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How does a Christian support the death penalty?
A protestor holds a sign calling for Georgia state officials to halt the scheduled execution of convicted cop killer Troy Davis.
September 23rd, 2011
10:10 AM ET

How does a Christian support the death penalty?

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - The debate over the execution of Troy Davis may have ended in the legal system, but it's continuing in the faith arena.

A day after Davis was executed in Georgia for the 1989 shooting death of Mark MacPhail, an off-duty police officer, one contributor to The Daily Beast asked this question:

How can a “pro-life” Christian support the death penalty?

It’s a question that will probably find its way into some sermons this Sunday. Lee Siegel, though, didn’t want to wait that long to dive into the debate. He says in his piece for The Daily Beast that Davis’ conviction has a “thick cloud of doubt hanging over it.”

Siegel didn’t go into those details, but they’re well known by now. Since Davis' 1991 trial, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered a district court in Savannah to review his claims of innocence in 2009, but District Judge William Moore ruled the following year that the evidence did "not require the reversal of the jury's judgment."

Doubts about Davis’ guilt persisted, though, and helped draw international attention to his case. Pope Benedict, South African anti-apartheid leader Desmond Tutu and former President Jimmy Carter said the execution should have been called off.

Siegel says when he heard Wednesday that Davis’ case was in the hands of the Supreme Court, he thought “justice would be done” because three of the court’s justices are “devout” Catholics (actually five of the court’s members are Catholic).

Siegel then invokes the concept of Catholic “seamlessness.”

According to that doctrine, a moral stance that places human life above any consideration has to be consistent with other situations in which human life is at issue. If you are pro-life, you must also be against assisted suicide, against war in most cases, and absolutely against the death penalty, for the sake of moral consistency.

Catholics are Christians, which leads to another question: How can a Christian justify support for the death penalty?

Some Christian supporters of the death penalty cite the biblical call for an “eye for an eye.” Yet that passage comes from the Old Testament. Christian doctrine is ultimately based on the New Testament and the actions of Jesus.

What do you think? Is there anything in the New Testament that justifies support for the death penalty?

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Courts • Culture wars • Death • Ethics • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (485 Responses)
  1. Jennifer

    I think this is a good situation to remember about passing judgment on others. We are not God. We are fallible. We could be putting innocent people to death. We are not all knowing.

    September 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Pete

      "We could be putting innocent people to death. '

      No could sweetheart, we already have put innocent people to death.

      September 23, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • larrieux

      what if the bible was the anti christ itself

      September 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • String Theory

      Oops, sorry about your kids Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These bombs must have slipped. Well, we are fallible....

      September 23, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  2. Tank

    If them Southern boys don't execute ya, God will get you one way or another anyway. And make sure there is plenty of suffering to go with it.

    September 23, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      Do you have examples of that which you speak or is this like your other posts speculation and theory but not fact.God bless

      September 23, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • leasez fair

      Suffering due to god or otherwise done on instruction from god, from bible:

      Sometimes you just need to beat people for their own good.

      The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly. Proverbs 20:30

      Some people should be beaten as as a punishment for their crimes.

      And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten. Deuteronomy 25:2

      It's always a good idea to beat fools. Beat them whenever you find them.

      A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. Proverbs 18:6

      Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools. Proverbs 19:29

      A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back. Proverbs 26:3

      And slaves may be beaten, as long they survive for at least a day or two after the beating.

      If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property. Exodus 21:20-21

      Beating your children is a sure sign of parental love.

      He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Proverbs 13:24

      And don't stop just because they cry.

      Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. Proverbs 19:18

      Beating your children will make them less foolish.

      Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. Proverbs 22:15

      The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. Proverbs 29:15

      September 23, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  3. String Theory

    Death be unto to any who dare to resist the delicious Tri-Tip at El Pollo Norteno. Now with two locations!

    September 23, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Frank

      God loves it too! Jesus goes more for the Pollo though. No wait, he's dead. If he every lived....well I am sure he would have liked the chicken anyway. The last supper would have gone a lot smoother.

