Daredevil and the Doctrine of Double Effect

Image result for daredevil season 3Daredevil on Netflix: Season 3 is excellent. A fight scene (in the prison) is as good as the famous hallway scene in Season 1. Another stellar performance by Vincent D’Onofrio. A good plot and a satisfying filling in of Karen’s backstory. Sophisticated visuals and use of sound.

That was my tweet. One thing that did annoy me was the prominent reliance of the writers on the Thou Shall Not Kill trope. Foggy even says “once you cross that line, there’s no return”. Ugh, give me a break. The trope is tired and it also annoys me as an economist. Daredevil has been in a lot of fights and with probability approaching 1 he has already killed. Did none of those prison guards or cops have thin skulls? And why should there be a line? Is killing two people with expected probability of 1/2 really so much better than killing one person with expected probability 1?

As I thought about this more, however, the Thou Shall Not Kill trope is least objectionable in Daredevil. Daredevil is a serious Catholic and can thus call upon Thomas Aquinas’s Doctrine of Double Effect. Aquinas argues that:

moral acts take their species according to what is intended, and not according to what is beside the intention…

Thus, Foggy, the ever-precise lawyer, is correct. Catholic doctrine draws a line between intending to kill and expecting to kill. Expecting to kill is ok, intending to kill is not. I am not a fan of the doctrine of double effect as among other flaws it too easily allows people to shrug off war crimes and the killing of innocents (heh, we only intended to kill the groom, the fact that we also killed the soon-to-be wife and guests, well that was beside the intention). Nevertheless, I will allow that the doctrine of double effects gets the Daredevil writers off the hook for inappropriate use of cliche. Batman, however, has no excuse.

Addendum: For an excellent review of Daredevil Seasons 1-3 from the point of view of Christianity, see this post at Christ and Pop Culture.


Is the thesis of this post that only Catholics meaningfully draw a distinction between murder, with intent and a killing in a brawl that was intended to save / protect others?

Catholic-philosophic jargon such as "Double Effect" is extremely irritating, isn't it? Another one is the phrase "ordered to" -- as in, "all creatures are ordered to God" (creatures exist for the sake of the bringing-about of something or other having something to do with God?) and "sexual intercourse is ordered to the generation of offspring". As soon as you read one of those two phrases anywhere you know that the author's Catholic.

Still, Catholic philosophical writing is a lot less irritating than Straussian writing. As soon as you've read three sentences by a Straussian you know it's a Straussian and stop reading. How do they acquire that tone of placid, flaccid, impotent omniscience? Is there a Straussianism-inducing drug that gets injected into students at the special Straussian cult-compounds?

Lots of Catholic theologians do not write well,as you have correctly pointed out.

In their defense, they know that nobody (who is not reading it as part of their job) reads what they write. The fact you are reading it would surprise them!

Try some who do know how to write.

For example, Newman, when he talks in one of his poems about how you are a failure if you cannot, by prayer, heal somebody who is sick.

Or Aquinas, when he humbly states every clever portion of his theology was just "as straw".

This is just a comment on a blog post, we are not sitting on the deck of a freighter headed across the ocean, but if we were I could spend hours telling you why Dante, for example, was a second rate theologian compared to what he should have been, or why the "pastoral letters" of recent Popes have often been anything but pastoral, sadly ... but I won't. Maybe you don't need my help ....
You are a smart guy, you would not listen for a minute to - let's run the numbers here - there were probably 80,000 symphonies written for the traditional Western classical orchestra between 1770 and 1970. You are not ever going to hear one that is in the bottom 90 percent, and if you hear a random one in the top one percent, you are not going to listen to it again 99 times out of a hundred. Not to a minute of it.

Same thing with theology, the nonsense phrases you quoted will be absolutely forgotten historical relics not so long in the future.

Read the real stuff, the Bible, and the best of the best of the best of Christian theology.

Life on earth is short!

sorry, 9 times out of 10, not 99 out of 100 (out of 80,000 symphonies, there are 72, 000 you will never hear, and out of the top one percent, the best 800, almost nobody listens twice to those that are not in the top ten percent --- this is just my observation).

Living in the West, with a structured cultural tradition, does involve a lot of
connoisseurship. It is not like going to the mall with a bunch of friends, all of whom like different things.

It is difficult, no matter what field of knowledge one discusses, to be accurate about that which accurately reflects reality (the world is created by God, God loves the world) rather than be accurate about what that field looks like to someone who does not really care all that much about what reality is (the world is created by God, God loves the world).

Oh well, if you want to hear a good symphony, Tubin 4 and Nielsen the Inextinguishable are in that top one percent of the top one percent I was talking about.

I am not being an elitist, I am more like that guy at the cigar store who knows which cigars are going to be the best for you. Cheers!

