The Death Penalty Contradicts Jesus' Teaching Essay

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In the 21st century, Christians are faced with countless choices every day. The death penalty, a modern moral issue, is a choice that determines life or death. With reference to the New Testament and Catholic bishops and popes, the Christian perspective on Capital punishment is investigated.

The Catholic Church has spoken out passionately about the need to protect human life. The fifth commandment, ‘You shall not kill’ relates directly to the dignity and worth of human life. This taking of life is a direct affront to human dignity. While it continues to be widely used, the death penalty has been in retreat across the globe over recent years; with fewer than 60 countries actively retaining the death penalty as of 2009. Capital
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The USA consistently executes people, with 37 executions carried out in 2008. The release of four men from death row in the USA on grounds of innocence brings to more than 120 the number of such cases released since 1975. (in-text) The risk of executing innocent people is becoming increasingly high. Christians who believe that the death penalty should be eliminated do so because they believe the New Testament philosophy of forgiveness. God is the sole judge of man, and the death penalty is against God's will. With a life sentence, the killer will have more time to repent. There is also the ever present risk of killing an innocent person. Mistakes like that simply can not be made.

God often showed mercy when the death penalty was due. David committed adultery and murder, yet God did not demand his life be taken (Samuel 12:13). Ultimately, every sin we commit should result in the death penalty because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Thankfully, God demonstrates His love for us in not condemning us (Romans 5:8). Christian teachings believe the criminal should be given the chance for rehabilitation. Everyday, prisoners’ lives are claimed by a system of justice that values retribution instead of rehabilitation.

Throughout history, the Church has had three distinct attitudes…

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