Addendum 1

Psychopathic National Leaders 

My previous writings on Psychopathy have recently lead me into a further area of research on the subject. Namely, what are we to make of the evil dictators that rule nations from time to time by waging internecine war on and causing distress to his people and to other nations? Clearly the likes of Hitler and Stalin come to mind but there are, and have been throughout history, many such examples. So if we have already concluded the diminished responsibility position for your regular serial killer what are we to make of a despotic ruler in this regard? Is he also likely to be a psychopath? Well, according to several prominent writers on the subject, it would certainly seem that some at least in history have been and today some still probably are:

If this is indeed the case, what does this tell us about God’s choice of man’s rulers throughout the ages? Let us look at a few key scriptures to try to understand this. Firstly, looking at Paul’s first letter to Timothy, we are exhorted to pray for our leaders of the day that they may rule us in a righteous fashion:

1 First of all then, I exhort [that] petitions, prayers, supplications, [and] thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men,
2 for kings and all the ones being in high position, that we may lead a tranquil and quiet existence in all godliness and dignity. (1 Timothy 2 GLT)

Many countries today are, in fact, blessed with a relatively benign form of government. While no form of man-made rulership can be as just as that to be provided by God Himself, many of us have much to be thankful for in that we live a relatively calm and peaceful existence in the world. Living in UK today enables the Church of the Lords’ Witnesses to carry out its deep research into the scriptures. This would certainly prove near impossible in some totalitarian regimes around the world.

I now come on to what I find the most difficult scriptures on the subject of world leaders and which are largely to blame for my writing this addendum in the first place:

1 Let every soul be subject to higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, but the existing authorities have been ordained by God.
2 So that the [one] resisting authority has opposed the ordinance of God, and the ones opposing will receive judgment to themselves.
3 For the rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the bad. And do you desire not to fear the authority? Do the good, and you will have praise from it; (Romans 13 GLT)

15 By me kings reign, and leaders decree righteousness.
16 Rulers and nobles rule by me, and all the judges of the earth. (Proverbs 8 GLT)

So here we have some very hard messages that, I think, require us to take a very long and deep understanding particularly from the three verses of Paul’s letter to the Roman congregation. Firstly we are being told that all world leaders are allowed or given their positions of authority by God Himself. As counter-intuitive as this may seem we should not lose sight of the total world view in which man has lived for the last six thousand years. The world was handed over, by God, to Satan’s spiritual rulership over that time:, so perhaps we should not be too surprised that this evil rulership should also spill over into the fleshly realms under Satan’s tutelage.

So why does God allow this evil to exist? Well the only sense that I can make of it is that it is a test for us all. If we look at verse 2 above, we see that those opposing their ruler will not be in God’s good books. So if, for example we consider the victims of the Nazi holocaust, we can probably split them into two groups: the sheep and the goats. The sheep were those innocents that accepted their unhappy fate in the concentration camps and the goats were the resistance fighters that killed Nazis in the name of freedom. Now I am sure that many of the goats felt they were defending their own lives and those of their loved ones. Only God can judge the hearts of those ones opposing the Nazi regime. I think this is what verse 2 is effectively telling us.

Whilst physical life under a dictator may be unpleasant at best, to try to lead as righteous a life as one can, under such extreme circumstances, will stand us all in good stead in the goal of attaining the possible life to come. There is no other way to view these scriptures as far as I can make out and, furthermore, Proverbs would appear to confirm  this view:

4 Jehovah has made all for His purpose, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. (Proverbs 16 GLT)

But it is perhaps a greater test for those sycophants that suck up to their tyrannical leaders and form their administration and support structure. They either do this out of a misplaced sense of loyalty or, perhaps, a fear of being on the receiving end of their leader’s malice. Either way their behaviour in these morally bankrupt circumstances will no doubt be judged de rigour by our Lord.

And just in case of any doubt, Daniel makes it very clear that God is in sole charge of who our leaders are at any given time:

21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He causes kings to pass away, and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those who know understanding. (Daniel 2 GLT)

This is amplified in the Book of Psalms albeit in a more general sense aimed at us all:

7 but God [is] the judge; [He] puts down this one and lifts up this [other]. (Psalms 75 GLT)

Earlier in this paper we questioned whether a psychopath was truly guilty of any crimes stemming from his condition. Worryingly we must ask the same question for psychopathic dictators. For instance, was Hitler truly guilty of mass murder? Mankind clearly cannot answer such a question except on a purely physical basis. Judgement for us all must rest ultimately with God, but what would the massacred millions of Jews make of God’s judgement if they were to meet Hitler in the afterlife in paradise? Well they might find an entirely different character, from the one they thought they knew, with a fully intact non-Adamic brain! It is probably worth revisiting my
Heroes and Villains paper on this particular topic! My new paper on the Rulers of this World is also relevant to the interested reader.