      September 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Hey

      Can I get some wine and bread with that.

      September 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • String Theory

      Hey,
      Bread? Noooooooo. Tortillas! With beans and hot salsa. It smells so good it will bring Jesus back from the grave!

      September 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  4. Billserf

    Any "christian" who supports the death penalty betrays the teachings of Christ and supports sin. It matters not one hoot what God said to Noah or the Law of Moses or Romans. For a TRUE Christian, nothing said by anyone else before or after what HE said matters. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life", "No one comes to the Father but through Me". If you believe what he said, then heed HIS WORDS. There is NO ambiguity on the subject of capital punishment, and Christ's stance on the issue is crystal-clear:

    "LET HIM WHO IS WITHOUT SIN THROW THE FIRST STONE"..."Forgive 70 times 7"..."Turn the other cheek".

    September 23, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Quasar

      Go Team Jesus! Hooray!

      September 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Nate

      If you follow that logic, then no one should be punished for any crime in any way. Doubt J.C. would go for that.

      September 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Nate

      You're right. It's way easier to kill someone on the womb.

      September 23, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Scott

      Jesus said to follow the law of the old testament ALL OF IT. He also said the most difficult path is the one that leads to heaven. Pretending that you are no longer bound by the law of the Old Testament is the easy path to hell

      “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."Matthew 5:17-19

      "Heaven and earth will disappear before the smallest letter of the Law does." Luke 16:17 (CEV)

      What part of “UNTIL HEAVEN AND EARTH DISAPPEAR” don’t you understand? That doesn’t mean just until the resurrection (that is the easy path to hell).
      "You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it." Matthew 7:13-14

      September 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      So Scott, you keep all 628 commandments ? Did you have to get the city council to grant you a variance to do your sacrifices out in the yard ?

      September 23, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  5. Quasar

    Who created God and what is it's take on this issue I wonder?

    September 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Jonathan

      God was not created. Cause and effect did not exist before time, which was created by God.

      God already made himself clear on what is to be done with murderers. He gave man the right (and duty) to execute them.

      September 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Duh

      "what is to be done with murderers. He gave man the right (and duty) to execute them."

      Oh cool so all the people that drop bombs on innocent people such as our military personal should be executed. So get off you butt and go execute them like your god commands!

      September 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Quasar

      Oh duh! What was I thinking? Thank goodness you are so smart.

      September 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • MerryGoRound

      "God was not created. Cause and effect did not exist before time, which was created by God."

      Yeah, god created himself, then created everything else and if you can't explain it, god created that too.

      September 23, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Jonathan,
      God did not "create" space-time. The "act" of creation is a concept that exists within a "temporal" environment. That "act" would have had to have a beginning and an end, and it would have had to "begin" BEFORE space-time. Therefore to "act" "before" space-time is a set of meaningless human words. There was no "creator", and to state that there was one, is illogical. Cheers.

      September 24, 2011 at 2:16 am |
  6. Jennifer

    If Troy Davis was innocent...are those who put him to death murders?

    September 23, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Karen

      Yes and will be going to hell where they belong.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Frank

      Naw, dem jist some good 'ol boys is all.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • larrieux

      great question!!!!

      September 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Petri Dish

      Stupid question. There is no hell.

      How about Frim Fram sauce then?

      September 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  7. Mr. Yamamoto

    Why not try Soy Sauce?

    September 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Petri Dish

      I agree. End of argument.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  8. ThirstyJon

    Romans 13 is in the NEW Testament and affirms the power of the sword for civil government in certain limited situations. And the New Testament has never revoked the command of God to Noah and his sons (which equal ALL mankind) to put murderers to death.

    God specifically says in that passage in Genesis (the one where God commands the death penalty for murder immediately after the flood) that because man is made in His image murderers should be put to death!

    In other words, to NOT put murderers to death is to DEVALUE human life. To put them to death is to VALUE human life as made in the image of God.

    Supporting the death penalty for murder is the Pro-Life position.

    To say that "if you are opposed to abortion you must also be opposed to the death penalty for murder" is a false argument. The Bible clearly distinguishes between killing the innocent and the guilty! To equate killing an innocent unborn baby with killing a guilty murderer is disgusting.