Shostakovich - who I never met, although back in the day one or two of his friends had friends with whom I was a pal - and Copland --- who I did meet, at a Howard Johnson restaurant, in upstate New York, after he had conducted one of his symphonies ----- but he had no idea that the people at his table knew a lot less about what he wanted to do, as a musician, than I did, I think he thought I was a mere "admirer" or a "fan" rather than what I really was - heart speaks to heart, I was one of the people who understood his music, even back then - well, time goes on, nobody cares about anybody, outside of the blessings of automatic friendship and happy families, until they wake up and realize they care (true dat, whether you like it or not.... ) - well, Shostakovich and Copland also wrote good (as in, almost as good as Mozart, but, obviously, not quite) symphonies.

So ... please do not judge Catholic Theology by our professional theologians!

God loves us all the way we are but loves us too much to let us stay that way!!!!

I'll always remember Peggy Eaton on that cold day in Cambridge when our jackets were unfit and our Windsor ties slick from the snow. She had alabaster, ice-blue skin and roseate cheeks; she looked at you as a swan flies overhead, with waxing blinks and spectral glare. The pupils lit from some place deep inside, sheared by comprehension and disdaining tradition. It was so touching the way she touched her cake and ate it too, all at once, in one, single bite as if the party depended upon the crust and the frosting melding into one, single mush.

Thanks for reading - and thanks for the really good J D Salinger pastiche, and yes, God loves Peggy Eaton so so much .... (actually I like your prose better than Salinger's ...)

and God loves you just as much

that is all I ever try to say

look, I spend most of my time in a world where I have to work at a devastatingly unpleasant job

devastatingly, you have no idea

I don't mind but

and I have to say that I meet and talk, every f**king day, to people who are not

pretty, not witty, not handsome, not intense in a good way, not even, bless their little hearts, intense in a bad way ....

and - believe me or not (I hope you believe me, I am many things, but one thing I am not is dishonest)

before I could talk I knew what evil was. One of my parents was one of those Spergerville losers who cannot - absolutely cannot - treat a fellow human in the way, the minimal way, the least of the octopi ( a creature with social skills) treats a fellow octopi - can you imagine being a little child with a parent like that - no you can't, I hope ----- and the other one of my parents was an addict - and not one of the nice addicts, one of the mean ones ....

but that was a good thing, I know that now half a century later, after so many painful years .... it was hard on me when I was young, but now, when I am someone who makes several people (several meaning somewhere between 3 and 21) a lot happier everyday because of the way I talk to them ... can you imagine ...., being someone ... ( who has seen so much nastiness as I have seen, since before I could talk ,,,,, I remember .....) anyway, being someone who knows how to give a little happiness to other people, people who know that, for some reason, they have rarely been looked in the eyes by someone who knows (as I do) that they are God's elect (every single one of them, I have looked at them and seem that it is true), been rarely treated as an equal, the way I treat them, and who rarely have heard someone say to them, completely honestly, the way I say to them ----

something like this

you have no idea of how much I have suffered, or how much joy I have seen

because although I could tell you about the ten or twenty thousand days when I suffered

and when God was not there to say, hey, that pain you feel is not real

if you are reading this with compassion, you are thinking not about me but about those you care about who similarly

suffered alone, without anyone to say "God loves you" ...

not anyone in this world


I always knew

the angels were there

Thank God, tonight, that you have a guardian angel.
I never had one.
Trust me.
That is why I understand the suffering of others so well.
Look, everyone you know will die some day, assuming the Book of Revelation is not describing your lifetime
Look, I have always known, believe me or not, these are not the end times
Pray, right now, for someone you care about,
and who has not had a good time in this world.

You may Iive a million years
you may be smarter than von Neumann
smarter than me
beloved by every one you meet,
maybe every holiday you ever lived through
was a real holiday

but none of that will matter

if you said to yourself

F**k no
I am not going to

pray to God for others

I do not have a good opinion of myself

Sure I had worse parents than Jesus did, and I am sure he appreciates that

But I do not know whether that is a big deal or not

Here is the big deal

Either you care about other people or you don't

God loves us, God wants us to do what we need to do

To be friends to the people who we imagine know that

God loves so much (that is easy)

God loves us, God wants us to do what we need to do (pray, free-form or just repeating a Hail Mary or an Our Father .... trust me)


God loves people who are obviously foolish as much as he loves the wise.

I have seen what the road to Heaven is, and I say it when I was - well, not exactly foolish, but also not exactly the sort of person most people would think is Christian ----

there is nothing easier than asking God, as a friend asks a friend, to help.

