Allan Kardec

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13. The duel, once called God's justice, is one of the most barbaric customs still persisting in some human societies. What would you say, however, if you saw two adversaries being plunged into boiling water or submitted to the contact of red hot iron, in order to put an end to their dispute? The one who is right being he who best suffers the test? Would you not classify these customs as being unreasonable and senseless? Well, duelling is far worse than all this. For the dextrous duellist it is nothing short of murder, practised in cold blood with all due premeditation, since he is certain of the efficiency of the blow to be dealt. For the adversary, who is almost sure to succumb by virtue of his weakness and inability, it is suicide committed after cold reflection. I know that on many occasions the person has sought to avoid the consequences of the criminal alternative by placing the responsibility for the act upon chance. Is this not going back, under another name, to the ideas from the Middle Ages of God's Judgement? We remind you that in those times Man was infinitely less guilty. It is true that the very use of the words 'God's Judgement' reveals a naive faith, but it was always some small degree of faith in the Justice of God, Who could never allow the innocent to succumb, whereas a duel resorts to brute force to such an extent that frequently the one who was offended is the one who succumbs.

Oh, senseless conceit, foolish vanity and insane pride, when will you be substituted by Christian charity, by love of one's fellow creatures and by humility, all of which were prescribed and exemplified by Christ? This will only happen when Man ceases to be dominated by these monstrous preconceptions, which the laws are impotent to repress because it is not enough to prohibit evil. For this to occur it is necessary for the source of goodness and the horror of evil to live jointly in the hearts of all humanity. - A Protecting Spirit (Bordeaux, 1861).

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