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Gordon Tubbs

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Cringeianity
« on: July 27, 2020, 05:55:41 pm »
This blog/journal posted 5 reasons why Christians should oppose the death penalty.

1. Christians believe that life overcomes death.
2. Jesus was executed by the state.
3. The death penalty is a tool of white supremacy and racism.
4. It is financially irresponsible.
5. Notorious for killing innocent people.

I have half a mind to write them a strongly worded letter. I am struggling to contain expletives at the moment.

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noncontingent

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Re: Cringeianity
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2020, 06:58:53 am »
Christianity has been invaded by the same spirit of envy and jealousy that's evident in the culture at large and the social sciences in particular. The academy has its' ministers, some claim to be Christian.

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Gordon Tubbs

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Re: Cringeianity
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2020, 07:21:40 am »
I am merely disappointed in the lack of philosophical or theological rigor in their argument.

Take reason #4 for instance. It could be argued from the other point of view that executions don't have to cost barely anything at all, and, over the long term actually save the State money compared to keeping a person imprisoned for life. Somebody could say that it is financially prudent to execute people who have been sentenced to multiple life terms.

Notably absent from the list are things like:
1. Refraining from executing prisoner respects the sanctity of life.
2. James 4:12 suggests that to execute somebody is to assume an authority which only God possesses.
3. Executing a prisoner will remove all future opportunities for them to welcome Jesus into their heart.
4. Executing a prisoner for emotional closure undermines the spiritual closure that could be won through forgiveness and mercy.
Ordained Minister of the Word and Sacrament (PCUSA)
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Fred

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Re: Cringeianity
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2020, 08:41:54 am »
FYI, it costs more to execute: https://www.amnestyusa.org/issues/death-penalty/death-penalty-facts/death-penalty-cost/
Fred

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Gordon Tubbs

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Re: Cringeianity
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2020, 09:41:59 am »
Ah, that article highlights an important distinction between the cost of the death penalty system versus the cost of the execution itself. Good find!
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noncontingent

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Re: Cringeianity
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2020, 10:55:06 am »
Not to be cynical, but streamlining the legal system through automation could reduce these costs through the elimination of lawyers and implementing instead a legal AI software system.

https://attorneyatlawmagazine.com/legal-artificial-intelligence-courtroom

The costs of warehousing of inmates can't be as easily reduced.

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shoyt

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Re: Cringeianity
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2020, 11:02:36 am »
This blog/journal posted 5 reasons why Christians should oppose the death penalty.

1. Christians believe that life overcomes death.
2. Jesus was executed by the state.
3. The death penalty is a tool of white supremacy and racism.
4. It is financially irresponsible.
5. Notorious for killing innocent people.

I have half a mind to write them a strongly worded letter. I am struggling to contain expletives at the moment.

Gordon, I haven't read the article yet, but I wonder why you're suggesting such a strong reaction to it.

I wonder about this subject in a couple of ways all centered about why we have it and the purpose it serves.

It seems to me that the death penalty couldn't serve to reform the convict nor restore what the convict took. We could say that perhaps what the death penalty restores is a sense of justice. I wonder then what principle we could make of that such that someone's sense of things is worth more than a life such that we would literally sacrifice someone in order to gain it. That at least on the face of it, seems unethical and a bit grim as far as the human prospect goes.

It seems to me that the death penalty isn't about justice at all. In my mind, justice is about making things right. I honestly don't think we can argue that killing a person because they have killed a person intentionally can do more than satisfy someone's anger and desire for retribution. We'd have no concept of reform nor restoration in criminal justice had not we become exhausted in seeing this distinction and how immoral retributive justice is. If one person's life matters and has inherent value, then so do they all.

I don't think any person can forfeit the inherent value in their life irrespective of how they live it.