(one thing I am not is dishonest)

Wake up wake up wake up

as if you (you, not me, you meaning someone whose parents loved him or her (that would not be me) or someone who did not live decades with pain (that would not be me) ===pain that mimicked cancer, but not the had cancer of the prostate, cancer of the brain, cancer in many other places

Deuteronomy 31:6

thanks for reading

this world is my world

yours too, I hope

Acts 17:18

thanks for reading

this world will always be my world

and yours too

I hope

Thank God tonight that you have a guardian angel

and if you think you don't

(as I don't, trust me, I have suffered so much, and the one reward - the only reward - I have fully known is the reward of knowing that, no matter how many uninterested people have tried to make me unhappy - I never once regretted my decision to - not once - complain that my guardian angel was not there for me ... because guardian angels are people too, and at some point in time, long ago, I decided that it would be best if only I suffered from the nasty idiots who were so rude, so often ----and the angels appreciate our silence, our lack of judgementalism ... I could take it (it meaning the pain of suffering) much more easily than the angels could, because one benefit of knowing how bad people are when you are two or three years old, as I did, is this:

you can look, every day for the rest of your life, into the eyes of other people, and you can see, because you have seen unkindness in its cold sad quiddity, which ones were lucky

(God loved them and kept them from harm, and they were happy____)

and after those years of pain, years which I would not wish on my worst enemy (not that I have any worst enemies, that is not the world I live in)

you can also see which ones were brave enough to be the sort of people, nasty to look at, and who nobody really cares about --- not the selfish parents, not the righteous police officers, not the fat judges, not nobody ----

and you know that, everybody is tempted to be selfish

it is God's job to judge

the evildoers, when they experience the retribution that is inevitable, still have time to repent

well maybe they would have been better than us, had they had our advantages

wake up

fight for what is right

and those who had a wonderful start in life, who were always loved and treasured ====

sometimes you see in their eyes that gentle look which means they care, and they know that they should care

almost always (to tell the truth) but not always

think about it

thanks for reading.

our job is not an easy one,


sometimes we do it well

it is not difficult

Just care about other people

Don't cry


I have my faults but dishonesty is not one of them .... and so ... listen .... listen, as if your life depended on it ... listen .... it is no small thing to be a friend to a creature who never had a friend in this world .... trust me .... don't cry .... pray .... like I said, I have my faults, but I am honest ..... it is no small thing to be a friend to a creature who never had a friend in this world .... no it isn't

years from now you and me will both be considered "dead"
by the people who live in those latter years, maybe

don't you believe it

if you did what you were supposed to do

if you cared about a creature who never had a friend in this world

you were on the right road

people with love in their heart, who know that God loves us and who love God in turn, will never die

Ephesians (for the truth), Philippians (for the truth of friendship)

Excellent blog post. I certainly love this site.
Keep it up!

Either you care about other people or you don't

Don't think about me, one way or another

think about other people

Either you care about other people or you don't

Trust me

caring about them is much better than not caring

Just saying

You have heard it a million times before

but maybe never from someone who credibly claims that he does not have a guardian angel and that you do

yes I have prayed to God to relieve the angels of being my guardian

Trust me, I know what I am saying

God loves me

Guardian angel or no guardian angel

but I have suffered so much, and without the consolations of a guardian angel --- because I know how hard it would have been on an angel to watch what I had to do to understand this world .... I have my faults, but I am not rude, and I have been, wittingly or not, kinder to angels than I would have been if I had known there was an alternative ....

but that is over now

and all I need to do is ask God ....

(a real person , by the way, don't think for a second that God is not a real person ---- just don't, please, because, after all, if you think that way, you are so so so misguided .... trust me ...._

as a friend asks a friend

to protect you

and to make you understand

there is nothing better in this world than being a friend to a creature who never had a friend in this world

Chebere amiga chebere amigo chebere

Catholic theology is this: God loves you.

Your job is to understand that, and, having understood that

to be a friend to a creature who never had a friend in this world.

God is good, and the night is beautiful, and so is the day.

also, be kind to the angels, if you ever have an opportunity to do a kindness for an angel, do it!

they live in this world too

and it is not a nice world

they appreciate your kindness, your brave concern


not yet, anyway (it is not a nice world yet, anyway, but my brave friends will make it a nice world someday)

magna est veritas et praevalebit

I know that and you know that

but not all the angels know

so be kind to them if you can

they are creatures too

trust me

God is good, and the night is beautiful, and so is the day

God loves you more than God loves me

trust me, I have looked into the eyes of thousands of people, made thousands of people laugh on days when they were sad, have experienced thousands of hours of pain without complaint, because I cared enough not to complain, cared enough not to make those who care about me unhappy

in this world

or in the next world, either

it has not been an easy life

I knew what evil was before I could talk, being born into one of those old school families with lots of kids and with arrogant parents, and I have therefore (being a reasonable creature) been on the side of those who reject evil as much as I could my whole life

I am not saying that I was always the friend to God that God wanted me to be

but, like you (yes, I know that you had just as hard a life, in ways)

like you

I sometimes tried to do the right thing
so there's that

God loves you

Me and God are friends, but we are good enough friends that I can say

God loves you more than he loves me

and I am fine with that

wake up wake up wake up

I have seen Death face to face and poor Death was afraid of me because I felt sorry for Death

and I said to Death

wake up wake up I will see you tomorrow morning

Imagine the best painting you have ever seen

Imagine the best music you have ever heard

Imagine that time when you saw a friend or a loved one after going through trauma, after a very bad experience, but the friend

or the loved one

did not know what you had gone through

Imagine that look on their face, that look that said

You are so important to me

You are the meaning of my life

You are the reason I live the reason I am happy

Cor ad cor loquitur

God loves us all the way we are but loves us too much to let us stay that way

Cor ad cor loquitur
Heart speaks to heart

God loves us all
but please please please trust me
God loves you more than God loves me

you have no idea how hard it was to go through what I have gone through to be able to say that, without a single feeling of resentment in my heart

