Killing Me Softly – For Words

Ah, yes! The Internet troll tradition is alive and well! For those who do not know, a troll is “an internet user who sends inflammatory or provocative messages designed to elicit negative responses or start a flame-war. (As a fisherman trolls for an unsuspecting fish.)” (Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears. Fourth Edition. (2007). Available at

So, watch out for those trick questions!

How would you answer the charge that God is cruel, sexist, encourages rape, etc. More specifically, what is wrong with the following question?

Do children, what ever their age, who curse at their parents deserve the death penalty? YES OR NO?

*And kill people for saying mere words?

He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. — Exodus 21:17

For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him. — Leviticus 20:9

How would you answer? Careful now! Do you see the trap?


  1. The problem with this question is it is asked out of context with the society in which it was applied. We may think it is cruel and excessive now because it is so commonplace for children to curse their parents now. But our society's children have not been brought up within the system of God's laws being applied. Growing up in a society where respect for parents was taken very seriously may have had unimaginable implications for individual's adult conduct. Who knows how many lives might have been saved by this law? A non-Christian can only speculate.