at a hypothetical example.

Let's suppose a tyrant. Let's let our tyrant be evil, vicious, cruel, and vindictive (no I'm not talking about Yahweh, but I could be I suppose). Let's further say that this tyrant is responsible for many deaths, much suffering, has tortured others, etc. This is a really bad, bad person. Is it just (perfect or otherwise) for this person to be tortured in hell for eternity? Of course not. No matter how bad this person was in life, that was finite and infinite torture for finite crimes doesn't make sense from a justice standpoint.

But, let's strengthen the argument. Let's say that the tyrant receives punishment that fits the extent of his crimes. For every murder he caused, he gets to feel what it felt like. He gets to feel all the pain and suffering that he caused, until he has felt it all when the punishment stops. Is this perfect justice? Well, it's vengeance for sure, but it's a bit more equitable than an eternity in hell. And, I'm sure that most Xians would thirst for this type of retributive vengeance, but it's still not perfect justice.

So, why is it not perfect? It's not perfect because the tyrant's actions allowed others to unjustly feel this pain and torment to begin with. Did the tyrant's victims get what they deserve in this life? When their lives were cut short, they lost the ability to fully live out their lives and attain their own balance sheets for their bout with finite vengeance after death. By god allowing this state of affairs, perfect justice can not be attained. In this sense, Xianity can not offer the hope for perfect justice at all, and that's even after using an argument that most Xians don't even subscribe to, which is the argument that after-death punishment would fit the severity and scope of the crimes done.


lars said...

s'cos you see what you believe

GCT said...

Care to expand on that? Are you claiming that if I believed in god that hell would magically become just and that the suffering and ability of others to cause suffering would somehow be just as well? Our beliefs don't affect what is and is not reality.