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 …show more content…
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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Firstly, the risk of executing an innocent is a frightening fact. Wrongful execution is a miscarriage of justice. To execute an innocent person is reprehensible; a risk that should not be taken. What did these innocents get out of their life? They have a right to live. Secondly, there is a better alternative to capital punishment: life without parole. Capital punishment is usually quick. Citizens that commit such serious crimes should realize
Even during the Early church, when death was much more common, some Catholics fought against the death penalty; one such example the Athenagoras of Athens written in 133 A.D claims “we cannot endure even to see a man put to death, though justly. . . . We, deeming that to see a man put to death is much the same as killing him, have abjured such spectacles. How, then, when we do not even look on, lest we should contract guilt and pollution, can we put a man to death?.” However, many Catholic leaders have supported the death penalty, St. Thomas Aquinas himself stated “The death penalty was not merely permitted by God: for certain crimes it was required by God.” Nevertheless, over the years the Church has become more and more uncompromising in its beliefs against the Death Penalty. Starting with Pope John Paul II a Catholic Pope who served from the late 70’s to early 2000’s creating the Evangelium Vitae which asserts ¨that [the state] ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.¨ In this doctrine, Pope John Paul II clearly and definitively makes the Catholic Church’s negative response
Various religions also have varied responses to capital punishment. Even a particular denomination or religious group may not have a unified stand regarding capital punishment. Religious sentiments do play a significant part in the views of people regarding capital punishment. The Bible is replete with various passages that may seem to support or condemn capital punishment. The Old Testament, particularly, is based upon a morality of “teeth against teeth” and “life for life.” The books of laws of the Old Testament actually prescribe stoning to death the persons who commit serious crimes against God and against the community. A number of biblical scholars have considered the part of the Ten Commandments that say “You shall not kill” as a prohibition against individual cases of murder (The Ryrie Study Bible, Exodus 20:13). In the first place, the Christian faith believes that humans are created in the image of God. As such, a serious crime against another person is also a crime against God. In the Old Testament, premeditated murder was sufficient reason for the death penalty (Numbers 35:31, 33). Moreover, in Genesis 9:6, it can be read that “whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed”. St. Thomas Aquinas also published his thoughts regarding capital
In view of these safeguards, proponents of capital punishment believe that state executions are justified sentences for those convicted of willful first-degree murder. They do not think sentencing murderers to prison is a harsh enough sentence, especially if there is the possibility of parole for the perpetrator. A final argument posed by proponents of the death penalty is that execution is an effective deterrence. They are convinced that potential murderers will likely think twice before they commit murder. Despite the rhetoric of politicians for the increased use of the death penalty, a number of prominent individuals and organizations have emerged to express their opposition to capital punishment. Along with families of death row prisoners, the International Court of The Hague, the United Nations, Amnesty International, the Texas Conference of Churches, Pope John Paul II, Nobel Peace recipient, Bishop Tutu, numerous judges and former prosecutors, former Attorney General, Ramsey Clark, actors, and writers are waging a determined struggle against the death penalty. They invariably argue that capital punishment is wrong and inhumane. Religious folk generally evoke the nature of an “ideal spiritual community” (Cauthen, 1). Within this perspective, a moral and ethical community does not insist on a life for a life. While a community must act to protect law- abiding citizens, an ethical response would be to
The death penalty has been a heated topic of debate for many of years. Some people believe that the death penalty is unconstitutional in that it is cruel and unusual punishment. Many people also think that the states do not have the authority to take a life. They think that it is god’s responsibility to judge life and death not mans. So they look at the death penalty from a religious view point. Items that this commission will consider in evaluating the humanity and constitutionality of the death penalty, are is lethal injection a humane way to put an offender to death. We will also consider the constitution to ensure the state follows the constitution. Further, consideration will be given to if the state ensuring that all death
Religion plays a big role in some people 's lives and can influence their opinion on capital punishment. In the U.S. the two largest religions are Christianity and Judaism, within both of those religions some people are for capital punishment and some are against capital punishment. Several christian groups in the late 1970s formalized their religious and moral reasons against the imposition of the death penalty. “Among them was, capital punishment: violated the command by Jesus to employ the ethic of love, perpetuated the evil of retaliation, ignored the guilt that the society may have had in the causation of the crime, and prevented the possibility of any kind of rehabilitation of the criminal” (Flamehorse).