I was lucky enough to be so kind to another Person

remember that

some day you will be expected to be kind, by someone you care about

and I pray that you will be as brave and kind as expected

that, my friend, is theology, as best as I can explain it

if you need a better explanation

line up and volunteer

to live your life , as I did, without a real guardian angel, and at the end of all those years ....

start over again, but do it right this time

Be A Friend To A Creature Who Never Had A Friend In This World

or be a better friend than your friend expected you to be

Cor ad cor loquitur

I remember.

Proverbs 8 (God loves you) (trust me)

If I did not explain why I am happy I failed

and if I failed

then please,be a friend, go ahead and say the truth where I failed to say the truth

it will be easier for you

You have a guardian angel and I, because I cared so much, do not.

That --- that ---- that is why Death is afraid of me.

And of you too, the moment you understand this ----

It is no small thing to be a Friend to a Creature who never had a Friend in this World.

Proverbs 8 (God loves you) (trust me)

they appreciate your kindness, your brave concern

I have seen Death face to face and poor Death was afraid of me because I felt sorry for Death

but we are all creatures of God

and so I said

what I wanted to say to everyone who looked at me, if just for a moment, with kindness

God loves you more than God loves me

wake up wake up

I will see you tomorrow morning

If you are reading this Benny

I was completely truthful when I told you we were best friends

If you are reading this Jenny

I was completely truthful when I told you we were best friends

if you are reading this Bixy

I was completely truthful when I told you we were best friends

If you are reading this Candice

I was completely truthful when I told you we were best friends

If you are reading this Death

God loves you too

I know what you have been through

God loves us all, you and me both

Remember that

When you are tempted to anger

Remember that

when you look with eyes of compassion on the struggles that have been the struggles of my life

be nice to me, if you can

I may not have been the first person who was nice to you

and maybe you don't care

but I was nice to you

you too are a creature of God's

remember this

I cared, and I wanted you to be happy,

Trust me.

God loves us all.

Trust me.

Really, God loves you more than God loves me.

Cheer up.

Do you know this: I was not, not at all, saying anything except this

(no condescencion, my friend, no resentment, no criticism, just friendship ----- cor ad cor loquitur, and i mean it from the depths of my heart, and if you don't believe me, well try and live a few of the days I have lived in a world where Nobody Cared About Me----- days which I would live over again and again, to help you out, my young friend Death, simply because I know - you have no idea how I know it, but I know it ---- I know you want somebody to just go ahead and say - you too are a child of God, and you too were created by God with the hope that you too, would some day walk around in Heaven as if you belonged there ---- and after so many years of suffering in this world, there is no way I can say to you that I would not be happy to see you in Heaven too.

No you are not afraid of me.

I don't want you to be afraid of me, my young friend.

God loves us all.

Trust me, you have no reason not to.

God loves you, and God is proud of you, trust me ---- I remember that time when you did the right thing.

And if you are afraid, my poor young friend ----

don't be afraid.

God loves you, and there is nothing better in this world than

Being a Friend to a Creature who Never had a Friend in this World.

this is not 2018, I am not who you think I am, and God loves you.

Trust God,

and if you don't

think it over

think about it

There is no reason not to trust God

I apologize for making you nervous

It is no big deal, to be Death

You are just a small creature, one of many in this world'

I apologize for making you even a little bit afraid

It is no small thing to be a Friend to a Creature who never had a friend int this world

wake up wake up wake up

see you tomorrow morning

this is not my world but

it is more your world than it is mine

God loves you my young friend

God loves you my young friend

I was never young

you were

I don't care

God loves us both


I too felt that sad distance

We all have felt it


I hope you appreciate


I hope you appreciate that you

are the creature

The creature ( a creature like myself)

That I cared so much for, knowing how hard it was to be what you were

How much I cared for you

Do you think I am joking, after all these years of suffering

Do you think I am joking when I say

it is no small thing to be a friend to a creature that never had a friend in this world

I remember, long long long ago, how we used to be friends

and I always said

You had so much kindness in your heart

Back in the day I Envied you

or was jealous of you

same thing

I remember

We are friends, and I wish you the best

I pray for you every day

Several times every day

God loves you more than God loves me

thanks for reading

we are friends, right?

of course we are

cor ad cor loquitur

plus you can't be angry with me


I was there when you needed me.


There was no way I would have not been there when you needed me.

That, my friend, is something I remember.

Say what you want, my Friend, I was there when you needed me to be there.

And I know your name.and even if your name is Death, I know you are just a poor little creature, not all that different from any other poor creature.

