TOPICS: The dualistic mind has generated very complex situations with no simple answers – an eye for an eye – uncompromising law for a low state of consciousness – God’s laws set up to guide free will, meaning you create your own situation – the fall into duality blinded people to this reality – Jesus gave a higher law than the Law of Moses – punishment versus reward – enlightened self-interest – self-centered people think might is right – to prevent anarchy, society must define firm consequences – two levels of selfishness: uncontrolled and calculated – death is the ultimate fear and risk – in ideal society no death penalty – not there at the moment – how to raise society to higher level – help people see that we create our own situation through our consciousness – killing is never morally justified – absolute justification versus practical justification – also applied to drug trade – a better way to deal with criminals – criminals suffer from a spiritual malady – healing the soul vehicle – pain cannot compensate for pain – from punishment to treatment – a higher understanding is needed –
Question: Dear Jesus, thank you for your profound and insightful teachings on this website. With the possible exception of abortion, few social issues have divided Americans more than the death penalty. What are your thoughts on this subject? Is the death penalty legally and/or morally justifiable for murder cases? Is there a better or more humane way to deal with criminals who commit such acts than by the death penalty?
Answer from ascended master Jesus through Kim Michaels:
I understand why this issue has deeply divided Americans. The simple fact is that this is an extremely complex issue, and it is therefore no wonder that people find it difficult to sort out the many complexities involved. In fact, I can assure you that I myself cannot provide a final answer to these questions. I realize that this will surprise many. However, the reality of the situation on earth is that because people have become trapped by the relativity of the dualistic mind, they have created a situation that is almost infinitely complex. There are so many layers of complexity that you cannot provide a simple, all-encompassing answer to a question like the death penalty. So without writing an entire book about this single issue, let me attempt to give you a few thoughts to ponder.
I have explained elsewhere that there are cycles in the spiritual evolution of humankind. During Old Testament times, the law was based on the principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth. In other words, the principle was that whatever you do to someone else, society will do to you. If you kill another human being, society will kill you.
When you begin to attain Christ consciousness, you experience and accept that God is a God of unconditional love. You will therefore naturally begin to question how a God of unconditional love could give a law with such brutal results. You can understand this only when you realize, as I explain in the book Save Yourself, that religion was never meant to give an absolute or infallible truth or doctrine. Religion is always the response to a crisis, and the crisis is that human beings have descended to a very low level of consciousness. During Old Testament times, humanity had descended to such a low level of consciousness that the only way to bring them to a higher level was to give them a firm and uncompromising law.
Everything done by the ascended masters has the purpose of raising people to a correct understanding of God and their relationship with God. Part of this understanding is that God has created a framework of laws, and God has given human beings free will to do whatever they want within that framework. However, while people can do whatever they want, they must also bear the consequences of their actions.
After the Fall of Man, which was truly a fall into a lower state of consciousness, human beings descended into a state of consciousness in which they had no recognition or understanding of what I have just stated. They simply did not understand that they had created their own situation. To help them come closer to understanding that their misery is self-created, and that what they send out will be mirrored back by the universe, the Law of Moses was given. The principle of this law is that if a person killed another human being, then society would administer the death penalty. Thereby, people could directly see that their actions had inescapable consequences.
You will notice that in my Sermon on the Mount I gave a higher law. Instead of an eye for an eye, I told people to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In essence, the message is the same. You are creating your own situation. The universe mirrors back to you whatever you send out, so if you want the universe to treat you a certain way, you must begin by treating other people that way.
Because people had risen to a higher level of consciousness, I could give the positive version instead of the more ominous version that people received during Old Testament times. The Old Testament version is based on the idea of punishment. My version was based on the promise of a reward. The Old Testament version said, “If you do this, you will be punished.” My version said, “If you treat people right, you will be rewarded.” The same message expressed in different ways, both of which are adapted to a certain level of consciousness.
As I explained in the discourse mentioned above, the teachings I gave 2,000 years ago where not meant to be the final spiritual teachings given on this planet. They were adapted to the level of consciousness that most people had at the time. People were meant to grow to a higher understanding of the reality of life and of their relationship to God. Today, people are not meant to act based on the promise of a reward. People are meant to learn that whatever they do affects themselves, and therefore it is in their own best interest to follow God’s laws and principles and to treat other people the way they would like to be treated. You are not acting on the hope of a reward; you are acting because you know it is right and benefits everyone.