Heavenly Psychopaths

It is arguable that bullies/psychopaths are responsible for all the problems in heaven and on earth. In both realms the real problem seems to be that there is no love given or respect paid by these ones to their fellow angels/men. In both realms they only seem to wish to have power over others. We have discussed earthly psychopaths, so let us take a look at some scriptures describing their heavenly counterparts in Satan and the demons.

Paul’s first letter to Timothy gives an insight to the modus operandi of the demons in describing them as deceivers, liars, and hypocrites without consciences. These are all behavioural traits that we would associate with human psychopaths:

1 But the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, cleaving to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons,
2 in lying speakers in hypocrisy, being seared in [their] own conscience, (1 Timothy 4 GLT)

Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian congregation has a telling couple of verses on the subject specifically referencing Satan himself:

3 But also if our gospel is being hidden, it has been hidden in those being lost,
4 in whom the god of this age has blinded the thoughts of the unbelieving, [so that] the brightness of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God, [should] not dawn on them. (2 Corinthians 4 GLT)

The first point of note is that Paul called Satan ‘the god of this age’ which both confirms Satan’s lease on the physical world and also, I think, his false narcissistic view of his own status. Satan is not a god and neither are the numerous earthly dictators that also think that they are. Secondly it describes the truth being hidden by the blinding of the thoughts of the masses. Does this not sound like the evil propaganda that is churned out by, and is the hallmark of, despotic leaders in their quest for power over their people?

Further insight into Satan’s narcissism is made by the words of the prophet Isaiah in describing Lucifer’s view of himself and comparing that to the low point of reality in which he will eventually find himself. Again this is a trait common to earthly and heavenly megalomaniacs alike:

12 Oh shining star, son of the morning, how you have fallen from the heavens! You weakening the nations, you are cut down to the ground.
13 For you have said In your heart, I will go up [to] the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit in the mount of meeting, in the sides of the north.
14 I will rise over the heights of the clouds; I will be compared to the Most High. (Isaiah 14 GLT)

Paul, in his letter to the congregation at Ephesus, confirms this further by describing the Christian’s battle as not being against earthly rulership but against evil heavenly powers:

11 Put on all the armor of God, for you to be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil,
12 because wrestling against flesh and blood is not to us, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world's rulers, of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual [powers] of evil in the heavenlies. (Ephesians 6 GLT)

There are an interesting couple of verses in Job that add further credence to our current proposition. In reversing the meaning of the point a spirit is making to Eliphaz the Temanite, we can see that God gives little more credence to the angels than He gives to mankind. So again we should not be surprised that the worst in human behaviour is easily matched, and probably exceeded, by the angels:

17 Is man [more] righteous than God? Or a strong man be purer than his Maker?
18 Behold, He puts no trust in His servants; and He charges His angels with folly!
19 How much more those that dwell in houses of clay; whose foundation [is] in the dust; they crush them before the moth! (Job 4 GLT)

So I think it is safe to say that Satan and the demons are the archetypes for human psychopaths. The worrying difference, however, is that the demons have no imperfect brain to blame for their sins. Their faults must be purely spiritual, so there is no escape for them from accepting their innate sinful natures. This is why God put mankind on earth to teach the angels, both good and bad, the ultimate result of bad bullying behaviour on a species physically much weaker than themselves. Paul clearly recognised this purpose for mankind:

9 For I think that God set us out last, the apostles, as appointed to death, because we became a spectacle to the world, even to angels and to men. (1 Corinthians 4 GLT)

As always, the True Bible Code website has something to say on this subject:


Man getting ready to stab another (or two)

Image provided by

Psychopathy – Addendum 2

Non-Psychopathic Syndromes

 A short while after writing Addendum 1 above, I found myself watching yet another recently produced BBC programme on the topic – ‘The Mystery of Murder: A Horizon Guide’. I am clearly watching far too much television and I am also getting worried that I am getting fixated on the subject of murder; I really must get out more LOL:  Mind you, with all the TV programmes on the subject, I do not think that I can be the only person on the planet fascinated by the subject, although I am not sure ‘fascinated’ is quite the politically correct word!

What I found very pleasing, from a purely personal point of view, is that this recent production strongly supported my thinking as laid out in my original paper. Not only that, but it also added another dimension that had already been on my mind over recent weeks; that was the role that biochemistry plays in this area of human activity. I am thinking here of the interaction of high testosterone levels which can cause low serotonin levels. These biochemical changes will create the effects of the ‘fight or flight’ response when naturally these levels change as a result of being in danger or under threat. This is perfectly normal and fine. However, what if someone has these levels as a matter of their normal everyday body chemistry? It would appear that a person with these levels will likely be a naturally aggressive person and, at the extreme level, that person will turn into a killer.

