Friday, September 10, 2010
Ignorance of the law
Some people say that ignorance of the law is not an excuse (legem ignovisse homini non ignoscit.) I say the reverse. It is a rather compelling excuse. Someone who is unfamiliar with a particular law cannot follow it. Furthermore, there are so many laws on the books that it is just not possible to be familiar with all of them. Now let's consider what happens when we try to examine the principle as applied to "god's law." Well, different religions have different claims about what "god's law" is. If this supposed god can't be bothered to show up and clear the confusion, it is impossible to take the notion of "god's law" seriously. Is it possible that there is some powerful being that will actually judge us on the basis of some version of "god's law"? Sure, it's possible. But the way it is actually set up in such a case, the "law" is not designed to be a guide to behavior, but rather as a trap to call people guilty.