Monday, December 21, 2015


"The Commandments" 7 inch plate "Thou shalt do no murder" circa 1850
There is a series of 19th century transferware children's plates titled "The Commandments." The ten commandments are excellent patterns for children's plates, which were often intended as teaching tools as well as gifts.  Although the pattern above may seem inappropriate for young children, it is a starting point to teach children about the sanctity of every life.  It is also an opportunity to discuss the difference between killing and murder.

I have been thinking about murder lately.  What constitutes murder?  How is is different from killing?  Is there a difference?

The Biblical injunction "Thou shalt not murder" orders us not to take the life of another human being.  However, there are Biblical exceptions such as battle, self-defense, and the death penalty.  These deaths may be justified.  By extension, there are also accidental (without intent) deaths caused by mistake and negligence. Arguably, these are not murder.   However, "Thou Shalt Do No Murder" is clear about some deaths.  Unjustified and planned killing of unsuspecting and innocent people in a bar in Paris or a holiday party in San Bernadino is murder.  It is as simple as that.  At least, it may be  simple to a child. 

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