So, whilst this is a very different syndrome from psychopathy it can nonetheless have a similar end-result whereby someone is a natural born killer. Notwithstanding the difference in causation, this biochemistry still impacts on the same brain centres of the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala as does psychopathy. The effects are therefore unsurprisingly very similar. It would also appear that, in mirroring psychopathy, this syndrome is also aggravated by an abused childhood thereby continuing the nature plus nurture effect.

Although it covers several different causes of aggressive behaviour, I found the following website very useful on the topic of one’s biochemistry. However, I did find it very boring having to wade through all its mindless references to evolution:

And then we have the example of the Austin University massacre of August 1966. Although the medical jury still seems to be out on the precise cause of Charles Whitman’s murderous actions on that fateful day, there is little doubt in my mind that it was the combined effect of growing up in an abusive household together with a brain tumour that was pressing on his amygdala. Another syndrome but with a similar end-product to those we have already looked at. His marine training may well have been a further factor. Interestingly his behaviour was observed to have become more aggressive in the years leading up to the massacre and Whitman himself knew that something was wrong in his own head to the extent that he requested his own autopsy prior to the massacre. The following write-up provides a well-balanced account of the massacre and factors leading up to it and subsequent medical analysis:

So it would appear that innate problems with the Adamic human body, other than psychopathy, can of themselves create a human killing machine. So, again, I ask myself are these murderers really to blame for their self-evident crimes? Consider a person who bought a brand new but faulty car (a BMW perhaps judging by recent reportage in the mainstream press: and he were to be involved in a fatal road traffic accident on his way home from the car showroom. If the accident were proven to be a direct result of a mechanical failure of the vehicle would the driver be found guilty of murder or, more likely, unintentional manslaughter? I think not. More likely the car manufacturer’s appropriate executive would be found guilty of the crime in terms of corrupt or incompetent management I expect.

Coincidentally to the above, I also recently found myself watching yet more related TV (yes, I really really must get out more LOL!). This time it was the re-shown docudrama Appropriate Adult relating to the serial killer Fred West:

This, of course, sparked off another search by yours truly to determine if Mr West had been diagnosed as a psychopath or similar. I came across the following website which I found to be helpful on the subject:

So Fred seems to have had all the requirements of a psychopathic syndrome in terms of behavioural patterns and causations including an abusive upbringing plus a trauma to the head which may well have contributed further to his behavioural traits.

Scriptural Explanation

Whilst it is understandable from scripture that our Adamic bodies have been made imperfect from God’s original template for Adam, I am not sure what to make of God’s allowing an Adamic body to become an effective killing machine? The only answer I can come up with is that it is not the biological or biochemical build alone that can create a human killer. Whilst it certainly does provide the potential for one, it is that final ingredient of an abusive childhood that seems to set light to the fuse in all the various syndromes described above. So ultimately it is mankind ourselves, with a little help from our friendly neighbourhood demons no doubt, that actually puts the finishing touches to our human killers. Perhaps this is one way that God is demonstrating to us the importance of proper parenting?

I looked for guidance from the scriptures specifically on this topic and I was pointed to several verses that may help. The first chapter of the Book of Isaiah appears to be saying something on the subject in several respects:

2 Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth! For Jehovah has spoken: I have nursed and brought up sons, but they have rebelled against Me. (Isaiah 1 GLT)

Now here we have a message for both mankind and the angels it would appear. Concentrating on the heavenly aspect to begin with, there is no doubt that the heavenly sons who rebelled were largely the psychopathic demons that I spoke of in Addendum 1. These ones have no recourse but to blame their own innate spiritual tendencies, since I must assume that they had the perfect upbringing from God Himself as well as perfect angelic bodies. Guilty as charged my Lord! But let us read on now specifically focussing on the nation of Israel and therefore, by implication, the whole of mankind:

4 Woe, sinful nation, a people heavy [with] iniquity, a seed of evildoers, sons who corrupt! They have forsaken Jehovah; they have scorned the Holy One of Israel. They [are] estranged backward.
5 Why will you be stricken any more? Will you continue the revolt? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. (Isaiah 1 GLT)

They are described as the seed of evil-doers whose sons are corrupters. This certainly sounds like the product of a bad up-bringing does it not? It would therefore not be unreasonable to explain the sickness in the head is at least a partial result of that upbringing. This sickness in the physical head then leads to a weak spiritual heart which can provide no moral resistance to that physical sickness.

