Christianity and Criminal Punishment
Jeffrie G. Murphy
Arizona State University College of Law
Punishment & Society, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 261-277, 2003
Christianity organizes thinking about punishment around the value of love. Love requires a focus on the common good and on benefit to the soul or character. Punishments harmful to the soul are to be avoided, and punishments beneficial to the soul are to be favored. This has important implications for the death penalty. If there is good reason to believe that execution generally stands in the way of repentance and rebirth of the criminal or if there is good reason to believe that such punishment generally reinforces cruelty and other sinful dispositions in the law abiding or if there is no compelling reason to think that capital punishment is required for the common good, then Christians will presumably oppose capital punishment.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: death penalty, punishment, religion
Date posted: September 10, 2009
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