    September 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Huh

      So when your Christ says "You shall not murder" then you are going against your Christ.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Petri Dish

      God apparently loves death and misery. Look around. What a nice diety.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • larrieux

      I love it when one skips between old and new testaments their needs to be a newer testament....however the ten commandments states thou shall not kill...i never seen a clause or waiver..it should then read thou shall kill the innocent and kill who kills...if i had that much faith in a religion i choose to follow and a commandment stated thou shall not kill and my life was in danger i would have to sacrafice my life because i truly believed that i shall not kill!!! but as most usually do you have found a way to justify it....

      September 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Tony

      Your arguement devalues human life and makes society look less civilized, which I'd say religious teachings are to blame. I guess Christ didn't say forgive your enemies in the new testament (which 1 of the few things I like in the bible) but just like any brainwashed person nobody can disagree with what you were personally taught because the HUMAN/S that told you couldn't be wrong.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Jonathan

      @ Tony

      Forgiveness does not absolve one from the consequences of one's actions. You still have to pay for that.

      @ others

      You are re-using arguments that I refuted not more than half a page down. But that is expected from those that parrot what they hear and do not think for themselves.

      September 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Duh

      "You are re-using arguments that I refuted not more than half a page down. But that is expected from those that parrot what they hear and do not think for themselves."

      Why don't you look at the time stamps...cough cough...HS. Duh!

      September 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  9. kenny

    Why dont you also ask: How does a Christian support the military by putting on a uniform, following orders of a commander in chief that he/she didnt vote for, and by dropping bombs on civilians? Christians kill all the time! All religions do!

    September 23, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  10. William Demuth

    Jesus was tried. Jesus was convicted. Jesus was executed.

    And Christians have been executing ever since.

    Does anyone else see the irony in this?

    September 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      What was Jesus convicted of?

      September 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Pedophilia.

      Thats why the Christians don't mention it often.

      September 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      It always comes back to pedophilia with william demouth ,almost too much so.Is he the doer the doee or both?

      September 23, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  11. Petri Dish

    If YOU had to pull the trigger, would you support the Death Penalty?

    I don't see what God has to do with it. If there is a God, he kills plenty of folks every day, innocent, guilty, young and old, so I am sure He doesn't have a problem with it.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Being a tech guy, I bet I could write a script to execute people based on real time internet voting. Host the trial on line, with no jury needed.

      A digital thumbs up / thumbs down.

      We could even charge a fee, and retire early in Cancun. Ratings would be higher than the Super Bowl.

      It would be just as random and absurd as the methods we currently use!

      September 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Yes, I would still support it.

      God has a lot to do with most people who support the death penalty. He is the only being with the right to give and take life and, as his creations who have no way to fully understand his reasons, have no rght to question his decisions. He forbids murder (premediated taking of life). He gave laws to the Israelites that allowed for the execution of such people and even gave laws that spared those who killed by accident. God gave us only limited rights as to when and if we can take a life.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  12. Jonathan

    "How does a Christian support the death penalty?"

    Any Christian who is adaquately familiar with the Bible (ie, some reading required).

    God is the giver of life and the only being with the right to take life. He forbids us from murdering one another (Thou shalt not murder) but gives us the intruction (many times) in the Bible to take life when necessary. One such instance is in the execution of a murderer. Those that commit crimes must serve their time and/or take the penalty for their actions. Forgiveness of sins does not negate your actions or absolve you from your punishment on this earth. It merely spares you the consequences in the hereafter.

    I am pro-life. But when you choose to take a life that is not yours to take (murder), yours will be taken to prevent harm to more innocents.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Ed Keller

      I don't think that is biblically supported. I think it's an emotional response, namely vengeance. The Catholic position is the most intellectually consistent. I adopted it for spiritual as well as pragmatic reasons. It positively defangs the opposition to the pro-life position if you are consistent from conception to death.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Jonathan

      So why didn't Christians execute Moses?

      You do know he murderd don't you?