This would be at least one key principle driving meaningful headway in any discussion about the death penalty. If we agree to it, then we're likely well-motivated to abandon support of it. If we instead think that human life and its value is instrumental rather than inherent, then we need to rethink many things such as euthanasia and abortion. Additionally, we'd have to identify a universal principle that would justify holding that view. That is, "For every instance someone does something worthy of the death penalty, 'worthy' isn't defined by the particular thing done to deserve it." That is, life without inherent value entails life can be ethically ended, but based entirely on convention, what we all agree to. In that case, that Johnny murdered Amy cannot be the grounds for killing Johnny; the principle Johnny violated would be those grounds and his actions would be the violation.

Finally, there can't possibly be a coherent argument to make where one holds the inherent value of human life who would endorse the death penalty, especially to say it costs to much to keep people in prison for the rest of their lives.

In any case, I wonder the sorts of things you think about with respect to this topic.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 11:04:40 am by shoyt »

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Gordon Tubbs

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Re: Cringeianity
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2020, 12:30:06 pm »
My reaction stems from the non-sequiturness of their reasons.

"We should oppose the death penalty because Jesus was executed by the State."
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shoyt

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Re: Cringeianity
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2020, 12:35:16 pm »
My reaction stems from the non-sequiturness of their reasons.

"We should oppose the death penalty because Jesus was executed by the State."

Right. That's proper crap as premises go. But, why would you feel compelled to write the author and using explicatives?

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kravarnik

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Re: Cringeianity
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2020, 01:28:50 pm »
This blog/journal posted 5 reasons why Christians should oppose the death penalty.

1. Christians believe that life overcomes death.
2. Jesus was executed by the state.
3. The death penalty is a tool of white supremacy and racism.
4. It is financially irresponsible.
5. Notorious for killing innocent people.

I have half a mind to write them a strongly worded letter. I am struggling to contain expletives at the moment.

1. And so does justice overcome crime. It seems that this saying is merely a weaponized slogan in the hands of the author, rather than any meaningful point.

2. The state found Christ innocent. The crowd yelled "Give us Barabbas". So, once again, I don't see how this pertains to the death penalty in any meaningful way.

3. The death penalty has been utilized universally across all cultures and times. There's nothing inherently white, or racist, in it. Black to black, Arab to Arab, Persian to Persian, Chinese to Chinese, white to white. You just need to open a basic history book about how criminals were treated in the past and that point's validity is gone out the window.

4. That point holds for any penalty as well, if we speak about grave crimes(to which the death penalty is applied). Sentences, other than the death penalty, can be appealed, re-appealed. This isn't unique to the death penalty.

5. That also holds for any penalty as well. This point speaks more about those judging, rather than the proclaimed sentence.


I am for the death penalty, but these arguments really fail to bring up any real objection to it.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 06:02:43 am by kravarnik »
"And even if you crush my body and drain it 'til the last drop - you can never touch my spirit, you can never touch my soul. No matter how bleak or how hopeless, no matter how hard or how far - you can never break my conation. Tear the will apart from desire." Insomnium - Weather the storm

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lapwing

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Re: Cringeianity
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2020, 01:51:36 pm »
Just because someone puts forward an argument against capital punishment, that you find cringeworthy, doesn't in itself constitute an argument for capital punishment.

In the 19th century Victor Hugo (Les Miserables) and Charles Dickens (Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities) both inveighed against capital punishment, and the criminal justice system more generally, in admittedly harsher times. This is brilliantly portrayed in David Lean's 1946 film of Great Expectations. In those days public executions were popular crowd draws for which people paid for front row views!

The utilitarian argument is difficult to resolve - does it deter or not? Hard to prove either way. I think I prefer the argument that focusses on reconciliation - believing it is possible for anyone to reform. An offender cannot make reparation from beyond the grave..

"pay me what you owe" - a view that Jesus clearly condemned.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 01:55:27 pm by lapwing »
For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

"Those who are still afraid of men have no fear of God, and those who have fear of God have ceased to be afraid of men"
"If the world refuses justice, the Christian will pursue mercy"
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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shoyt

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Re: Cringeianity
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2020, 02:00:43 pm »
Just because someone puts forward an argument against capital punishment, that you find cringeworthy, doesn't in itself constitute an argument for capital punishment.

