Capital Punishment Essay, Research Paper
The Question of Capital Punishment
Capital Punishment. “The legal infliction of the death penalty; or in modern law, corporal punishment in its most severe form. This issue is highly debated and discussed as time goes on. Society today holds on to the right to protect itself against violence, yet is also it values life itself. Many are outraged at the amount of criminals who don’t get the death penalty when they really deserve it. Yet at the same time many say that using the death penalty “constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. We all have heard both sides of the subject, most of us have been taught that taking a life is morally unacceptable and ethically wrong. So what exactly is everyone so divided on? Everyone knows what the death penalty is but do you know the raw facts about what goes on? Well I’ll tell you. . .contrary to popular belief the way in which most prisoners are executed are not as painless and quick as people think. Death by electrocution takes about 4 minutes the victim sits in what is called the “electric chair” They are bound to the chair by straps on their arms and on their feet. Their head is inserted into a vise which is connected to electrical wires and cables attached to run through the chair going to different points. Then when the execution proceeds around 2,500 volts of electricity are sent into the victim. Sound gruesome doesn’t it? But there are other options for the convict on death row. He has two other choices, one being a gas chamber, sounds like an easy way out, think again, when the room begins to fill with gas sharp pains fills the victims body and soon a strangling sensation begins, this proceeds for about 5 minutes sometimes more, until the victim falls over dead. The last choice a victim has is by the needle or “lethal injection”. Most victims choose this method thinking it would be quick death but they are deceived. Death by lethal injection also takes about 3 to 5 minutes of agonizing pain. As you can see why, most people would agree with those who say no to capital punishment. Most say that the death penalty is a barbaric ritual that should be stopped, but as Christians we must look to what God says about the subject.
Two of the most important scripture verses are found in Genesis 1:25-27 which states that “we are all made in his image and that we are all his children whom he loves. . .”and Genesis 9:6 which states clearly that “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image.” These two verse seem contradictory. One sounds like it is for capital punishment yet doesn’t that in fact contradict the first verse? Isn’t capital punishment the killing of one of God’s children made in his image. But does that mean in capital punishment we are allowed to execute a man in God’s image? Well one side of this debate may shock you. By using God’s word as the basis of the argument many Christians have come to the conclusion that capital punishment is justifiable. For these people, capital punishment is not a matter of choice or opinion poll, or even a governmental court issue. It is God’s requirement. God established the death penalty for willful murder and in Moses time the death penalty was prescribed for eighteen different offenses: murder (Exodus 21:12-14);causing the death of a pregnant woman, and harming her child in any way in the process (Exodus 21:22-25); the rape of a married woman (Deut.22:25-29); kidnaping (Exodus 21:16); and rebelling or striking against a parent (Exodus 21:15 and Deut.21:18-21) Capital Punishment in the manner that God intended it to be was provided for the protection of his children from the unlawful. This fact is made perfectly clear and then reaffirmed in the Bible many times. For example in Exodus 21:12-15 it states, “anyone who strikes a man and kills him intentionally he shall be put to death. . .” ; Leviticus 24:17-23 explains the old saying “an eye for an eye. . .and Numbers 35:9-34 says murderers shall be put to death.
However the question still remains which side to the death penalty is right. To say yes or to say no. Do you believe that, “Life is our most precious possession” or that “Heinous crimes, like murder deserve a punishment that reflects the magnitude of the crime.” Or do you believe in the saying “an eye for an eye” or that “its morally unjustifiable to lose another life when one is already lost.” In all the facts that I have shown you, both societies view and the biblical view we must remember to ask ourselves two important questions. Do the old testament teachings condone our way of capital punishment or their own? Do you think that God would want a criminal, also made in his image, to suffer a gruesome and cruel death? WE all must remember that God also calls us to allow him to judge everyone in the end so does using capital punishment cheat God out of his right to decide? And what about society? Are they always right in everything? No so what is the right answer? Well I haven’t written this paper to tell you wether which view is right or wrong. We as Christians must come to that conclusion ourselves, hopefully with Gods help we will be able to make a good decision. So even after I have told you facts from both sides, the question whether or not what side of the issue God is on has still remained a debatable topic. So ask yourself, Is it morally right to agree or disagree with capital punishment. And what answer is really ethical?