I will not walk into Paradise unless you are at my side.

That is how friends talk to each other.

Trust me.

There was no way I would have not been there when you needed me.

That, my friend, is something I remember.

And yes I know your name, and I know this too:

God loves you more than God loves me.

There was no way that I would not have been there when you needed me.

You know that I know exactly who you are, and you know I know how much God loves you.

I was there when you needed me, and I will be there the next time you need me. After all I have been through, that is an easy promise to make.

Heart speaks to heart, cor ad cor loquitur, I am faithful to my friends, and they are faithful to me.

God loves us all.

you can't be angry with me because

I was there when you needed me

Wake up, and do the right thing.

God loves you my young friend.

There is no way I would not have been there when you needed me

and I am just a mediocre person, imagine what gifted people would do for you!


God loves us all

as always, thanks for the bandwidth

There is nothing easier than friendship

and nothing more valuable than caring about another creature

>moral acts take their species according to what is intended, and not according to what is beside the intention…

That ignores consequentialism. Intentions do not preserve humanity or keep extinction at bay. One needs to first BE before one can be intentional. A behavior needs to first BE before a behavior can be moral.

This isn't saying anti-intentionalism doesn't have consequences. It does.

We are talking about a doctrine made by a Medieval monk. Extinction was considered a feature, not a bug. The Medieval world thought very differently than we do, and parts of this trickle into modern Catholicism.

The Stoics had clearly worked out the distinction between virtuous and merely right action well before Paul's birth, and it's already strongly implied in Plato's writings.

Indeed--and you'll find many relics of Stoicism, along with other Roman philosophical schools, in Catholic doctrine. Even the structure of European Catholic prayers (I'm not as well-informed on Eastern Orthodox) stems from the Roman form. For example, there is the repetition of names.

That said, we're not talking about Stoicism here. We're talking about Catholicism. ;)

Same thing. Both Stoicism and Catholicism subscribe to transubstantiation. Catholics believe the event output that is Christ's blood/body is possible from multiple inputs; caloric independence from the wine bottle. Stoics believe the event output that is a clear mind is possible from multiple inputs; psychological independence from the environment.

It's called war, moron. The instant you signed up for, say, Obama spending eight years bombing seven different countries.... you signed up for "the killing of innocents."

Don't give me this garbage about how you sleep fine at night knowing Obama was waging war, but gee, this killing-of-innocents-stuff sometimes might get you worked up enough to write a Concerned Blog Post.

Obama. Obama Obama? Obama, Obama Obama Obama. Obama; Obama, Obama, Obama.

Obama bad man. Waaaaaahh!!

Transnational Pants Machine, you're right there's a bias there. The death of a person is a tragedy, the death of a million people is a statistic, as they say. Still, if we are to give special condemnation to terrorists, bombing a wedding with predictable civilian casualties is pretty much a terrorist act. Even if it kills a high-ranking military enemy. If a U.S. general were to be killed on a wedding, along with U.S. civilians, the U.S. media would certainly report this as a terrorist attack and condemn it severely, even if that general was involved in military strikes that killed civilians in other countries.

Perhaps we are marginally too condoning of war, or marginally too obsessed with condemning terrorism.

Someone with the guts to note what a warmonger Obama was, compared to that peacenik hippie George W Bush.

Remember when Code Pink protested George W Bush at every opportunity. Then Obama was elected.

"“We’ve been protesting Obama’s foreign policy for years now, but we can’t get the same numbers because the people who would’ve been yelling and screaming about this stuff under Bush are quiet under Obama,” she said.

Code Pink has seen a decrease in membership and, as a result, isn’t able to plan as many events across the country. Ms. Benjamin also said they are getting less attention from reporters, which means less visibility.
on them.
“We’re smaller. We lost a lot of people who didn’t like us criticizing Obama. But we still got our feistiness,”"

'moral acts take their species according to what is intended'

Yet oddly, it is said that the road to hell is paved with the good intended to be done. Or something to that effect according to wikipedia - 'The saying is thought to have originated with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who wrote (c. 1150), "L'enfer est plein de bonnes volontés ou désirs" (hell is full of good wishes or desires). An earlier saying occurs in Virgil's Aeneid: "facilis descensus Averno (the descent to hell is easy)".'

I'm having an argument with somebody about using foreign language quotes in an essay. I think it's douchey to not include translation, my opponent thinks it's so common on philosophical writing that it's unneeded.

Anyway, I appreciate the translations.

Also, I agree with Alex that the "shall not kill" trope becomes quite annoying in season 3. The characters are so obsessed with the idea that I doubt they would kill in justifiable self-defense. (Well actually Karen does do this, but then tells herself that is was a horrible thing to do and never gets over it, which is incredibly obnoxious.)