In studying psychopathy further for this addendum, it is remarkable to me that I seem to have missed a very telling description, in the Book of Proverbs, of an evil one that could be the very definition of a psychopath. How I missed this I can only put down to my own incompetence, so perhaps this is the main reason the Holy Spirit has directed me to write this second addendum to enable me to pick up the missing pieces:

12 A man of worthlessness, a man of iniquity, Walking {with} perverseness of mouth,
13 Winking with his eyes, speaking with his feet, Directing with his fingers,
14 Frowardness {is} in his heart, devising evil at all times, Contentions he sendeth forth.
15 Therefore suddenly cometh his calamity, Instantly he is broken -- and no healing.
16 These six hath Jehovah hated, Yea, seven {are} abominations to His soul.
17 Eyes high -- tongues false -- And hands shedding innocent blood --
18 A heart devising thoughts of vanity -- Feet hasting to run to evil --
19 A false witness {who} doth breathe out lies -- And one sending forth contentions between brethren. (Proverbs 6 YLT)

So what are the behavioural traits that are being identified here: pride; lying; murder; evil plotting; tendency to always do wrong to others. These add up to a perfect definition of a psychopathic killer do they not?

I found myself somewhat intrigued by verse 16 above (as a result of which I have used the Youngs Literal Translation as being the most accurate); so what is it God six or seven? I discussed the meaning of this little conundrum with our Church President, Gordon, and we currently have the following understanding. Each of these two lists of evil behaviour consists of seven items. However, each list consists of six ‘things’ and one person. Whilst God can certainly hate ‘things’, He cannot hate any human souls since we are all His sons. He can only love us regardless of our behaviour, hence the difference between the six and seven. I still feel that we have not yet teased out the full coded meaning from this passage, but I think that is an exercise for another day. Regardless of whether the evil person is a psychopath or not, God will condemn his behaviour but, I expect, the judgement will be somewhat different between the two come Judgement Day depending on their heart condition:

14 For when nations not having Law do by nature the things of the Law, they not having Law are a law to themselves,
15 who show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience witnessing with [them], and the thoughts between one another accusing or even excusing,
16 in a day when God judges the hidden things of men, according to my gospel, through Jesus Christ. (Romans 2 GLT) 

Psychopathy - Addendum 3

Control Freaks

Over the last six months or so I have found that my knowledge of psychopathic behaviour has enabled me to evaluate a couple of situations of some personal concern to me. The behaviour pattern of someone being a control freak has presented itself to me in a couple of different but not dissimilar cases. My first inclination was to identify one of those persons as a (hopefully non-lethal) psychopath; but then a friend asked me if that person might actually be a sociopath. When I then came to look into control freakery as a subject in its own right I then came across another similar mental trait, that of narcissism. So it looks like I have set myself up with yet another mini-project on this topic that just will not lie down and leave me alone! I would have to say, though, that I am not yet certain how much of a scriptural exercise this will prove to be as opposed to a matter of some pure personal interest.

It is probably best if I start out determining the best description, for my purposes, of a control freak and his behavioural patterns. I found the following website to be very helpful in this respect:

In terms of the specific behaviour trait that I wish to expand upon, I copy the following statement from the aforementioned site:

‘They use a “Divide and Conquer” strategy to separate you from other people who do not buy into their controlling attitudes, including getting in between relationships, friendships and family members.’

I then started comparing psychopathic, sociopathic and narcissistic control freaks and found the following links to be helpful up to a point:

Having gone through and inwardly digested the above material, I now think that one of the situations I have observed is that of a sociopath at work whereas the other is symptomatic of a psychopathic control freak.

Well that has gotten the personal stuff out of the way, what of the scriptural view of control freaks? I need not have worried about finding appropriate verses in the scriptures for this behaviour trait since, as always, the scriptures seem to have all the bases covered for those prepared to seek them out:

1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowd and to His disciples,
2 saying, The scribes and the Pharisees have sat down on Moses' seat.
3 Then all things, whatever they tell you to keep, keep and do. But do not do according to their works, for they say, and do not do.
4 For they bind heavy and hard to bear burdens, and lay [them] on the shoulders of men, but they do not desire to move them with [their] finger.
5 And they do all their works to be seen by men. And they make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their robes.
6 And they love the first couch in the suppers, and the first seats in the synagogues,
7 and the greetings in the markets, and to be called by men, Rabbi, Rabbi. (Matthew 23 GLT)

Amongst other things, Christ is here clearly describing the conduct of the Jewish scribes and Pharisees in terms that could well have been describing an organised group of control freaks who planted themselves between God and His congregations. Q. Why would they exhibit such behaviour? A. For all the usual human failings such as self-aggrandisement, vanity, power over others and a lack of interest in other human beings and God! It seems to me that, from this behaviour set, control freakery is a very serious crime in God’s eyes both at a church and an individual level.

