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From a moral Christian point of view, I cannot understand the idea that we should punish anyone. In America, which is a highly Christian-dominated society, there is little resistance to capital punishment from the "right wing." My understanding is that Christians are not supposed to judge. God will judge everyone when their time comes. Isn't Christian morality about tolerance and acceptance, and not revenge? "Turning the other cheek?" "Love thy neighbor/enemy as thyself?" Are Christians simply turning a blind eye to this action?

One might say, I suppose, in a kind of sociological way that Christianity is whatever Christians say it is. So, if people who call themselves Christians endorse capital punishment or punishments of other kinds, then those practices are Christian practices. But this isn't terribly satisfying for many, because people wish to believe that there is some sort of "true" Christianity against which the practices of people who call themselves Christians can be tested. And, anwyay, after all it does seem that it should be meaningful to speak of better and worse Christians. For myself, I think it probably impossible to speak of true Christianity in general. It is, however, I think meaningful to consider whether or not people meet the standards of Christianity they themselves or at least the authorities of their sects endorse. So, while it may be impossible to speak of better and worse Christians in general, one might speak of better and worse Catholics or Presbyterians or Baptists. According to the...

On the morality of the death penalty: I live in a country (Australia) where the death penalty has long been abolished and is unpopular; particularly mandatory death penalties, say, for example, for people trafficking in illegal drugs over certain quantities. I bring up this example because an Australian citizen was executed in Singapore for exactly that activity. Certainly, I find such laws difficult to justify as consistent, on utilitarian grounds at least. If a person caught in an airport with 0.5 kg of heroin strapped to his body ought to die because that is less-bad than the reasonably presumed consequences to many people would be, were he allowed to live, then surely there is a case for the death penalty for tobacconists or sellers of alcohol. I have no statistics at hand, but I am guessing that the tobacco sold by one tobacconist over several decades would lead to comparable illnesses or numbers of deaths as would the total amount of heroin carried by this particular Australian 'drug mule'. ...

When I find myself considering individual cases like the BTK killer and Reinhard Heydrich, I find myself sympathetic to just the sort of argument you present and animated by the feeling that there's really no compelling reason against executing them. But when I think things through more soberly and consider the death penalty as a policy or institution, I find a number of objections compelling. First, let's look at your principle. You present three necessary conditions that must be met for the death penalty to be morally permissible (which I take you to mean when you say "there is a reasonable argument for"). In other words: (A) THE DEATH PENALTY IS PERMISSIBLE ONLY IF THE THREE CONDITIONS CAN BE MET. [DP-->3 CONDITIONS ] I take it that this implies the following: if any one of the three conditions can't be met in a particular instance, then (by modus tollens) the death...

Is the sentence of death really a punishment? Yes, the man/woman who committed the act loses their life, but doesn't it also mean that the person in the end gets away with the act that he/she committed? Wouldn't it make more sense to punish this person with life in prison without the possibility of parole? It just seems to me that the death sentence is just a way to show sympathy or mercy towards criminals. It seems that this would be a harsher punishment; just sitting in your cell day by day, for the rest of the person's life.

An interesting thought. My suspicion, however, is that most sentenced to death would prefer life in prison. That may not conclusively demonstrate much, but if true it at least shows that those convicted of crimes regard life in prison as a less severe punishment. Keep in mind that even inside a cell the mind may enjoy wide expanses, and if Aristotle is correct there are even very simple pleasures bound up with the mere act of living and perceiving the world. Then, of course, prison does offer some opportunities for sociability, for reading, for entertainment, and for contemplation. There is a sense, however, that you are right in saying that the criminal has still gotten away with it--namely, no punishment or repentance can fully restore the state of affairs that preceded the crime. Those murdered, for example, can never be brought back. In a sense, despite their defeat the Nazis did "get away" with killing millions and millions of innocent people. But this defficiency remains true of all options...