The Massacre of the Innocents in the Gospel of Matthew requires mental gymnastics. To escape Herod, Joseph and Mary take the infant Jesus to Egypt, where they would wait until Herod's death so they could return to Judea. Herod then orders the execution of every child under age two (believing that the infant Jesus would be among the executed children). The children murdered as the result of the fleeing Jesus are considered the first Christian martyrs (celebrated on Holy Innocents Day). That the martyrs didn't volunteer for the duty seems to have escaped the author of Matthew. That Jesus is God also seems to have escaped the author of Matthew: being God, He must have known the consequences of His actions (and those of Joseph and Mary). Sure, He did not intend the Massacre of the Innocents, but He must have known.

That is a modern, non-Christian take on the issue. A Medieval/late Roman view (and the official stance of the RCC) requires a different gymnastics. The innocents were unbaptized in most if not all cases. They had Original Sin, and were unrepentant; ergo they could not enter Heaven. Maybe (and I haven't encountered writings on this yet, so correction and sources are appreciated!!) they considered the marterdom to wash that strain away. Otherwise, you area left with martyrs that are damned. Which leads to other implications. Moses and Abraham we're enot Christians, and did not accept Christ as their savior either, yet cannon states they went to Heaven (they came down to chat with Christ). Makes for a complex line of reasoning to make it all work out the way you want it to.

Early Christian theology is more akin to a bunch of comic book nerds arguing than anything else.

James, your last line is very funny and true. Thanks.

Martyrs are rewarded: they go straight to heaven and do not have to wait until the End of Time and the resurrection of the body. That's nice. Stephen is the first Christian martyr to have volunteered (unlike the babies in the Massacre of the innocents). Of course, Herod has a prominent role: he is a Jew and the King of Judea - the Jews did it! Here's a recent development: persecution of Christians by the Romans is a myth. https://www.thedailybeast.com/did-christian-historians-exaggerate-about-persecution-by-the-romans Even today Christians in America claim to be persecuted, and insist that they have a constitutional right to discriminate against gays and lesbians, Jews, Muslims, black and brown people, secularists, and Democrats. It's hard to keep track of the persecuted and the martyrs these days.

"Martyrs are rewarded: they go straight to heaven and do not have to wait until the End of Time ...."

As with everything else, depends on who you talk to, and when. The question of what is to be done with non-baptized persons, or Catholics who haven't repented, or the like, has always been thorny question. Even today you'll run into priests who insist that only Christians can get into Heaven. Makes for a fun discussion when you point out that Mary, her cousin, John the Baptist, and a number of others weren't Christians (reason being, "Christians" didn't exist!). My mother once got into a heated argument with a priest who insisted that Jews couldn't get into Heaven, despite the fact that Mary (according to their own mythology) ascended bodily into Heaven, and Jesus himself was a Jew.

If you believe this stuff, it's of vital importance. If you don't, it's an amusing way to pass an afternoon--along the lines of arguing if Darkwing Duck is actually a hero or not.

depends on who you talk to

Not really. They either go straight to heaven or they don't. Whether I discuss this with my ten-year-old niece or Pope Francis doesn't matter at all.

Is that comic book-nerds or comic-book nerds? Or both?

Mephisto claims to have been created, along with many other demons, by the supreme being whose suicide resulted in the creation of the Marvel Universe as well as the Infinity Gems. He also claimed that his total evil nature is because the supreme being did not choose to make him good, as that being had no concept of it.

I'm a Descriptivist. I'll wait until a cultural consensus has been achieved, and accept whatever it is.

"The Massacre of the Innocents in the Gospel of Matthew requires mental gymnastics." Don't waste your time - it didn't happen anyway.

St. Augustine's just war is a limitation on the double effect doctrine. The action must be proportional. I.e., you cannot do more harm, even if unintended, than the intended good.

My take on the show is that Daredevil/Matt Murdoch is a very conflicted Catholic but your doctrine proposal is interesting.

BTW, Daredevil and Jessica Jones are the two best Marvel adaptions that Netflix has developed.

Batman's excuse is that he doesn't want to kill. It is a choice. Partially it is due to his origins--the way his parents were killed in front of him, and the desire to not do that to someone else. But Batman is also not fully sane.

Or it is a retcon. Originally the Caped Crusader was a detective, who carried a gun and shot bad guys.

From a literary standpoint this choice makes sense. The easiest way to deal with a bad guy is to kill them. Snipe the Big Bad from a mile away; blow up the building they are in; melt their hearts with laser-vision as soon as you see them. Quick and easy. And boring after the first few iterations. If you removed the easy option, though, you force yourself to figure out how to make the hard options work. This is much more interesting to the reader., as there is inherent tension in using a less-efficient tactic. This is why Batman is a better character than Superman. Superman needs to be weakened just to make a plot possible; Batman is always the underdog.

To give another example of this: Look at the popularity of Dark Souls. This game is intense and exciting precisely because it removes the easy options from the player. You don't get to tank, you have to think. Much more engaging, because every fight is a fight you can lose.

Good analysis. I'm also astounded how many characters talk about the ethics of not killing, but they have no problem torturing people, e.g. to extract information.