In the 19th century Victor Hugo (Les Miserables) and Charles Dickens (Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities) both inveighed against capital punishment, and the criminal justice system more generally, in admittedly harsher times. This is brilliantly portrayed in David Lean's 1946 film of Great Expectations. In those days public executions were popular crowd draws for which people paid for front row views!

The utilitarian argument is difficult to resolve - does it deter or not? Hard to prove either way. I think I prefer the argument that focusses on reconciliation - believing it is possible for anyone to reform. An offender cannot make reparation from beyond the grave..

"pay me what you owe" - a view that Jesus clearly condemned.

All very well put.

I wonder though if we can circumvent the Utilitarian argument by appealing to the inherent worth of human beings?

In that case, it would still be wrong to kill a murderer even if it deterred others from murder.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 12:51:24 pm by shoyt »

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kravarnik

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Re: Cringeianity
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2020, 06:11:42 am »
Just because someone puts forward an argument against capital punishment, that you find cringeworthy, doesn't in itself constitute an argument for capital punishment.

In the 19th century Victor Hugo (Les Miserables) and Charles Dickens (Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities) both inveighed against capital punishment, and the criminal justice system more generally, in admittedly harsher times. This is brilliantly portrayed in David Lean's 1946 film of Great Expectations. In those days public executions were popular crowd draws for which people paid for front row views!

The utilitarian argument is difficult to resolve - does it deter or not? Hard to prove either way. I think I prefer the argument that focusses on reconciliation - believing it is possible for anyone to reform. An offender cannot make reparation from beyond the grave..

"pay me what you owe" - a view that Jesus clearly condemned.

People changed their religions, due to pressure from the death penalty. People gave up their rights, due to pressure from the death penalty. Saying it doesn't have a deterring effect is beyond inaccurate and ahistorical.

Unless one wants to claim that people in history are somewhat different, in terms of their mode of existence, than people in modernity and somehow the threat of the death penalty doesn't affect the modern man the same way as it did the man of the past.


Your closing remarks are demonstrably false. Christ said "not a jot of the Law will pass away". That Law also includes the death penalty and "eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth". Christ never advocated to let criminals that do evil to your neighbor just do it, and everyone else hope for their reformation, while the criminal simply inflicts evil. That's some passive Christianity. "Do unto others" is a great example how if it isn't applied masochistically(as in - "I don't mind this criminal doing evil to me and nobody doing anything to help me"), then you need to act to stop criminals as best as possible.


I say if God Himself instituted the death penalty, and says that the Law that prescribes it will never pass away, then we as Christians are safe to rely on it.
"And even if you crush my body and drain it 'til the last drop - you can never touch my spirit, you can never touch my soul. No matter how bleak or how hopeless, no matter how hard or how far - you can never break my conation. Tear the will apart from desire." Insomnium - Weather the storm

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shoyt

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Re: Cringeianity
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2020, 01:05:33 pm »

I say if God Himself instituted the death penalty, and says that the Law that prescribes it will never pass away, then we as Christians are safe to rely on it.

Why?

The question begins in asking what makes God's sayso "good", and then what about that feature makes it "good", rinse and repeat.

What you're doing is taking many things to be true that may just be supposition, and since that's the case, your reliance isn't safe at all, seems to me.

As it is, if morality is only explainable in human terms and retributive justice is clearly a primative and immature view of morality compared to reformative and restorative notions of justice, then why on Earth would we think retributive justice is a mandate from God Himself?

Theologically, transformative justice is far more compelling in that the goal of justice is to prevent perpetual evil, maximizing the goodness of all activities. If a criminal is not only reformed by being aware of more ways to accomplish things but that the desire to do evil is likewise gone, then indeed retributive justice is an impoverished view. A person aware of the good and embracing it will do his own best to right things. Scripturally, this is sufficient for atonement.

