Capital Punishment: Explain what differing Christian attitudes might be to Capital Punishment

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Capital Punishment: Explain what differing Christian attitudes might be to Capital Punishment

In this assignment I am going to examine the Christian cases for and against Capital Punishment.  I will also look at what the different churches say and believe.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines capital punishment as:

“The punishment of death for a crime; death penalty”

Capital Punishment is where a person’s life is taken away through judicially appointed means as the punishment for their crime.  The death penalty is used in several countries around the world including America.  Most countries in the EU find the death penalty as an inhumane form of punishment and so it is not used.  There are several ways for the punishment to be carried out but the most common form is that of lethal injection.  The injection first knocks the criminal out, putting them into a comma; then the drug slowly paralyses the lungs and stops the heart.  The criminal dies in a very peaceful manner.  Of the five main aims of punishment, the death penalty carries out four.  One of these is retribution, making sure the criminal receives a punishment fit for the crime; another is that capital punishment acts as a deterrent, seeing one criminal sentenced to death may put others off; and another is protection, if murderers are caught and executed then the people on the street will be protected; finally capital punishment keeps the aim of vindication, if people are punished correctly the law will be respected.  The aim that capital punishment doesn’t keep is reform, a dead person can not possibly reform and change, they are not given the chance.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, He also created us.  As humans God created us and He made us in His image, as it says in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image”.  This means that, because we are made in the image of God our life is sacred and therefore we should not kill one another.  This passage can be taken in two ways, our life is sacred so we must not hurt others, therefore offenders of this rule must be put to death; but if our life is sacred surely we must not kill anyone, including the murderer?  The passage indicates that God made us so then only he has the right to take a life.  This passage is generally used when arguing for capital punishment.

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In Genesis 4, the Bible tells us of the first murder and how God dealt with it.  Cain became jealous of his brother Abel and in a fit of jealousy he killed him and hid the body.  When God confronted Cain, Cain denied ever killing his brother, but God knew better.  God sentenced Cain to “be a restless wanderer on the earth”.  In this passage we can see that God did not sentence Cain to death but merely separated him from the rest of the world.  This passage is used as an argument against capital punishment as God did not ...

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