Selective killing is an efficient way to remove a threat. Selective killing of torturers is an excellent way both to disincentivize torture and to remove torture threats.

You could snipe them with a tranquilizer, or laser-vision off their kneecaps. Then you put them in a maximum security jail forever and ever. Embed tracking chips inside their bones should they ever escape, etc etc.

The reason heroes can never solve their problems directly is because the audience doesn't want the problem solved. They want to fantasize about power. So there is lots of foreplay and flexing. The final fight always confronts the villain when he is able to flex his power too, in order to prove that your power is real.

The fact that there's a 2 hour buildup montage of the villain doing evil things while the hero piddles around also serves to give the audience plausible deniability. But no one actually cares about ethics. The ethics are an excuse to fantasize about being powerful and popular.

"The reason heroes can never solve their problems directly is because the audience doesn't want the problem solved. They want to fantasize about power. "

Hmmm, maybe that's why I never liked Comic books.

"The ethics are an excuse to fantasize about being powerful and popular."

We don't need an excuse for that. We can just do it directly, e.g. https://www.asstr.org/files/Authors/Bernd_Lauert/nate.txt

Morally ambigous or challenged characters often have more depth anyway, since their psychology is more interesting. If all your actions are driven by a deontological maxim, you become a flat stereotype. Compare the character development of, say, Walter White with that of Batman.

I would think we need to integrate the Western film genre and its use of tropes if we want to talk about this.

I am reminded of Stalone's mouth full of marbles... "I didn't draw first blood."

PS. fwiw, Batman doesn't have super-powers (At least not in the iterations I am familiar with).

Batman's superpower, if it can be called such, is his ability to plan ahead. The reason he wins is because no matter what you think you can do to him, he's foreseen it, seen the plan's flaws, and formulated five plans for exploiting them. The plot of one Justice League movie amounted to "Bad guys get ahold of Batman's contingency plans"!

This is useful. I have a son who's favorite superhero is Batman. I keep pointing out that Batman is a superhero because he thinks before he acts. Not always effective, but at least I can get his attention that way!

Interestingly, US criminal and civil law seems to still hold a person accountable for indirect consequences of their actions. So, you only get off the intention hook if you can't frame yourself as the Good Guy.

corr: if you "can" frame yourself...

There is a better explanation for the non-lethal vigilante (Daredevil, Batman) v lethal vigilantes (Punisher, Overkill) which is that essentially once you intentionally kill someone you have given up faith in the legal system. Daredevil sees the police and courts as corrupt but fixable, while Punisher believes that the legal system is irredeemable.

Burgess Meredith
Vincent Price
Cesar Romero

You can't just whack these guys at the end of a half hour.

"Is killing two people with expected probability of 1/2 really so much better than killing one person with expected probability 1?"

Consider a Coasean perspective. Two people demand to be paid X1 and X2, respectively, to accept an externality that will kill each with probability 1/2. A third person demands to be paid Y to accept an externality that kills him with probability 1. It seems plausible that in many situations X1+X2 < Y. For example, it may cost less (total) money to hire 1000 coal miners, each accepting a probability of 1/1000 of dying on the job, than to hire 1 person for a job that will kill him with absolute certainty.

It surely will cost less, but that is obviously a consequence of the fact that these decisions, by prospective employees, are psychologically more complex than simple probability calculations suggest, and that if you assume pure rationality you can make some clever arguments that don't really mean much.

US law does distinguish crimes by intent. Homicide vs Premeditated Murder for example.

Yes, but lack of foresight or intent doesn't get you off the hook, if for example your mugging victim has a heart attack, or your ill-advised campfire gets away from you.

Felony Murder laws exist, but it is highly doubtful that they are just.

I prefer TV from the classic era -- 5-0, U.N.C.L.E. etc. -- when the scriptwriter's moral imperative was to kill at least somebody, anybody, before the opening titles. The Avengers was especially witty in getting the body-count rolling.

One great show that interestingly shunned violence was the original Mission: Impossible.

Hell, most contemporary police procedurals require a body just to get the opening sequence off the ground.

And of course the original Star Trek had its infamous "red shirts." lol. Reminds me of my own named TV trope I call the "disposable bachelor."

Yes, the red shirts! Especially that one skinny black guy. Did you know Jack Nicholson played a red shirt in several episodes?

Of course, Kirk was hamstrung by all kinds of present and future moral imperatives when it came time to avenge evil. The original McGarrett is most interesting to me -- he'd rather book 'em than kill 'em. But he would blaze away when needed in his righteous quest to protect the innocent populace of the 50th State. Bet on it, Danno, bet on it.

Lol marginal revolution but the author is a Catholic. Lmfao. Regardless the argumentation here is retarded. Hot to mention nobody on this fucking website knows how to use grammar correctly.

Batman have a personal moral dilemma with death, that's why he trained to be a master fighter. He knows how to beat a healthy person without killing them. Mind the fact that comicbook characters in general are typically presentations of ideology via metaphor. Not to mention that that "trope" (not killing) was literally invented for Batman. So saying he doesn't get a pass is stupid, because it wasn't a trope before he came along. If anybody gets a pass, it is Batman. It's Batman's trope.

