The Instigator
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7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
14 Points

Taking the life of another human being can in some instances be the lesser of two evils.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/2/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,732 times Debate No: 7647
Debate Rounds (3)
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It is my argument that, in some exceptional cases, murder can be seen to be the lesser of two evils. Ofcourse, by this I am not claiming that I believe murder to be moral. There are instances however when murder could be seen to be the better of two options. I view this not only from a personal, moral viewpoint but also from a Christian view.

I look forward to an intelligent and challenging debate with whoever accepts!


Murder, is murder no matter who done it, why or, not. I debate from a Deontological point of view. And murder is never the better of the two options.

You may present a case.
Debate Round No. 1


Murder is essentially wrong. There are cases when I do believe it to be however, the better of two options.

Take for instance, in the case of abortion.
Let's assume that the mother is incredibly ill and that by having her child there is no way in which the mother could survive. Furthermore, there is only a slim chance that the baby will survive after birth, but a chance nonetheless.
In this case, an abortion (the murder of an unborn child) would be the lesser of two evils, as by removing the foetus, it would enable the mother to live. So through the act of murder, it is securing a life, that otherwise would no exist. It would not be immoral to take such an action to guarantee one life, when there is a slim chance that neither life would exist.

Another instance, could be in the case of euthanasia.
Laws, values and morals, are all social constructs. Something that we have established as a society over time. The idea of Murder being wrong, is no exception and could also be deemed to be a social construct. Something that is influenced by religion (a social construct in itself) and the ten commandments.
One of these commandments being; "Thou shall not kill." From which our moral that murder is wrong has derived.
However there are nine other commandments and when asked which is the most important Jesus replied;

"Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." [Matt22:37-40]

This demonstrates the two commandments that override- "Thou shall not kill."
If, murder (the breaking of this commandment) ensured that one of the two most important commandments was kept then surely it would make murder the lesser of two evils?

If a beloved relative was terminally ill, and faced a long painful death and wished only to be peacefully put to sleep through euthanasia. Surely granting such a wish would be the kind thing to do? By ending this life it would be following the commandment of loving thy neighbour. This would be the kindest option and indeed, the lesser of two evils.

Similarly an abortion could arguably also fulfill such a commandment. Take for example, the case of a young girl with a bright future ahead who is raped and consequently falls pregnant. By condemning this child to a life, against her will, in which she is forced to be a young mother caring for her rapists child would be the unkind, immoral thing to do. Refusing such a person an abortion would be an evil act, but allowing the abortion to take place, would be the lesser of two evils.

Finally, in the case of the death penalty.
Let's take the notoriously evil Hitler for example. He carried out mass genocide to Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses and numerous other non complying people who Hitler saw to be inferior to himself in the Holocaust. The lives of millions were taken away and thousands more were ruined even if they survived.
Had such a man been killed, by death penalty, or any other means prior to this, would that death have been immoral? That death of one evil man, who could have saved the lives of millions of innocent people who died in vain, merely for their beliefs and lifestyles. This again, I see to be the lesser of two evils.

In these instances, Murder is, undeniably the lesser of two evils. Whilst murder, in it's purest, cold blooded form is wrong. There are circumstances when it is the lesser of two evils.


As I said I am debating from Deontological point of view.

Contention 1) Categorical Imperative
Constrained only by the principle of universalizability, the practical reason of any ration being understands the categorical imperative to be: " act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should be become a universal law." That is, act in a way that everyone including yourself,will ALWAYS act according to the same general rule in the future. So, What does this have to do with murder, if you murder you make it acceptable, and if everyone is murdering people no on is alive, therefore the resolution doesn't matter because we are all dead!

Contention 2) Alternative Formula/More Universal Law
Kant offers the formula of end in itself. "act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time never simply as a means." Thi splaces more emphasis on the unique value of human life as desrving of our ULTIMATE moral respect and thus proposes a more personal view of morality. so, by comitting murder would be to merely treat a human being as means to get the "greater good" and therefore would be a failure to oblige by this law. Drawing everything together. The forumla of anatomy under which the decision to act according to a maxim is actually regarded as having made it a universal law. Here the concern with human dignity is combined with the principle of uiniversalizability to produce a grand conception of moral law.
Kant puts its " A ration being belongs to the kingdom of ends as a member when he legislates in it universal laws while also being himself subject to these laws." Thus it iyou have a moral duty not to murder, murder is always wrong, because it results in the harm to others.

Contetnion 3) Types of Deontological ethics
Divine command: the most common forms of deontological moral theories are those which derive their set of moral obligations from a god. According to many christians, an action is morally correct whenever it is in moral agreement with the rules of God. SInce god condemns murder in his commandments murder is unacceptable.

Duty Theories: An action is morally right if it is in accord with some list of duties and obligations (such as a government) In America and most civilized countries, murder is unacceptable under the law and therefore NEVER the better option.

Rights Theory : an action is morally right if it adequately respects the rights of all humans, the greatest of these rights being life. Murder in any way shape of form does not do this.


He bring sup abortion from rape victims where killing the fetus is good well These cases are extremely rare 0 pregnances out of 4500 rape cases (

He must have misunderstood God because the bibles also says in

Exodus 21:22-25 (New International Version)
"If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

Exodus 23:7 (New International Version)
" Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty."

Proverbs 6:16; Proverbs 6:17 (New International Version
16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,

That basically destroys his whole God says murder is ok and just in certain situations.
So, the lord does not like murder and my opponent clearly says that God likes murder?
That also destroys his abortion thing because God does not like the killing of innoncent people in fact neither does deontology.

I urge a con ballot on the fact that murder is never justifiable through Kant's Deontology, which include the Alternative formula, categorical imperative, and universal law/
Debate Round No. 2


one-2-won forfeited this round.


seeing as my opponent forfeits and has not refuted any of my points on deontology. So, one must conclude that based on this taking a life of another human being can never be justified and never be the lesser of two evils. Because, of universal law, the categorical imperative, and the alternative theory, must be applied and show you how the morals allow the resolution to be false. I also win on the abortion point because he did not refute the points i brought up against them. Thank you vote con
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by snelld7 8 years ago
If you clarify as to what you're going to talk about (so I know where to start) then I'll take this debate....
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