So now back to the death penalty. As I said, the Old Testament law was directed at a certain level of consciousness. It is a simple fact that certain people have descended to such a low level of consciousness that you cannot reason with them. They simply cannot understand the concept of enlightened self-interest. They are so trapped by the dualistic mind that they have become completely self-centered and they consider only what is in their short-term interest. Such people are completely selfish, and they will do absolutely anything to pursue what they see as their own self interest.
If there are no checks and balances that restrain such people’s behavior, you will see a society that quickly deteriorates into anarchy and the law of the jungle where might is right. To prevent this, a civilized nation must do something to restrain these people’s behavior and prevent them from acting out their narrow self interest. These people are in such a low state of consciousness that the only thing that will compel them to restrain their behavior is either raw fear or the calculated evaluation that the risk is too big compared to the reward.
Let me address two levels of selfishness that you see in people. One is what I would call uncontrolled selfishness, and such people are simply so consumed by their self-centered desires that they are incapable of considering the consequences of their actions. In other words, such people simply will not see that their actions have negative consequences for other people or they will not recognize that those consequences are a legitimate reason to refrain from certain actions. Such people find it very difficult to control their actions, and the only thing that has a chance of restraining them is the firm and uncompromising threat of punishment. Only raw fear will have any impact on these people.
The other aspect of selfishness is what I would call calculated selfishness. These people are quite capable of controlling their actions. They simply have a firm belief that they have some superior right to do whatever they deem to be in their own best interest. Whereas the above group often end up as petty or violent criminals, the latter group are the sophisticated, calculating criminals. In fact, many of these people are in positions where they can pursue their selfish interests without being considered criminals by society.
My point here is that these people will not respond to raw fear because they will always try to calculate how they can avoid being caught. So these people are simply making a cool and calculated assessment of the risk compared to the potential reward. If they think the balance comes out in their favor, they will do whatever they want because their basic belief is that the end can justify the means. If they think they can get away with it, they will do it.
For both types of people, there is no ability to recognize that higher principles or the concern for others should be a guideline or restriction for their behavior. So what can deter such people from acting out their selfishness? Only one thing is the ultimate cause of fear, namely death. Only one thing is the ultimate risk, namely death.
My point here is that as long as some people are trapped at these two levels of consciousness, it simply will not be possible, or at least it will not be practical, to do away with the death penalty. If you did, you would make it extremely difficult for society to deal with the kind of people who are trapped in extreme selfishness.
Obviously, this is not an ideal situation. I look forward to the day when the death penalty can be left behind by humankind. I obviously do not approve of a situation where a society kills a human being. I have explained this in great detail in my discourse on the war in Iraq and why there are no just wars. So the bottom line is that as long as you have a society in which killing is necessary, or is seen as necessary, you have a dysfunctional situation. However, I am a spiritual teacher and as such I have learned to be a practical realist. I know the ideal society is one in which the death penalty is unnecessary, but I also know that we are not there at the present moment. Let me explain this in greater detail.
As as stated above, there is an evolutionary process that is aimed at raising the consciousness of humankind. What is happening in this process is that a few people are far ahead of the average population while another minority lags behind. So when you consider what is right on this planet, you must consider all levels of consciousness.
In terms of the death penalty, you have a group of people on this planet who have correctly sensed that the death penalty is not ideal and that is is not ultimately justifiable according to the laws of God. I can only commend these people for their sense of attunement and discernment. As a product of their advanced spiritual development, they tune in to the fact that the death penalty should ideally be removed.
I completely agree with this viewpoint, yet the question is when humanity will be ready for the removal of the death penalty? And as I have explained above, we are not there at the present moment. Therefore, it would be more constructive for such people to stop campaigning for the removal of the death penalty and instead work to raise society to the level where the death penalty becomes obsolete.
What would it take for society to get to that point? Well, as I explain throughout this website, the only real solution to the problems on this earth is the Christ consciousness. The reason is that the current conditions on this planet are the products of the lower state of consciousness, the dualistic mind. Because of the relative viewpoints of this lower state of consciousness, people have created conditions that are out of alignment with the principles that God used to create the universe. Therefore, these conditions will inevitably self-destruct, and that is why you see so many areas of society that are in a process of decay and self-destruction.