Clearly the main established Christian churches have not acknowledged this criticism of their predecessor religion since they often display the same power play over their followers. The Vatican and the Watchtower, as the 1st and 3rd True (but now false) Christian Churches, respectively, are particular examples of this behaviour. This provides a perfect parallel example to a singular control freak who will plant himself between the victim of his control freakery and that person’s social and family groups. God forbid that any human or deity should impact on the victim’s docile behaviour towards the perpetrator of this crime!

By comparison the Church of the Lords’ Witnesses (aka the 4th and current True Christian Church) has no hierarchy or administration to intercede between church members and Jesus since we try very hard to meet the advice from our Saviour:

8 But do not you be called Rabbi, for One is your Leader, the Christ, and you are all brothers.
9 And call no one your father on earth, for One is your Father, the [One] in Heaven.
10 Nor be called leaders, for One is your Leader, the Christ. (Matthew 23 GLT)

While I suspect the following section of Proverbs 16 was not specifically aimed at control freaks of any particular persuasion, there is little doubt that it describes some of the behaviour patterns very well at the individual level:

27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips [there is] as a burning fire.
28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way [that is] not good.
30 He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass. (Proverbs 16 KJV)


  1. It appears that the vast majority of people are born with a preference towards good rather than evil. The nature of most people will not normally allow them to commit unprovoked murder.
  2. Normally good people can be conditioned to kill psychopathically, as marines without remorse, although psychological problems start when they return to civilian life. Nurture can overcome nature in producing killers.
  3. Worryingly approximately 1% of the general population is believed to be psychopathic. They can be identified by a signature brain scan result and a particular variant of a specific gene. The tendency to commit murder is prescribed by nature in 1% of the population.
  4. Childhood abuse can turn a psychopath into a psychopathic killer by adding nurture to the already existent nature.
  5. A 'conditioned' killer will have his spiritual conscience desensitised. Since God judges us by our spiritual hearts then these ones will be judged by our Lord rather differently than we are able to judge them although forensic neuroscientific evidence is beginning to influence this today.
  6. The death penalty for a proven guilty killer is still God's effective justice in this temporary system of things.
  7. It would appear that the world's evil dictators are the worst manifestation of fleshly serial killing psychopaths. What is the judgement on their worldly sins to be come judgement day? 
  8. Satan and the demons are the heavenly archetypes of the world's psychopaths. They, however, have no defence in having imperfect Adamic brains.
  9. There are other similar failings with the human psyche that can also create natural born human killers.
  10. All these faults require an abused upbringing to create a killing machine and the scriptures indicate the importance of a good parenting to us if we look closely enough.

Serial Killers and Psychopaths 

Psychopaths are described by neuroscientists as lacking empathy towards other people and having no conscience. In clinical tests, known psychopaths exhibited no emotional response to emotionally charged words as a normal person would. From further tests, it would appear that psychopathic killers have a common brain scan profile which, worryingly for the neuroscientist presenting the Horizon programme, he actually shares with them:

One group had damage in the orbital cortex of the brain above the eyes and the front of the temporal lobe in the amygdala. These are in the limbic system and effect the base animal drives. These areas relate to the emotional responses and this pattern was established as belonging to psychopathic serial killers. A genetic analysis was then carried out on a family with a history of serial killers. This found that one gene was missing in the males of this family thereby establishing additionally a genetic causation of psychopathy. The gene involved was determined to be the MAOA or Warrior gene. Interestingly the analyst found that he also had a psychopathic brain pattern plus a genetic anomaly but he was not a serial killer (or so he claimed!). He had a happy childhood so he was able to determine that an abused childhood would cause the gene be triggered towards serial killer behaviour. 

It seems that psychopaths are very successful in high-powered business positions. However, although they may present themselves well, they perform badly in practice. The current cut and thrust of corporate culture is ideal for psychopathic success. So it seems that  psychopaths profile serial killers or boardroom executives depending on whether they had an abused childhood or not.

In the final tale in the programme, a killer had clearly committed murder but the question was asked if he was really responsible if he were indicated to be a psychopath. The defendent was determined to have the low activity version of the Warrior gene and he was also abused as a child. He was therefore indicated as a psychopath to the jury by a subject matter expert. As a result his sentence was reduced from one of first degree murder down to voluntary manslaughter which turned a death penalty into a custodial sentence based on diminished responsibility.