      September 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Jonathan

      @ Ed Keller:

      If you do not think my stance is 'biblically supported', please provide your counters that show otherwise. Someone who takes life (murders) does not deserve life. Even God understands accidental killing, which is why he marked Cain and had the Israelites build cities so that men may flee there to escape vengence from the relatives of the men they accidently slayed. Even if they escaped vengenace, they could still be executed for their crimes if the town elders decided it was necessary.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Jonathan

      @ William Demuth

      A few things:

      1) Christians did not exist until after the death of Christ.

      2) Moses DID take the life of an Egyptian, in a moment of passion. That isn't exactly premediated murder. He knew what he did and ran from Eygpt to escape his punishment.

      3) The Israelites did not execute Moses for several reasons. I can give a few: They did not have the authority to do so, being slaves to the Egyptians. Moses was a prophet of God and was acting on his behalf. No Israelite would dare to judge in that situation.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Huh

      "Someone who takes life (murders) does not deserve life."

      That is not your decision to make. According to your bible Jesus replied, You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.

      If you allow society to put to death someone who has murdered, then you are passing judgment and murdering yourself, something your Christ said not to do.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • larrieux

      so basically youre saying the ends justify the means.....I can take a phrase or sentence out of the bible and make anything "right" or justified...thou shall not kill is a commandment...period..or so i thought..i didnt realize there were waivers or clauses to that..i thought it meant just that....I am just wondering i thought if i was a christian or any other follower of religion i would take that word for word and if it came down to it i would sacrafice my life before i killed....IFFFF MY FAITH WAS THAT STRONG!! HMM what if the bible was the anti- christ...just a thought.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Jonathan

      @ Huh

      "That is not your decision to make."

      You are right. Its not. That's God's call and he already made it.

      "According to your bible Jesus replied, You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and ‘love your neighbor as yourself."

      No arguements here. This actually reinforces my stance.

      "If you allow society to put to death someone who has murdered, then you are passing judgment and murdering yourself, something your Christ said not to do."

      Actually, you should do a bit more research. Christians are given instruction to judge one another, and 'judege righteously' (or with righteousness) but are warned that we will be judged by the same measure we judge others.

      You need to work on your definition of 'judgment' and narrow it down a bit. One does not pass judgement on someone accused of a crime. The evidence and facts show where the guilt lies. Punishing them for their crime is not judgement. It is a consequence of their actions.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Jonathan

      @ larrieux

      "so basically youre saying the ends justify the means....."

      No, you are twisting my words to reinforce a pre-existing belief that you have about Christianity.

      ".I can take a phrase or sentence out of the bible and make anything "right" or justified..."

      No, you can't. The Bible is meant to be taken as a whole, as its message is spread thoughtout the whole thing.

      "thou shall not kill is a commandment..."

      Thous shalt not MURDER, is the commandment. Kill was a poorly chosen word that slipped into a translation. Please do a bit more research, if you care to correct a misconception on your part.

      "what if the bible was the anti- christ...just a thought."

      Spoken from ignorance. If you seek truth, you will find it in the bible and the experience you have with God when you truly wish to see.

      I can take a phrase or sentence out of the bible and make anything "right" or justified...thou shall not kill is a commandment...period..or so i thought..i didnt realize there were waivers or clauses to that..i thought it meant just that....I am just wondering i thought if i was a christian or any other follower of religion i would take that word for word and if it came down to it i would sacrafice my life before i killed....IFFFF MY FAITH WAS THAT STRONG!! HMM what if the bible was the anti- christ...just a thought.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Huh

      "Punishing them for their crime is not judgement. It is a consequence of their actions."

      Really so how do explain all the innocent people that have been cleared of wrong doing and judge unfairly? LOL!

      September 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Jonathan

      @ Huh

      "Really so how do explain all the innocent people that have been cleared of wrong doing and judge unfairly? LOL!"

      That question is simple to answer, even if the answer is a bit sad. I explain all the misjudged people by pointing out that there is no such thing as a perfect system, a perfect judge, a perfect prosecutor, a perfect defender and a perfect jury in this world.