The only way out of this downward spiral is that a critical mass of people must raise their consciousness to the level of the Christ consciousness. This has already started occurring, but we have not yet reached a critical mass that can take society and humanity to a decidedly higher level. I have high hopes that this will occur within the next decade or two, but because of the unpredictability of human beings I have no guarantee.
However, if my vision for earth were to come to pass, the consciousness of humankind would be raised to a higher level. The effect of this would be that all human beings would be pulled to a higher understanding of how they create their own situation. That is why I said that if I be lifted up, I would draw all people to me. If a critical mass of people manifest their individual Christhood, it will raise the consciousness of every human being on the planet.
Some people will rebel against this growth, but they will simply be removed and no longer be given the opportunity to embody on this planet. So when the consciousness of humankind is raised to a certain level, the death penalty will no longer be necessary. When will this happen? It is human beings in embodiment who must answer that question.
Is the death penalty legally and/or morally justifiable for murder cases?
I would like to refer to my discourse on the war in Iraq, which also contains more detail on why killing another human being is never justified according to the laws of God. I state in that discourse that war is never ultimately justifiable, and the same applies to any kind of killing, including the death penalty. However, I also state that certain wars are unavoidable.
The reason being that human beings have created conditions that are so far from the ideal envisioned by God that it is sometimes necessary to use means that are out of alignment with the laws of God. In other words, because many people have allowed themselves to descend into a completely self-centered and selfish state of consciousness, society has to take extreme measures in order to protect other citizens from the selfish acts of these people. And if these people respond only to raw fear or the extreme risk of death, then society has to use the death penalty. Is that morally justifiable? That depends on how you define morals.
If you define morals in an absolute sense, you will say that the absolute standard for judging moral behavior is the law of God. According to this law, the death penalty is not morally justifiable. However, we do not have ideal conditions on this planet. Instead, we have a major spiritual crisis. In such a crisis, it can be necessary to apply extreme measures in order to bring society forward. Therefore, it can be necessary to use the death penalty. In one sense doing so is justifiable, but the problem here is that some people do not understand that it is justifiable only in response to a crisis, and when the crisis has been resolved the measure is no longer justifiable or needed.
Do you see the delicate distinction here? The death penalty is currently justifiable as a stopgap response to a crisis. However, because the crisis is so far from the law and the truth of God, it would be wrong to say that the death penalty is justifiable in an absolute sense.
Let us now consider the death penalty in relation to murder cases. When you take my earlier remarks about people who are deterred only by raw fear or the threat of extreme risk, you see that the death penalty should not be restricted to murder cases. This is simply a relic from Old Testament times and the law of an eye for an eye. If you kill someone, you will be killed.
I know the following statement will shock many people. But as long as a society deems it necessary to uphold the death penalty, this form of punishment should be applied not only to murder cases. It should be applied also to crimes with very high potential for economic gain or crimes that destroy someone’s opportunity for a productive life. As one example, let me mention the production, smuggling and sale of addictive drugs.
In my view, the drug trade is simply the modern version of slavery. You can go back in time and find instances where people owned slaves that were forced to work the mines under inhuman conditions. These people were given the bare minimum to keep them alive and they were being treated in such inhumane ways that it defies description.
We now have a number of democratic nations who consider themselves to be the most civilized nations ever to grace the face of this earth. These nations take pride in the fact that they have long ago abolished slavery. Yet in the midst of their so-called civilization they allow both illegal and legal activity that binds people into a spiritual slavery through addictive chemical substances. From a spiritual standpoint, this is deplorable. This is inexcusable. This is absolutely unacceptable.
Any thinking person can see that the illegal drug trade is driven by one thing and one thing only, namely the potential for huge profits. Any thinking person can see that the bigger the profit, the bigger the risk people are willing to take. So the only effective way to combat illegal drug trading is to change the balance between risk and reward. And because the potential profits are so high, there is only one risk factor which has any chance of offsetting the hope for reward, and that factor is death.
