The Death Penalty: Christian or not?

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Truth, and Ethics' started by Lowly Layman, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. Lenhardt Stevens

    Lenhardt Stevens New Member Anglican

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    I think the question over choosing just deserts over mercy that may not find scriptural resolution.

    The Bible gives evidence that allows for both interpretations. You might try to find what is the more frequent injunction, but that kind of calculus for belief does not seem desirable.
     
  2. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    Article XXXVII:
    The Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death, for heinous and grievous offences.
     
  3. Magistos

    Magistos Moderator Staff Member Anglican

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    I used to be very much in favor of the death penalty, but now my opinion has...evolved. The governments of earth are given the sword of justice to wield by God, that is not in doubt, and the formularies allow it. But is a sword to be used carefully, and with much wisdom.

    Throughout history, there has been a continual improvement in areas of law enforcement, legal systems, and detention and execution. If you will permit me a point of fact, I think it can be said that the ability to find out new evidence, and the ability to detain an individual away from society have both improved dramatically.

    There are, unfortunately, many, many, many cases of old convictions being overturned with new evidence becoming available from technology and deduction specifically, absolving the convicted of all guilt. If they are alive, recompense can be attempted, help given, apologies made.

    If they are dead, none of that is possible.

    It is now possible with the level of technology available to mankind to detain someone in a prison without fear of them harming anyone else (for the most part). Witness SuperMax prisons. I can even see how you build a prison where the prisoner doesn't interact with ANYONE. That, of course, starts another conversation on what is humane.

    I put forth that the death penalty is Christian but not as it is, pardon the pun, currently executed by society.*

    It should be a sword kept in the armory, and it should take a LOT MORE effort to free that sword from the armory and the scabbard. I don't know how, I'm not a lawyer, nor do I claim great insight, but rules and proscriptions should be put in place that make it where capital punishment is only used in cases where it has been proven that the person is a danger to others by remaining alive, even in SuperMax or "UltraMax" detention, or if it can be proven, and I mean proven (people saw you do it on tv!) that you did the crime and that it is so heinous you should be executed for the good conscience of society - that death as a martyr of the evil is better than living as a focal point.

    It is far too easy for prosecutors to "go for the death penalty" on things where there has been or can be a
    miscarriage of justice.

    This, I think, splits the hair of justice versus the horrific event of executing men and women who can be, or later ARE found to be innocent.

    *I make no judgement of the past. But standards of executing justice should move forward as society moves forward. I cannot with confidence say that it HAS in this case.
     
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  4. Fidei Defensor

    Fidei Defensor Active Member

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    From a Levitical and Judicial standpoint you are correct.

    However, we Christians ascribe to the Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 5:10) which states that Christ died for our sins, took our place, made propitatioj for us, and acquitted us when we deserved hell (a much greater punishment). We are suppose to follow Christ’s example if we can, to show mercy and grace.

    We also have to ask, would we lock up St. Paul, who when he was Saul he persecuted, tortured, and even killed Christians? (1 Corinrhians 5:9) He was murderer who God gave a second chance (Acts 9:1-19)
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
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  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    My point though was merely to say that as a matter of justice there is nothing intrinsically 'wrong' with capital punishment. I agree with you however that it is not a 'gracious' act on behalf of the state. Particularly if there is some doubt about the guilt of the defendant and questions concerning the 'colour blindness' and impartiality of the courts. For the death penalty to be 'just', indeed for any penalty to be 'just', the court would have to be above reproach. Who indeed is qualified to 'cast the first stone', if the law itself is being abused by those applying it against the accused, as it was in the case of the woman caught in adultery. John 8:1-11.
    .
     
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  6. Fidei Defensor

    Fidei Defensor Active Member

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    I am glad you brought John 8:1-11, the women caught on asulterey. From that passage I could would be inclined to never support coperal punishment. Especially when combined with this teaching of Jesus our Lord:

    38You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’i 39But I tell you not to resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also; 40if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well; 41and if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
    43You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’j44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,k 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even Gentiles do the same?” (Matthew 5:38-47).

    Pardon the length, I needed the full context.
     

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