Whoever fails in the consideration generally due to the interests and feelings of others, not being compelled by some more imperative duty, or justified by allowable self-preference, is a subject of moral disapprobation for that failure, but not for the cause of it, nor for the errors, merely personal to himself, which may have remotely led to it. In like manner, when a person disables himself, by conduct purely self-regarding, from the performance of some definite duty incumbent on him to the public, he is guilty of a social offence. No person ought to be punished simply for being drunk; but a soldier or a policeman should be punished for being drunk on duty.
Moreover, they who returned, if any, would be flogged, as seemed proper, after due examination. And though the news of their beatings might help all others to hesitation, ere they did foolishly, in like fashion, yet was the principle of the flogging not on this base, which would be both improper and unjust; but only that the one in question be corrected to the best advantage for his own well-being; for it is not meet that any principle of correction should shape to the making of human signposts of pain for the benefit of others; for in verity, this were to make one pay the cost of many's learning; and each should owe to pay only so much as shall suffice for the teaching of his own body and spirit. And if others profit thereby, this is but accident, however helpful. And this is wisdom, and denoteth now that a sound Principle shall prevent Practice from becoming monstrous.
Why should I give up revenge? On behalf of what? Moral principles? And what of the higher order of things, in which evil deeds are punished? For you, a philosopher and ethicist, an act of revenge is bad, disgraceful, unethical and illegal. But I ask: where is the punishment for evil? Who has it and grants access? The Gods, in which you do not believe? The great demiurge-creator, which you decided to replace the gods with? Or maybe the law? [...] I know what evil is afraid of. Not your ethics, Vysogota, not your preaching or moral treaties on the life of dignity. Evil is afraid of pain, mutilation, suffering and at the end of the day, death! The dog howls when it is badly wounded! Writhing on the ground and growls, watching the blood flow from its veins and arteries, seeing the bone that sticks out from a stump, watching its guts escape its open belly, feeling the cold as death is about to take them. Then and only then will evil begin to beg, 'Have mercy! I regret my sins! I'll be good, I swear! Just save me, do not let me waste away!'. Yes, hermit. That is the way to fight evil! When evil wants to harm you, inflict pain - anticipate them, it's best if evil does not expect it. But if you fail to prevent evil, if you have been hurt by evil, then avenge him! It is best when they have already forgotten, when they feel safe. Then pay them in double. In triple. An eye for an eye? No! Both eyes for an eye! A tooth for a tooth? No! All their teeth for a tooth! Repay evil! Make it wail in pain, howling until their eyes pop from their sockets. And then, you can look under your feet and boldly declare that what is there cannot endanger anyone, cannot hurt anyone. How can someone be a danger, when they have no eyes? How can someone hurt when they have no hands? They can only wait until they bleed to death.
God will not let any violence go unpunished, but He Himself will take vengeance on our enemies and will send home to them what they have deserved by the way they have treated us. As He Himself says (Deut. 23:55): “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” On the basis of this, St. Paul admonishes the Christians (Rom. 12:19): “Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God.” These words are not only instruction but also consolation, as if He were to say: “Do not take it upon yourselves to avenge yourselves on one another or to speak curses and maledictions. The person that does you harm or injury is interfering with the office of God and sinning against God as gravely as this man has sinned against you. Therefore, keep your fist to yourself. Leave it to the charge of His wrath and punishing, for He will not let it remain unavenged, and His punishment is more severe than you would like. This man has not assailed you but God Himself, and has already fallen into His wrath. He will not escape this. No one ever has. So why get angry with him when the anger of God, immensely greater and more severe than the anger and punishment of the whole world, has already come upon him and has already avenged itself more thoroughly than you ever could? Besides, he has not injured you one tenth as much as he has injured God. When you see him lying under the severe condemnation, why so many curses and threats of vengeance? Rather you should take pity on his plight, and pray for him to be rescued from it and to reform.
With theology as a code of dogmas which are to be believed, or at any rate repeated, under penalty of present or future punishment, or as a storehouse of anaesthetics for those who find the pains of life too hard to bear, I have nothing to do; and, so far as it may be possible, I shall avoid the expression of any opinion as to the objective truth or falsehood of the systems of theological speculation of which I may find occasion to speak. From my present point of view, theology is regarded as a natural product of the operations of the human mind, under the conditions of its existence, just as any other branch of science, or the arts of architecture, or music, or painting are such products. Like them, theology has a history. Like them also, it is to be met with in certain simple and rudimentary forms; and these can be connected by a multitude of gradations, which exist or have existed, among people of various ages and races, with the most highly developed theologies of past and present times.
...Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers... for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality... But I had gradually come by this time, i.e., 1836 to 1839, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow at sign, &c., &c., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian....By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is supported, (and that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become), that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost uncomprehensible by us, that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events, that they differ in many important details, far too important, as it seemed to me, to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eyewitnesses; by such reflections as these, which I give not as having the least novelty or value, but as they influenced me, I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. The fact that many false religions have spread over large portions of the earth like wild-fire had some weight with me. Beautiful as is the morality of the New Testament, it can be hardly denied that its perfection depends in part on the interpretation which we now put on metaphors and allegories.But I was very unwilling to give up my belief... Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all of my friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.