If a society administers the death penalty to a murderer, then it should administer the death penalty to people who trade in illegal drugs at a large scale. Many of these drugs not only lead, albeit slowly, to the death of the physical body but they also lead to the spiritual death of the lifestream. In fact I can tell you that when it comes to incurring personal karma, those who are involved with the trade in illegal and legal drugs make a far more severe karma than many murderers. Other crimes that warrant the death penalty is the sexual exploitation of children through pedophilia or selling children to slavery, prostitution or child pornography.
Is there a better or more humane way to deal with criminals who commit such acts than by the death penalty?
Obviously, there is a better way to deal with people who commit acts that warrant the death penalty. Unfortunately, western society is not at a point where it is equipped to implement these ways. To truly deal with criminals in a more effective way, society would have to acquire and embrace a much deeper understanding of the spiritual development of the lifestream.
Because society today is split between the warring factions of orthodox religion and materialistic science, this understanding has not been developed. Neither orthodox religion nor materialistic science, in their current forms, can serve as the instruments for bringing forth this new understanding. Many of the elements of this understanding have already been brought forth, but they have not been embraced by society. Until the war between religion and science has been resolved, it is not likely that society will embrace the methods and the understanding needed to effectively help criminals in their spiritual growth.
This is a very big topic in itself, so without going into another lengthy discussion, let me simply outline the main problem.
The problem in today’s world is that society is stuck between two levels in the spiritual evolution of humankind. The old level was dominated by a lower state of consciousness, and in this state of consciousness it was necessary to deter crime through the threat of punishment, such as the death penalty. The new level of consciousness, into which society has already started to move, is based on a much deeper understanding of the spiritual evolution of the lifestream. According to this higher understanding, a criminal does not deserve punishment. A criminal is a sick person who deserves treatment.
The key element that is currently missing is an understanding of the lifestream. When I say that a criminal is a sick person, I am not talking about a physical, not even a psychological illness as these are currently understood by materialistic science. I am talking about a spiritual condition, a condition of the lifestream. Therefore, in reality a criminal is a spiritually ill person who is in need of spiritual treatment.
Crime is the effect of a wound or split in the soul vehicle. The soul vehicle has lost its wholeness, and that is why it performs selfish acts. The true and loving way to deal with such a lifestream is to help it regain its wholeness. This leads to a healing of the individual soul vehicle, and at the same time the consciousness of the entire society is raised. In other words, it is a win-win situation for everyone. You will see in my life that I embraced all those who were rejected by society and I attempted to help them regain wholeness.
This should be the purpose of the justice systems of the world. And this means that the word “justice system” is obsolete. Only a dysfunctional society believes that when a person has inflicted pain on someone else, you can restore balance (justice) by having society inflict pain on that person. You restore balance, and thereby provide spiritual justice, by removing the cause of the pain, namely the lack of wholeness in the person who committed the act.
The current system of punishing criminals is a lose-lose situation. Very few criminals are reformed by being punished for their crime, so their consciousness is not raised. As a result, the consciousness of society is not raised. In fact, what happens to many criminals after they are put in prison causes a drop in their level of consciousness and it drags the rest of society down with them.
What needs to happen in the coming decades is that the penal systems of the civilized world must move away from punishment and towards treatment. The problem is that because of the current war between science and religion, it will be very difficult to create this new system. Scientific materialists currently have a monopoly on the science of psychology. And many orthodox religious people are attempting to maintain their monopoly on religion. None of these sides will be willing to make the adjustments that are necessary in order to create a penal system based on a true understanding of the spiritual needs of the lifestream.
I take great hope in the fact that many people have already started to see the need to develop a deeper understanding of the lifestream. I commend the many people who are already working to bring such an understanding to all areas of society, including the penal system. I strongly encourage these people to continue their efforts no matter how impossible the odds may seem.
I would, however, like to encourage these people to make use of the understanding provided on our websites. First of all, I encourage them to increase their attunement with their Christ selves and to see themselves as part of a team that includes the ascended masters. I encourage them to consider my remark that with man this is impossible but with God all things are possible.
Human power alone cannot bring about the necessary transition into a society that can do away with the death penalty and treat criminals the way they deserve to be treated by the fact that they are wounded lifestreams. Yet when human power is combined with the divine power, this change truly can occur.
However, everything is subject to the free will of human beings, so I can only wait for a critical mass of people to open their minds and hearts to the divine solution that is already present and simply needs to be brought into the material realm through their minds and hearts.
Copyright © 2008 by Kim Michaels