      As long as man is given the power to rule himself, these things will happen.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Jonathan

      You are in a logic box.

      If Christians are those who worship an eternal being named Christ, they must have ALWAYS existed.

      Moses himself worship Yahveh, who was Christ therefore he was Christian.

      Unless Yahveh really isn't Christ incarnate.

      Moses did no less than any other killer.

      September 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Scott

      @ larrieux: The Christian translation of “thou shall not kill” seems to be something like “Thou shall not kill unless you can come up with any kind of reason (no matter how weird) why NOT shouldn’t apply in this case (abortion doctors for example) and even if you can’t come up with even the weakest, silliest reason all you have to do is pray for forgiveness. Then god will still love you and people should not punish you (who are people to punish some one that god has forgiven?)”

      September 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  13. Uncouth Swain

    "Since Davis' 1991 trial, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony."

    I keep seeing this, but they never point out how the Prosecution never talked with any of these witnesses after they recanted. Unless it is in court, it doesn't mean squat in a legal sense.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • William Demuth

      But don't they have a moral obligation to do just that?

      I believe he was guilty, but the standard is supposed to be reasonable doubt.

      Even the CLAIM that 7 of 9 recanted would ethicaly require investigation, even if only to prosecute those who may have given false testimony.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  14. jasondulle

    "An eye for an eye" is not what most Christians cite in support of the death penalty. They cite Genesis 9:6 = "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image." Capital punishment is required for murder because murder is an attack on the image of God in man.

    The mere fact that it appears in the Old Testament does not mean it no longer applies. The Mosaic Covenant has been replaced by the New Covenant, so anything in the Mosaic Covenant no longer applies, but this command is not part of the Mosaic Covenant, and thus it still applies (man is still made in the image of God, after all).

    As far as the New Testament goes, Paul endorses the government's right and responsibility to administer capital punishment in Romans 13:4. Furthermore, Jesus and Paul both implicitly endorsed the government's right to administer capital punishment (John 19:10-11; Acts 25:9-11), even if it was being improperly implied in those instances. So we must not confuse the propriety of capital punishment with its application. Perhaps in the case of Davis it was wrongly applied, but that does not mean capital punishment itself is wrong, particularly from a Christian perspective.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  15. George Clifford

    The death penalty is incompatible with Christianity (cf. http://blog.ethicalmusings.com/2011/03/capital-punishment-and-religious.html).

    September 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Oh really George? You obviously never read Deuteronomy 19

      19:1 When the LORD thy God hath cut off the nations, whose land the LORD thy God giveth thee, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their cities, and in their houses;

      19:2 Thou shalt separate three cities for thee in the midst of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.

      19:3 Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither.

      19:4 And this is the case of the slayer, which shall flee thither, that he may live: Whoso killeth his neighbour ignorantly *, whom he hated not in time past;

      19:5 As when a man goeth into the wood with his neighbour to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbour, that he die; he shall flee unto one of those cities, and live:

      19:6 Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer *, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.

      19:7 Wherefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt separate three cities for thee.

      19:8 And if the LORD thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers;

      19:9 If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the LORD thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three:

      19:10 That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.

      19:11 But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities:

      19:12 Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.

      19:13 Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.

      19:14 Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.

      19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

      19:16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong;

      19:17 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days;

      19:18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;

      19:19 Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.

      19:20 And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.

      19:21 And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

      Amen.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Flash

      Heaven Sent,

      You worship a hideous monster. That tells us SO much about you. Aaack, hie thee away from rational, civilized society!

      September 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @HS

      Deuteronomy doesn't count kiddo, try again. If you're a christian than you would know that Jesus fulfilled all of this and so basically makes the OT moot when it comes to laws and deeds that we should follow. If you want to justify state-sanctioned killing of other people in our society, try searching only in the NT for that one.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • ByTheWay

      In case you don't know yet HS doesn't know the bible as well as it's being posted, they look it up on websites like everyone else. 😉

      Here have some fun with it you can do a keyword search too. http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/

      September 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "If you're a christian than you would know that Jesus fulfilled all of this and so basically makes the OT moot when it comes to laws and deeds that we should follow."