I think that God's justice is like finding the love of your life where being in His presence compels us to be our best, something about Him transforms is completely. The question would then be whether God is the sort of being that cannot obtain justice in this highest sense because His presence doesn't have that sort of impact, or is justice really after all about aimless vengeance that seeks no other good but self satisfaction?
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 01:10:34 pm by shoyt »

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kravarnik

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Re: Cringeianity
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2020, 04:11:39 pm »

I say if God Himself instituted the death penalty, and says that the Law that prescribes it will never pass away, then we as Christians are safe to rely on it.

Why?

The question begins in asking what makes God's sayso "good", and then what about that feature makes it "good", rinse and repeat.

What you're doing is taking many things to be true that may just be supposition, and since that's the case, your reliance isn't safe at all, seems to me.

As it is, if morality is only explainable in human terms and retributive justice is clearly a primative and immature view of morality compared to reformative and restorative notions of justice, then why on Earth would we think retributive justice is a mandate from God Himself?

Theologically, transformative justice is far more compelling in that the goal of justice is to prevent perpetual evil, maximizing the goodness of all activities. If a criminal is not only reformed by being aware of more ways to accomplish things but that the desire to do evil is likewise gone, then indeed retributive justice is an impoverished view. A person aware of the good and embracing it will do his own best to right things. Scripturally, this is sufficient for atonement.

I think that God's justice is like finding the love of your life where being in His presence compels us to be our best, something about Him transforms is completely. The question would then be whether God is the sort of being that cannot obtain justice in this highest sense because His presence doesn't have that sort of impact, or is justice really after all about aimless vengeance that seeks no other good but self satisfaction?

Mate, I was talking to another Christian. I can presume that he'd view God's Word as more, than just a supposition. So, excuse my boldness.


Besides that: there is also a philosophical case to be done for why justice is necessarily retributive. A crime is by definition the trespassing of a law. A law is by definition is a prescription that limits the state of affairs to have the common good obtain.

When one does crime, he takes away good from others. Thus, justice deals with the restoration of the lost good, not with the reformation of the criminal. That is: a particular consequence is established to follow from taking away the good of others.

The reformation of the criminal may be an extra-added condition in the sentence applied. But justice in the first place deals with restoring what's good and preventing further trespass.


Nobody punishes others, because "I want him to get better". People punish others, because they did a bad thing to another, or another's property. And THAT must be recompensed. Restorative justice is not really justice, but being harshly merciful. So, restorative justice is not properly called justice, but rather it is mercy, because the entire point of this justice is not to recompense the evil, but to make the evil-doer better. But since evil is actually done, then there are also actual consequences that follow, thus justice is retributive.


Parents are usually the ones that do such merciful "cruelty", if we can call it such: that is, put their kids through something bad - deprive them or something, - in order. Justice, however, is not based on depriving the evil-doer of something, but actively applying particular consequences to recompense the good that the criminal deprived others of.

God proceeds with His faithful in a manner that pertains for a parent. Even with those, who do not believe in Him, as long as they can actually come back to Him and begin to have faith in Him. With those wicked and unrepentant, He proceeds in retributive justice, which is what is justice proper.



This is why we call our God most Merciful, because He has the full right to exact retributive justice, but He prolongs and deals in a merciful way, so that more people can actually learn the lesson and understand the moral of the bad things happening to them. That they come to Him, so He may heal them. He could have send the demons and Adam and Eve to the abyss right away, or deprive any one of us of our bodily life any moment He wants, but He prolongs in His Mercy and Love for us, so that we may come back to Him.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 04:14:37 pm by kravarnik »
"And even if you crush my body and drain it 'til the last drop - you can never touch my spirit, you can never touch my soul. No matter how bleak or how hopeless, no matter how hard or how far - you can never break my conation. Tear the will apart from desire." Insomnium - Weather the storm