View Poll Results: What role should mercy play in society?

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  • Society should always be merciful.

    4 21.05%
  • Society should sometimes be merciful.

    12 63.16%
  • Society should never be merciful.

    0 0%
  • Other

    3 15.79%
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Thread: What role should mercy play in society?

  1. #11
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by tessaesque View Post
    Seems to me it would be foolish to express mercy towards somebody who is likely to continue their destructive pattern of behavior. So without some level of contrition and rehabilitation I see no reason to introduce any act of mercy into the discussion. Some guy going on a killing rampage shouldn't be shown mercy as long as he's actively trying to keep killing. And if it's determined that he's unable to succeed in rehabilitation efforts, what level of mercy is even safe to offer up to him?

    The "noble criminal" perhaps deserves mercy...the man who steals to feed his family, the woman who attacks her husband to stop him from beating their children, the crazed father who beats the living hell out of the man who raped his daughter and "got away with it"....but to have mercy upon somebody who is repetitively and intentionally destructive to society of their own will and volition? I see no need.
    Well, mercy, as I see it, does not necessarily mean letting someone continue to hurt people. It's simply the definition in the OP which can be given to someone at many levels. One of the most remarkable examples of mercy I can think of is when several Amish girls were killed by a man in Pennsylvania who then killed himself. Rather than condemning him and calling him a monster and doing all of the things that are common in such cases, several of the families of those who were killed attended the killer's funeral and visited his family to show their forgiveness. That is mercy as well and I think there is value in that.

  2. #12
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    Sorry German Guy, you don't get to decide what feelings crime victims have are valid and which aren't. Some surviving members of a murder victim's family may well forgive and not want to see a harsh penalty for the killer. I dare say though, that most loved ones feel worse if the killer (or molester or whatever) is treated too lightly. You may not agree with the death penalty (as an example) but victim's families have a right to their anger.

    Retribution is a perfectly valid part of punishing criminals.
    But now you're telling him what he can and cannot think is valid.

  3. #13
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    I don't think anyone deserves mercy, but I do think those who are merciful to everyone and anyone are the most honorable of society. And when I say "mercy", I do not mean simply letting criminals out of jail to harm others again. Mercy can simply mean showing compassion rather than condemnation or choosing to inflict a lesser, but still effective, punishment for a criminal. For example, rather than calling a murderer a monster and wishing him a cruel end, one would still have compassion for him as human being and only wish for the punishment that would protect society from him.
    Couldn't agree more. I think the way we treat criminals says a lot about us. They are not "monsters", but it's much harder to stomach that they are humans after all -- they represent the dark sides within ourselves which we would love to split off and forget. That's why we don't care about the conditions in prisons, and that's why we dehumanize criminals.

    Nobody was born as criminal (with very few exceptions of people with organic brain damage maybe), and when it's possible to turn an innocent child into a criminal, you can turn a criminal into a good citizen again -- maybe not always, but much more often than people believe. But as many prisons look these days -- can we really expect rehabilitation to succeed? No, we give up on these people. That's an embaressment for a civilized society.

    Again, as you say, I don't mean that criminals should get no punishment, or that we should neglect the protection of society from crime out of pity. Society must be protected. But at the same time, I think much trouble could be avoided if there was more emphasis on rehabilitation and prevention.
    "Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."

  4. #14
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    Sorry German Guy, you don't get to decide what feelings crime victims have are valid and which aren't. Some surviving members of a murder victim's family may well forgive and not want to see a harsh penalty for the killer. I dare say though, that most loved ones feel worse if the killer (or molester or whatever) is treated too lightly. You may not agree with the death penalty (as an example) but victim's families have a right to their anger.

    Retribution is a perfectly valid part of punishing criminals.
    I think when it comes to the death penalty, it's pretty simple: Either you like the thought of killing people, then you support it. Or you dislike that thought, then you are against it.
    "Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."

  5. #15
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    I don't think anyone deserves mercy, but I do think those who are merciful to everyone and anyone are the most honorable of society. And when I say "mercy", I do not mean simply letting criminals out of jail to harm others again. Mercy can simply mean showing compassion rather than condemnation or choosing to inflict a lesser, but still effective, punishment for a criminal. For example, rather than calling a murderer a monster and wishing him a cruel end, one would still have compassion for him as human being and only wish for the punishment that would protect society from him.
    It's not being very merciful to crime victims or their families to essentially say to them that the death of their loved one doesn't mean anything and isn't worthy of punishment.

  6. #16
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gardener View Post
    If one acts merciful towards a transgressor who brutalizes others in such a way as to allow a pattern of continued brutalization, is one actually acting mercifully?

    The notion of mercy is similar to the notion of tolerance in that it shouldn't demand the suspension of the sort of moral reasoning required in order to evaluate the big picture.
    Well, mercy doesn't require that you let people continue to hurt others. It requires compassion to varying degrees. And yes, one can be merciful while also allowing someone to continue harmful behavior.

  7. #17
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    I think when it comes to the death penalty, it's pretty simple: Either you like the thought of killing people, then you support it. Or you dislike that thought, then you are against it.
    It isn't that simple at all, actually. But if you want to simplify it and ignore the complex dynamics that's definitely your perogative....it's just mildly dishonest, is all.
    "Hmmm...Can't decide if I want to watch "Four Houses" or give myself an Icy Hot pee hole enema..." - Blake Shelton


  8. #18
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    It's not being very merciful to crime victims or their families to essentially say to them that the death of their loved one doesn't mean anything and isn't worthy of punishment.
    But I'm not saying that to them. If you believe that my showing mercy means that I don't think the death of your loved one means anything, then that is your interpretation of my behavior that I am not and cannot be responsible for.

    Moreover, another family might see it differently. They may believe that wishing a cruel end to the person who murdered their loved one is disrespectful to their loved one. So if I don't give mercy, then I am being disrespectful. So which family do I pander to? The one who believes in mercy or the one who does not. The answer is that I pander to neither and let everyone make their own decisions while I make mine.

  9. #19
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by tessaesque View Post
    It isn't that simple at all, actually. But if you want to simplify it and ignore the complex dynamics that's definitely your perogative....it's just mildly dishonest, is all.
    No matter if you are a common murderer or just taking joy out of executions -- there are always reasons, legal or illegal. But they are just excuses for not being civilized. Apparently, you simply love the idea of killing other people. It's really that simple.
    "Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."

  10. #20
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    Re: What role should mercy play in society?

    Quote Originally Posted by tessaesque View Post
    It isn't that simple at all, actually. But if you want to simplify it and ignore the complex dynamics that's definitely your perogative....it's just mildly dishonest, is all.
    On top of that, you allow the murderer to win: He manages to turn even more people into murderers, destroying their souls.

    I don't know how I would react. Maybe I'd kill a person harming a loved one too. But I know that wouldn't be right, and I am not sure I could live with it. And I don't understand how any merciful, good person could possibly live with it.
    "Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."

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