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Capital Punishment

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'Capital Punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the execution of a person by the state as punishment for a crime. Crime is known as a capital offence, or capital crimes.'1 Capital Punishment has been a worldwide issue, and has been elaborated since the Christian faith was introduced into the world, although the Christian faith was introduced when capital punishment was an accepted feature of the legal system, as represented when Jesus and a penitent thief were on the crosses..."We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong".2It has and still being debated among a variety of countries and religions. Although only in recent times has capital punishment been questioned. The feature has still been retained by a few western European countries, or those of Anglo-Saxon origin in other parts of the world. 104 countries have formally abolished the feature from their legal system but some countries still retain the feature, but is only used under specific circumstances and capital offences, such as treason. In the USA the practices varies among different states. Capital Punishment was partially abolished in the UK by 1965; at this time only major felonies passed the judgement of using capital punishment such as treason, piracy with violence and arson remained as capital crimes. By 1999 the act of Capital Punishment had been formally abolished as the home secretary (Jack Straw) signed the 6th protocol of the European Convention of Human Rights in Strasbourg on behalf of the British government.3 Lactantius was one of the first of the few early fathers to oppose capital punishment. The Christian community took a big part of the decision on whether to abolish Capital Punishment. Christians base their beliefs on the Bible and talking's from heads of churches such as the Pope. It was partly because of the Christians that the act has been abolished. ...read more.


But there is no limit to what degree is given to the Christian community. In the particular case there are only three possibilities. The first is Maximum authority which is when the community are shown and acts like God's agents on earth, by taking the leas from Genesis 9, which gives the authority for man to carry out punishment. Therefore if God's kingdom is on earth, then the face of evil action should be exercised. The next possibility is Minimum authority is the waiting for the coming of God's final judgment, therefore for God to send his 'servant' to get rid of the evil. The last possibility is Retrained Authority, this is that the Christian community is given the authority to judge but they are not allowed to cross the line by creating terror, but are limited to create mercy and restraint. The contradiction occurs when the 6th commandment is brought into the argument, "thou shall not kill", and it specifically says that you should not kill, therefore it contradicts the whole purpose of capital punishment and the defence provided by Genesis 9:6 and Romans 13:4. On the other hand in the Old Testament is has a positive view of capital punishment, evident in "But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand..."14 It empathises that if a man commits any form of harm to a woman that is pregnant then they must be punished for each part of the body that they have harmed, 'eye for eye, tooth for tooth...' But when we read the first part of Jesus' gospel we find he rejects the Old Testament's morality 'But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also15', therefore Jesus says that when we are abused in any way, we should just ignore it and just move on, in modern day 'just walk away'. ...read more.


On the other hand the Utilitarian approach has its drawback is the fact of empirical evidence being evident in the situation. If not the Utilitarian approach must be dismissed. Some Christians therefore support capital punishment on the grounds that God does not limit the authority of which He gives us when carry out punishment, nor does He specify what 'Thou shall not kill' applies to. Also that the contradiction that Christianity was introduced into a world that accepted capital punishment in the legal system, of which was also carried out on the 'son of God'. The majority of Christians that support capital punishment are also for retribution, as they see it in all its fairness of the criminal suffering for exactly what he has done, which is also defended and in the Bible, 'an eye for an eye'. Also the fact that Jesus did not speak of any arguments against the reasoning or regarding the issue of capital punishment represents that it was not an important issue, and also that in turn shows the sanctity of life is not an absolute principal. Immanuel Kant views upon capital punishment were that of support, 'whoever has committed murder must die.'24 Therefore he says that the criminal of which committed 'murder' must suffer the same consequences, therefore must 'die' of which comes back to the support of retribution, of suffering the consequences of the actions. Christians appose to the grounds of reformative justice for the reason of it leading to a second chance for the criminal of which all he/she has to do is suffer the grievances of the society and victim. In short, in the general Christian view of the state of punishment capital punishment is not excluded, but neither is it required, rather what is required is using it in particular circumstances to justify it. 'For if justice and Righteousness perish, human life would no longer have any value in the world'. ...read more.

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