"nobody on this fucking website knows how to use grammar correctly"
"Batman have a personal moral dilemma"

Any post that contains a complaint about grammar/spelling will invariably contain an error in grammar/spelling.

Your wall of text might have a grain of insight but it is hard to tell since it is marred and mangled by bad spelling and ungrammatical sentences.

The author may or may not be Catholic. The contention is that Daredevil is one. It is therefore perfectly valid to evaluate his actions from a Catholic framework--ie, by the standards that character professes. Whether one is a Catholic themselves is not relevant.

"Mind the fact that comicbook characters in general are typically presentations of ideology via metaphor."

Not really. They can be viewed that way, and certain characters certainly have certain ideologies (Captain America springs to mind), but they are, first and foremost, characters. Do not confuse having an ideology with representing that ideology.

As for your argument about Batman starting the trope, that's irrelevant. Idiocy is idiocy, and you don't get a free pass just because you were the first idiot. It's also not true--the idea of a warrior who foregoes killing is older than dirt. To give one example, my favorite saint, Saint Moses the Black, went through such a phase in the Middle Ages (he got over it, in his heroic last stand).

Your arguments are both barely coherent and factually wrong.

I enjoyed the first couple episodes of DD, but after Elektra, it got so bad I couldn't stand it. The problem is that the choice isn't whether A kills B or not. It is the choice between what happens AFTER A kills B vs what happens AFTER A doesn't kill B. (setting vengeance aside). In many, probably most scenarios, if A doesn't kill B, then B will certainly kill many others. A's choice of allowing the death of many others because A didn't act is no less despicable than A killing them himself, is it? (modified, of course, by the appropriate likelihoods, it's not usually a hard problem to grok) People here seem to be arguing that there is a big difference between acting and not acting. Train, switch, 10 people vs 1, etc. (although I'd argue in any realistic scenario, there's no certainty what the related mortality probabilities are. One person may easier avoid a train than 10, and yet it's less likely that all 10 would be killed. Scenario is far from clear, but the psychologists/sociologists who pose the dilemma fail to make it concrete. Arm-chair theories, for arm-chair debates. And who is going to have time to consider the moral issues? Absurd.

Lots of hate on the doctrine of double effect here. Especially a lot of comments that it is an outmoded catholic doctrine. The DDE provides us with a lot intuitive solutions to philosophical problems. Compare two cases. A judge is approached by an angry mob demanding a culprit be found for a certain crime otherwise they will harm a certain part of the community. The real culprit being unknown the judge, the judge sees that he can only prevent the bloodshed by framing an innocent man and having him executed. Against this imagine a trolly problem in which a trolley is headed towards five people and can be switched towards one. In the first case we think it is wrong to frame the innocent man while in the second we think it is right to switch the trolley towards one innocent man. The explanation for this difference is that the judge intends harm to the innocent man (he cannot do without harming an individual) while the switching trolley merely foresees the harm will happen and will just as successful if no one had been on the other track. Many modern philosophers have defended this distinction from Judith Jarvis Thomsphon to Philippia Foot. It's not some outmoded catholic principle but a central part of deontological ethics.

The trouble with DDE is that it is so easy for people (including Catholics) to apply improperly. It becomes a license to behave like a consequentialist.

"Look, we weren't trying to kill thousands of civilians, we were trying to kill a terrorist; he may have had plans to do the next 9/11, you never know."

we think it is wrong to frame the innocent man while in the second we think it is right to switch the trolley towards one innocent man.

"We" is a serious overstatement here. I have a hard time seeing the moral distinction.

Apparently it is OK to take action to prevent some great catastrophe, even if we know our act will kill someone, but not OK to kill someone to prevent the catastrophe.

This is not intuitively obvious to me.

As long as we're talking TV here, I would recommend The Haunting of Hill House . One of the best haunted house stories I have seen on film, TV and cinema inclusive.

It is not just a ghost story it's also a family drama in the mold of 'A Long Day's Journey into Night', using the haunting, which occurs in the families past, as a scaffolding upon which to hang the present day family reunion events. Great dialogue all around. The ending is a bit anti-climactic (for a paranormal thriller), but I wouldn't let that detract from the rest of the show.

I'm not terribly knowledgeable of the superhero genre, but I remember there were a lot of early superheroes who were constrained by the thou shall not kill trope - especially superman. Then along come superheroes like the X-Men and that goes out the door. That and all the Dirty Harry/Charles Bronson cop shows where the cop winds up violating the law in pursuit of a higher justice. I've wondered how much the thou shall not kill trope was part of an acceptance of impersonal rule of law in our society, and if we haven't lost something when our heroes who are at the bloody edge of justice too easily dip into the bloody side.

I think Matt is a practicing Catholic in his own ways. Not necesarily following the church's doctrine but his own twisted version.

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