I’m sure this will evoke some strong reactions, but Christians often say that life is more precious because God creates it and has power over it (death comes because God allows it or deems it). The contradiction is that Christians are to be “not of this world” and to hate the flesh. They can’t wait to get to heaven. So what makes murder more of a crime: If you’re a Christian and you just shed your earthly body and go to heaven? Or if you’re an Atheist, one who realizes this is the only life you get.
It is more valuable to lose something that is not recoverable in another form–thus the lack of a soul makes life more precious to an atheist.
I’m sure Pro-lifers are spewing “But! But! But!” right now and I’m sure we could have a good debate on the abortion issue–but only on earthly grounds. God knowing you before you were born is up to interpretation and we have to beg the question how God could know someone who doesn’t make it past the birth canal and is without a personality? Do aborted souls develop their personality in heaven, and aren’t they better off in heaven than the risk of them being defiled on earth and possibly becoming hell-bound atheists?
Catholics certainly understand that murder is less of a crime in dealing with “self-murder” or suicide. After all, if your life sucks on earth then what are you waiting for? Kill yourself and go meet God in paradise. The Church had to put a rule in place that said you may go to hell if you commit suicide in order to actually prevent suicide. It’s a complicated discussion and I’m simplifying here, but the basic premise is that it was through the Catholic church that sins were/are forgiven (last rites for example) and therefore taking your life prevented you from being clean when entering the afterlife. But why did this question come up? Obviously, there were miserable people who asked, “Why bother with life,” and were offing themselves. That’s a dangerous trend and the church was wise to takes steps to prevent it.
Other faiths have had to deal with the issue in various ways and it usually comes down to the idea that you are God’s property and therefore you have no right to take your life. Without the threat of hell in the equation I don’t think anyone would care and I believe that is why the idea of suicide being an unforgivable sin has persisted. Thankfully, you can probably convince someone else to murder you, either by an individual contract or going into battle. Finding a way around the theological rules is not too hard.
So I’m proposing a law. Since Christian lives are not as valuable as Atheist lives, the punishment should be more severe for the murderer. Even if you believe that atheism is a false conclusion, then atheists would be going to hell and therefore again, their lives on earth are still more precious. Murderers of atheists should have, let’s say 10 more years added on to their sentences. If they get a life sentence, it will be symbolic, but I think the symbolism would be a satisfactory compromise.