      No it doesn't.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > If you're a christian than you would know that Jesus fulfilled all of this and so basically makes the OT moot when it comes to laws and deeds that we should follow.

      I'm not a Christian and I know the bible better then you do. Jesus' said that he was not there to change the law, and that those who broke the least of these laws would be the least in heaven.

      This whole "Let's disregard the OT" approach by Christians is not supported by the NT. Furthermore, do you discount the ten commandments? If not, you do realize that these are but 10 of the 613 entries in the book of law, laid out by Moses.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Dustin

      I think its important to remember that the old testament people lived in a kin-based society, which means justice was often in the hands of the family relations. The Deuteronomy passage – that many of you are so quick to comment on – should be seen as a way of maintaining peace: as opposed to other systems of law at the time which allowed cyclical and unending family-to-family violence, Deuteronomy restricts violence to one-for-one... it was basically a humane/progressive law rather than a barbaric one.

      Of course it still isn't satifying, but Jesus later one-up's this by telling his followers to turn the other cheek

      September 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Bob and Uncouth

      First, not a christian. Secondly, Jesus fulfilled the laws of the OT, he says exactly that. I should revise my statement to say that the OT is not moot, however most of the laws are, which is why there's no dietary laws in christianity, because Jesus fulfilled the Law. The 10 commandments are still supposed to be observed to an extent (considering they were meant JUST for jews, christians technically are not even supposed to be following them) but what you really have to do is declare jesus as your lord and savior, to follow what HE preached, not what was said before.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Secondly, Jesus fulfilled the laws of the OT, he says exactly that.

      Here is what the bible says regarding the book of law.

      Matt 5:17-19
      17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

      Jesus clearly states that the laws are not to be violated. Am I missing something?

      September 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Bob

      Sort of, your ignoring the part where Jesus states that he's come to fulfill the law, which he eventually does when he dies and comes back. To your second part, its sort of hard to understand and I might be off base as well, but Jesus came, preached the commandments and tweaked them, not rewrote them, but he stated many commandments and said you have to follow them, but even more. For instance one is thou shalt committ adultry, he changed it so that committing adultry actually includes just having lust in your heart. It isn't rewritten, but it's changed. These changed commandments are what he's saying must be followed and that even though he's come to fulfill the laws and die for everyone, its his news commandments that you need to follow until you go to the kingdom of heaven.

      This is why you don't find christians keeping kosher, or keeping the sabbath on friday's and so on, I mean heck, the 10 commandments says all christians need to keep the sabbath holy, but how many do you know that follow that specific law?

      September 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Sort of, your ignoring the part where Jesus states that he's come to fulfill the law, which he eventually does when he dies and comes back.

      Isn't that Mark 5:17 that I referenced? What passages are you referencing? And fulfilling the prophets can mean any number of things, from fulfilling prophecy.

      > To your second part, its sort of hard to understand and I might be off base as well, but Jesus came, preached the commandments and tweaked them, not rewrote them, but he stated many commandments and said you have to follow them, but even more. For instance one is thou shalt committ adultry, he changed it so that committing adultry actually includes just having lust in your heart. It isn't rewritten, but it's changed.

      You are aware there are 613 entries in the book of law, not just the ten commandments right? Jesus does in fact endorse slavery, and he doesn't say it'll end when he is executed...

      > These changed commandments are what he's saying must be followed and that even though he's come to fulfill the laws and die for everyone, its his news commandments that you need to follow until you go to the kingdom of heaven.

      No, I don't think this is the case. Why is it then that the 10 commandments are different in different christian religions? If Jesus said "These are now the new 10 commandments" woudln't everyone have the same set?

      > This is why you don't find christians keeping kosher, or keeping the sabbath on friday's and so on, I mean heck, the 10 commandments says all christians need to keep the sabbath holy, but how many do you know that follow that specific law?

      Not many. Probably because it's silly. The fact that they don't follow it doesn't indicate Jesus' intent. I do not recall a single passage where Jesus changed the commandments, only added extra conditions to them.

