Archive for the ‘Lactantius’ Category

He who finds it pleasurable to watch a man being killed, even though the man has been legally condemned, pollutes his conscience just as much as though he were an accomplice or willing spectator of a murder committed in secret

November 15, 2009

He who finds it pleasurable to watch a man being killed, even though the man has been legally condemned, pollutes his conscience just as much as though he were an accomplice or willing spectator of a murder committed in secret. Yet they call these ‘sports’-where human blood is shed! … When they see men placed under the stroke of death. begging for mercy, can they be righteous when they not only permit the men to be killed, but demand it? They cast their cruel and inhuman votes for death, not being satisfied by the mere flowing of blood or the presence of gashing wounds. In fact, they order the [gladiators] -although wounded and lying on the ground-to be attacked again and their corpses to be pummeled with blows, to make certain they are not merely feigning death. The crowds are even angry with the gladiators if one of the two isn’t slain quickly. As though they thirsted for human blood, they hate delays…. By steeping themselves in this practice, they have lost their humanity…. Therefore, it is not fitting that we who strive to stay on the path of righteousness should share in this public homicide. When God forbids us to kill, he not only prohibits the violence that is condemned by public laws, but he also forbids the violence that is deemed lawful by men.

Lactantius, 260 AD to 330 AD, Institutes bk. 6, chap. 20, paraphrased

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