So, according to current neuroscientific thinking, we can see that the three ingredients of an inactive orbital cortex, high aggression variant of the MAO-A gene (monoamine oxidase A) together with an abused childhood can lead to the owner of that brain becoming a psychopathic killer arguably outside of his own control. So, in comparison to our boot camp trained killers above, these ones are a product of both nature and nurture whereas the marines are products almost entirely of a targeted nurture. The result, however, would appear to be the same in the creation of a remorseless killer. Clearly this provides a dichotomy for mankind's justice; even in God's Old Testament Laws murder is a capital offence without excuse or qualification and I repeat:

13 Thou shalt not kill. (Exodus 20)

The orbital cortex would appear to be the part of the physical human brain that processes the conscience element of the human spirit. If that is damaged then the owner of that brain cannot truly be regarded as guilty of his serious crimes. Mankind is not capable, however, of perceiving this lack of guilt easily beyond the physical proof of murder. It would appear, however, that neuroscientists are now beginning to enter their evidence in as mitigating circumstance. In one sense this is a little worrying in that this is yet another example, in our current times, of man playing god by building further on his scientific tower of Babel. I would feel much more comfortable if we just abided by God's law as laid down with Moses and left the true justice of the spiritual heart with our God until judgement day. The long Christian view of the human justice system is that it is only a temporary arrangement that will be superseded by the perfect justice of our God when He once again rules over mankind in the Kingdom.

Who is the ‘thou' of Exodus 20:13. I would argue that it is the spirit of the murderer whilst it is actually that spirit's soul that is punished for the act of murder:

30 Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. 
31 Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death. (Numbers 35)

21 And thine eye shall not pity; [but] life [shall go] for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. (Deuteronomy 19)

23 And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, 
24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 
25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21)

So the bible-prescribed punishment of the Old Testament is that the taking of a life should be met by the loss of life of the murderer. This seems like justice for a deliberate and conscious murder, but what if the murderer is a psychopath which neuroscience is leading us to believe does not have the biological hardware to allow his spirit's conscience to function properly? Well if we take the bible at its face value then it is still telling us that the psychopathic soul must also die. Man is not able to make a precise enough judgement to determine guilt beyond that degree.

In God's purview, however, this matters not a jot. A psychopathic soul, complete with its faulty hardwiring will die (or suffer life imprisonment) in punishment for a murder but the spirit will be preserved intact for God's own later and perfect judgement. So it would seem that man's justice is intended to be rough and ready in these matters since it could not be anything else. Arguably, even in murder cases proven as psychopathic in nature, some punishment rigorous enough to prevent a repeat murder should be taken. Whether that be the death penalty as dictated by scripture or incarceration without hope of parole, either would still seem suitable. A life for a life is a soul for a soul or, more precisely, a body for a body; there is no loss of spirit either in the original crime or in the ultimate punishment. All is redeemed in the final analysis.

It looks like I have just justified the death penalty in every case of proven murder; this was certainly not my intention at the outset of writing this paper! However, there is still one scripture that is causing me concern in all this:

29 but he [is] a Jew that [is one] inwardly, and circumcision [is] of heart, in spirit, not in letter; of whom the praise [is] not from men, but from God. (Romans 2 GLT)

If we are saying that the spiritual heart of a psychopath is effectively disabled, in terms of his physical interactions, by his genetic brain condition, then it could be argued that the psychopath has no earthly hope of becoming a spiritual Jew. This would seem to me to be a pretty harsh judgement. I can only imagine that the Holy Spirit is able to monitor the state of the psychopath's spiritual heart, regardless of its inability to interact with the physical world, to enable a full and proper judgement to be made on the psychopath's spirit.

Marine Training

Looking at the various web-sites on the internet covering the subject of US Marine training, it would appear that the boot camp methodology attempts (apparently very successfully) to overcome the natural brotherly love that man feels for man. This is in the interest of building human killing machines that have no moral dilemma in killing other human beings, including those who are not their direct enemies such as non-combatants. This training regime would seem to confirm that nurture can successfully over-ride nature in that it has clearly been proven (if you care to check out the following web-links) that the marine boot camp is highly successful in creating killing machines from previously normal humane citizens:

One problem (apart from the evil practice itself!) is that it would also appear, that once this negative nurture has been applied, it does not appear to be easily capable of being switched off. At least we do not seem to know today how to do this although I am sure our Lord will know how in the Kingdom. In addition this form of training had negative side effects in terms of marines' losing their normal relationship abilities with friends and family. At the end of this section of the programme it was made clear that a new form of training needed to be devised to train for killing as a defence mechanism only. Interestingly this is allowed under God's laws. Although occurring prior to the setting of the Law, there is no better example of defending one's brother than Abram's armed rescue of his brother Lot from his kidnappers:

14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. 
15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. 
16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. (Genesis 14) 