      I really don't know. My reading of the bible is that Jesus said that the rules of the book of law were to be maintained. If this book was overturned by his death and resurrection as you claim, why do we still follow the 10 commandments?

      September 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @bob

      I only pointe out that you were ignoring the first part about jesus fulfilling the law and not abolishing it to the degree that the quote you posted to bolster your argument was to imply that the law is supposed to go unchanged.

      This is not the case because jesus came here to earth to fulfill it, since jesus is supposed to be god and perfect, he did that.

      I am also well aware there are many more commandments than the big 10, I only use them as an example because they the best known and easiet to show the point I'm trying to make.

      As for your next point, "No, I don't think this is the case. Why is it then that the 10 commandments are different in different christian religions? If Jesus said "These are now the new 10 commandments" woudln't everyone have the same set?" You say this, but everyone seems to have the same bible and yet there approx 3400 denominations, not to mention different ways to interpret, the reformation and the protestant split. We could argue the horrific fallacies in the bible and the gross misinterpretations that are throughout the bible, but we both know we already agree on that as well as thats not the main question your asking. Like I said before, Jesus didn't write new commandments he added new conditions (which I define as a rewrite). Everyone can read jesus' words in the bible, if they know how to read so you would think there wouldn't be as many denominations as there is and yet take a gander around you.

      As to your last point, Not many. Probably because it's silly. The fact that they don't follow it doesn't indicate Jesus' intent. I do not recall a single passage where Jesus changed the commandments, only added extra conditions to them."
      Following the sabbath is silly? Tell this to the people who attend church every sunday (their new "sabbath") or the millions of people who observe the jewish sabbath. They don't think its that silly. Christians also do other very silly things and yet they specifically do not follow kashruit. I'm positive that if jesus meant for christians to still observe jewish dietary laws, you would find one, or probably many, sects that would in fact keep it, however none do (except MAYBE Jews for Jesus, but thats up to you whether you consider them christian or jews).

      As far as I understand it, and if there is a believer out there who thinks I'm wrong, by all means correct me, but jesus came and fulfilled the laws and then laid out the biggies, the ones that are still really important to follow until the end of time, the 10 commandments are right up there because jesus preached them specifically and lays out the new conditions. You also have to look at the bible in a bigger picture and see how Paul also laid out the foundations and tenants of christianity, which I think sometimes goes directly against what jesus preached or at least twists it to fit his own agenda on creating a religion with staying power.

      September 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  16. Petri Dish

    Everyone is afraid of death. That is what holds religion up and makes it so easy for politicians to prey on the weak. It is the fear that makes the fight for common sense so difficult and it always will be and always has been. It is the "Devil" thing. Silly but powerful.

    "Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely."
    Buddha

    September 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      It's obvious that nothing is growing in that Petri Dish of yours. Jesus teaches us the truth about life and the hereafter, It is His wisdom that we learn to live a righteous life. His wisdom that you non-believers steal and call it by another name, cough, common sense.

      Amen.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • NO

      "His wisdom that we learn to live a righteous life. His wisdom that you non-believers steal and call it by another name,"

      No it was stolen from other pagan religions first so its the christians that stole it from the non-believers and try to call it by another name....cough...cough.....

      September 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Petri Dish

      I hate to keep pointing out the obvious but Jesus is dead and he did not write the Bible.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > His wisdom that you non-believers steal and call it by another name, cough, common sense.

      Matt 6:31-33 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

      How is not saving for the future common sense? To rely on an invisible man that is in the sky to provide you with what you need as long as you follow his teaching. Most people (including Christians) disregard this wisdom from Jesus and don't do it. Wonder why... Oh right, I remeber now, because it's stupid.

      September 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  17. David

    This is an interesting point of view and I share the author's view and concerns. I cannot find anything in the second testament that squares a belief that the dealth penalty is an ethical option for Christians.

    http://sightlikeaconstructionworker.blogspot.com/2011/09/mlk-everyday-im-hustlin.html

    September 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.... ?