The Execution of God is a disturbing book—and rightly so: any meaningful discussion of the death penalty should be profoundly unsettling. It should cause us to reassess our values and our ethics. It should press us to reevaluate our actions—or inactions—regarding what continues to be one of the most divisive and troubling issues in modern America. The Execution of God succeeds on all these counts, and its potent message lingers, disturbingly, long after the final page.
The death penalty is also widely opposed by people across America because it is argued to be immoral, a form of torture, economically biased, susceptible to error and does not act as a deterrent. In contrast to the opponent’s view, supporters believe that religiously the death penalty is wrong because the Bible says “Thou shalt not kill”. (sixth commandment) It is also argued that if killing is wrong, then the government should not use it as a form of punishment (Death Row on Trial 2001: video) “how can we kill people who kill people to show its wrong” (Death Row on Trial 2001: video) Also when a person is sentenced to death, they are told how they will be killed and when, until finally they are taken to be executed, which could be years after receiving the original sentence. (Washington Post 2008: e.data) This period in which the convicted person must wait is considered to be a form of torture, (Washington Post 2008: e.data; Death Row on Trial 2001: video) especially when in some cases the person will often see or even hear being tested the chair in which they will be executed. (Death Row on Trial 2001: video) Another major
Judicial death for the purpose of maintaining justice or righteousness is well established in human history. However, the rise of death penalty executions in the United States against a backdrop of liberalism has triggered protests from various anti-capital punishment factions. Often shouting the loudest are liberal religionists and clergy who erroneously claim to speak for God. These folks are grossly confused and seriously wrong." For serious criminals this wouldn't be an immoral action because they have done the wrong thing which is immoral from murder to
Capital punishment’s application must be limited since the death penalty directly contradicts the Christian doctrine and beliefs that emphasize an innate, God-given right to life. By “creat[ing] man in His image”
Although our nation has gotten away from it in recent years, we were founded by those who had strong religious beliefs. On this note there are several passages in the bible that speak of letting the punishment fit the crime, hence making the victim whole again. Take, for example, Leviticus 24:19-23. This passage implicitly reads as follows: “19Anyone who maims another shall suffer the same injury in return: 20fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; the injury inflicted is the injury to be suffered. 21One who kills an animal shall make restitution for it; but one who kills a human being shall be put to death.” The principle here is making the victim whole. We must remember that when the circumstances warrant capital punishment the details of the crime are usually tremendously heinous. That being said sometimes capital punishment is the only fair and equitable punishment.
The death penalty has been present, in one way or another, for virtually as long as human civilization has existed. The reasons why are apparent; it is intrinsically logical to human beings that a person who takes the life of another should also be killed. This philosophy is exemplified in the famous Biblical passage, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." However, in light of recent research into ethics, criminology and the justice system, the time has come for us to re-examine our ageless paradigm of revenge.
Capital Punishment or commonly called as Death Penalty is used in several countries today and in comes from ancient times which was used to penalize many grave offenses. On religious sentiments one considers then Bible advocates for death punishment to those who do unjust with other individuals. However death penalty has caught eye of many human activists and government organizations and has called for a long time debate whether death penalty is ethical or not and has made it one of the most debated issues. More than sixty percent countries in the world have provision of death punishment. However, question of killing someone probably innocent still arises also life and death are in hands of god
A. Attention Getter: Thou shall not kill, only one of the ten commandments that some individuals unfortunately can not seem to uphold. What would the world look like if we did not have an “eye for an eye” mentality? The debate about whether or not capital punishment is ethical or immoral is significant because our country is spending unnecessary amounts on death penalty executions, in which citizens do not know enough about the subject matter to disagree or protest its use. While tax payers are paying for this procedure, the death penalty poses many moral insurrections.