Since there is clearly the need to carry out this harsh regime of kill training on all marine recruits, this would support the earlier section which argues that the majority (if not all) of humans are born with an innate preference for good over evil. Boot camp obviously can overcome this innate attribute. If we take these two sections together at face value they seem to indicate that human spirits are mostly naturally good in their natures but can be turned evil through time and circumstance. My feeling up to writing this paper is that we are all tested in this regard throughout our lives and the decisions we make will determine to our Lord the overall nature of our heart condition. However we will not be tested beyond our reasonable ability to pass any test that our Lord chooses to give us:

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]. (1Corinthians 10)

I suspect therefore that if a previously righteous man were trained as a marine, and wantonly killed innocents as a direct result of that training, that the Lord would look at his record of behaviour prior to that training. To expect a viciously trained killer to obey God's sixth commandment would not seem to me to be a fair test of that Marine:

13 Thou shalt not kill. (Exodus 20)

I suspect this individual may find himself in the Kingdom under a suitable programme of rehabilitation to the human race whilst his drill instructor will likely find himself on the wrong side of the judgement even if that one had not actually killed anyone directly with his own hands. As we have found elsewhere on this web-site, the Lord judges us by our heart condition:

7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (1Samuel 16)

Perhaps a killer marine had a good heart condition, prior to his training, which will be how God judges that one. I would not wish to explore exactly how the dehumanising training programme of boot camp actually works on the brain/spirit complex but it is possible that, throughout all of it, the spiritual heart of the man remains intact. It may be the spiritual conscience that gets impacted and God will judge us all by how we obey our consciences. What knowledge we have right now would suggest that the art of ‘killology' would appear to circumvent the fore-brain and desensitise the mid-brain either of which effectively takes the conscience out of the marine's killing decision-making. Whatever the truth of the matter, God is quite capable of judging each of us, almost regardless of our external behaviour, in ways that are completely outside of our grasp. Mind you I would have to ask what righteous man would be a willing recruit for the marines if he had the full prior knowledge that he will be turned into a remorseless killing machine.

Team Sports

It seems that the oxytocin hormone is released in the individuals during a team sports activity, e.g. a football match. Oxytocin is known to generate empathy (at least!) between people (and voles apparently!):

Apparently testosterone is also released to generate mutual team aggression against the opposition. Games mirror society's positive and negative behaviours identifying the good v evil battleground of everyday life. But these views are interesting because, given these are natural reactions to being put into a team game situation, it demonstrates that it is perfectly acceptable to both bond strongly with one's own team members on the one hand and be prepared to act decisively and aggressively against opposition team members when the situation warrants, i.e. when in danger (of losing). I have said elsewhere on this web-site that to be a child of God means to share in His full range of emotions which include both love and anger. So it would seem to be acceptable to our God that team games are a good thing in building strong positive relationships between brothers but to also be prepared to stand together to defend one's brothers against the opposition team. There is no better example depicted in the bible as that of our saviour Michael aka Jesus Christ in defending His heavenly brothers against the demon hordes:

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12)

It is also worth mentioning in this context that, although we are exhorted to love ALL men, there is no sin in loving some more than others as demonstrated directly by our Lord: 

20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? (John 21)

Infant Behaviour

Now whilst the results of this test can only be considered to be a result of some statistical relevance, it nonetheless can be argued that it shows a preponderance for good over evil preferences in humans who have had virtually no experience of life. Therefore good or evil tendencies could be argued as an innate function of the early human spirit. Traditional psychology could not even consider that possibility. Check out this link and judge for yourself:

Interestingly scripture recognises the innocence of children as having no knowledge of good and evil:

39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it. (Deuteronomy 1)

16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. (Isaiah 7)

In this regard, the man Adam was also a child until he deliberately disobeyed his father Jehovah and chose to carry out a disobedient act. It was this enactment that was deemed the knowledge of good and evil, not that Adam could not recognise good from evil prior to his sin:

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2)

22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: (Genesis 3)

So it may be with today's infants. Discerning good from evil at an early age provides the basis of our having a free choice to enact evil in defiance of one's conscience or parental advice in later life. It is this latter choosing between acting for good or for evil which is when we truly begin to have the knowledge of the angels. Indeed this knowledge should grow with our years as we should be adding wisdom to that knowledge as we have more experience of life. In recognition of this Paul had this advice to give for the Hebrew congregation's ministry:

12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5)

Moral Choice

Whilst this virtual experiment determined that most people would make the 'apparently' good moral choice as an instinctive reaction, I am by by no means certain that God would necessarily see that sacrificing the one, albeit to save the many, was necessarily a good moral choice. Nonetheless I would like to think in the cold light of day that, if I had been subject to that experiment, I would have made the choice to send the shooter down to the ground floor. My thinking here is that taking the five out of harm's way by sending the shooter down in the lift cannot of itself be anything other than a positive moral choice. Whether the shooter would then kill the one person on the ground floor is not necessarily certain at that point, although it could be argued that choice would cause potential endangerment to him/her. In the end of the day the choice to kill that one would be the shooter's alone. 