      September 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      We are to send murderers back to our Lord and Savior. It's you non-believers that changed the death penalty in this country allowing murderers to get out of prison for serving time to murder another innocent again.

      Amen.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • So

      "We are to send murderers back to our Lord and Savior."

      So a Muslim, Atheist, etc get to go to heaven when christians murder them, good to know. LMAO!

      September 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Gus

      "We are to send murderers back to our Lord and Savior." where they'll be in good company, since bible god is such a noted murderer himself, even going as far as wiping out whole civilizations. Your god of your fictions is an azzhole. Get over it.

      September 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • News Flash

      HellSent,
      Hey idiot. re : your opinions about "this" country, (and why not mind your own business and worry about your own corrupt country), it would be FAR cheaper to just lock them up and throw away the key, than to execute anyone. We cannot afford the death penalty, and all it's concomitant appeals. There is a simple solution. Killing anyone does not bring about a "better" state of justice. It's revenge, pure and simple. "Sending them to god" is a REWARD !

      September 24, 2011 at 8:34 am |
  18. Jessica

    I pray for all of you who have written on this page hateful, judging words. Words against God, against Jesus. You know who you are if reading this so I don't need to point fingers. May God forgive you. The bottome line, if you feel bad about something, it's wrong. Amen

    September 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Petri Dish

      Don't pray for me please. It would be a waste of your valuable time worshipping a dead guy.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Jessica

      Prayer? Seriously? Your prayer to me is equal to the buzzing of an insect. It annoys me.

      If I could I would dose you with prayer repellent, so you might be forced to drone in someone elses ear.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > I pray for all of you who have written on this page hateful, judging words.

      And I will think for all of you who have written prideful and arrogant words. Like the fact that you're so arrogant to think that your faith is the correct one and that we're inferior to you and need your help.

      The reality is that you are the one who needs help with her thinking. God has yet to be proven and until that occurs, there is no rational reason to believe in it.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      As I worship Thor please pray to him as your tiny fairy will do me no good.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  19. derp

    WWJE

    Who would jesus execute?

    September 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      He wouldn't execute anyone. He'd insitute a concept of eternal torture for finite crimes.

      Cause that's the moral thing to do.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      No matter how many Christians tell you Bobinator that evil gets blotted out. No eternity. You will insist that Jesus torments evil folks for ever.

      Talk about refusing to learn.

      Amen.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "for finite crimes."

      How are they finite? Are judging the term "finite" as a temporal or theological manner?

      September 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > No matter how many Christians tell you Bobinator that evil gets blotted out. No eternity. You will insist that Jesus torments evil folks for ever. Talk about refusing to learn.

      The problem Heaven is that a whole lot of Christians say one thing and a whole other set say another thing. The reality is that neither can support their position. How am I supposed to learn and accept contradictory statements.

      Talk about not thinking...

      September 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > How are they finite? Are judging the term "finite" as a temporal or theological manner?

      As in defined and limited. As opposed to infinite, which is not defined and unllimited.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  20. William Demuth

    I find it ironic that a religion BASED on the execution of an innocent man (Christ for you illiterates) seems to have such a blood lust for executions.

    As you so vehemently argue the criminals guilt and herald the logic and need for strong government action to maintain order, I suggest you take pause and look up.

    For in that one moment of judgment, you have come as close to your beloved Jesus as you ever can in this mortal life.

    For in that one moment of judgment , You stand at the foot of his Cross, with the sword of your beloved justice in your hand.

    In your hatred and frustration you condemn him and indeed all of humanity to an endless cycle.

    I mean REALLY people! If you truly believe in Christ at ALL, how can you refuse the most obvious lesson he ever taught?

    September 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Baldwin tweets

      Agreed willy, unless the justice system is 100% sure of guilt, death penalty is a gross injustice to humanity.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      If our ancestors listened to His every word, you wouldn't be around to write your babble.

      Amen.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Duh

      "If our ancestors listened to His every word, you wouldn't be around to write your babble."

      LOL! That's because thankfully there were others that didn't follow the nonsense of your cult. DUH!

      September 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.