Since the choice was an instinctive one, given the timeframe to react to the situation, we can only conclude that saving the many at the expense of the one is a natural and therefore God-given human reaction to an imperfect pair of choices. Everything in life that we do seems to be the result of weighing in the balance the implications of all our decisions on a daily basis. Every decision we make, even if made with good intention, seems to have a negative side-effect. It is this practice, to make the correct moral decisions, that represents a significant part of our spiritual development in this Adamic world. The good or evil element can only be judged by God from the original intent of each decision and not the actual outcome.

Actually, thinking about it, this virtual game could be likened to the overall bible characters and plot. The person making the moral decision is none other than Jehovah God Himself. The one on the ground floor, making the sacrifice for the many, would be Jesus Christ. The five on the first floor would be representative of the whole of mankind who the Christ died to save. Last, and most certainly least, the shooter would be Satan who would happily murder the whole of mankind and Jesus given half a chance. So God clearly asked Jesus to sacrifice His human life to save the whole of mankind. Jesus agreed to do so, which possibly represents a 'slight' divergence from the plot of the experiment where no such agreement was sought. In the end though all will be saved; no-one dies in the spirit at the hand of man:

4  And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. (Luke 12)

Interestingly it would seem that the experimenters that designed this test seem to have, probably unwittingly, copied the same test that God Himself took in order to gain the best possible outcome for all his children:
28 so also the Christ was offered once for all time to bear the sins of many; and the second time that he appears it will be apart from sin and to those earnestly looking for him for [their] salvation. (Hebrews 9)

Programme Synopsis

It is probably best if I start out with a clear statement of what I believe are the major points to have been made in that programme. Unfortunately the programme is no longer available on the BBC's iPlayer web-site but the following press review gives a reasonable synopsis of the key findings presented: 

The programme was also available on YouTube albeit in four not very well spliced parts. Some of the experiments described are untidily split between two parts presumably in an effort to equalise the running time of each part. I have to say that I am sure that it could have been done a lot better with very little additional effort. I provide links to those programme parts as appropriate throughout the body of this web-page. 

Unfortunately it now appears that even this version of the programme has been removed subsequent to this web-page being published. Consequently the links to You Tube below no longer work. However I have retained them on this page in the hope that they may be recreated at some time in the future. It is almost as if someone, Satan perhaps, does not want us to see the show! I wonder why not?? 

The key elements of the programme are as follows:

  1. A virtual experiment was conducted involving a lift and a shooter to see if people would sacrifice the one to save the many. This determined that most people would make this moral choice as an instinctive reaction and thereby demonstrate basically good tendencies.
  2. It appears that through a simple test it can be argued that some 70% of infants can be determined to prefer a good behaving toy compared with a badly behaving toy.
  3. US marine are taught to hate, and to kill, against their nature.
  4. A neuroscientist has found that he could identify killers from their brain scans - they had the same abnormalities and consequently a signature brain profile.
  5. He also found a genetic abnormality. It has apparently emerged that being born with just one variant of one gene could predispose someone to violent behaviour.
  6. The genetic variant alone does not mean one will automatically be a violent killer. However if childhood abuse is added to the mix, then the chances are a lot higher.
  7. From these findings it would appear that we are surrounded by psychopaths, i.e., people who would be killers if their circumstances had been different or their childhoods less happy.

So let us analyse these findings a little further and see what we can make of them from a spiritual stand-point.

Good or Evil

I am writing this paper as a direct result of watching the BBC TV Horizon programme ‘Are you Good or Evil?'. The research that it reported on is seriously challenging the established ‘wisdom' of human psychology with regard to moral thinking and behaviour. ‘Surprise surprise' do I hear you say? You might like to review my earlier paper on ‘Spirit v Brain' where I am nothing if not scathing of the pillars of human knowledge on the psychological and psychiatric pseudo-sciences. They refuse to acknowledge the existence of the human spirit as a separate entity from the bio-mechanical ‘machines' that we inhabit even before we are born. No wonder they have lead to seriously flawed practices that are still causing extreme anguish to 'mental' patients today unnecessarily and, in many cases, without hope of a real cure for the cause of the illness.


Date of Publication of Addendum 1: 14th November 2011

Date of Publication of Addendum 2: 5th June 2018

Date of Publication of Addendum 3: 17th October 2018

Jewish Lords' Witness