Christianity and the Death Penalty

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Letter to IRISH TIMES Editor published on 28 April 2014

Sir ,

Based on the assumption that “Christians believe that the Bible is literally the word of their god”, Hugo Pierce quotes from the Old Testament various endorsements of capital punishment for various crimes (Letters, April 25th). Some Christians do indeed still follow this tradition and continue to believe that God wills that human life be taken – “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”.

However, for Christians who believe that God does indeed reveal Himself/ Herself and the ways for the proper respect of human life in society this revelation is a progressive one, where God gradually reveals in history a better way of living.

Jesus of Nazareth, eventhough he came from the Jewish tradition of the Torah quoted by Hugo Pierce, revealed through his life, words and actions that this ancient practice of a life for a life was not the will of God.

Even though eminent Christians still refuse to acknowledge this revolutionary teaching of Jesus that the reign of God has no place for violence, capital or otherwise, against the human person regardless of race, colour, gender, sexual orientation – or indeed of any crime committed by any human person – that doesn’t mean that they represent all Christians. Yours, etc,

BRENDAN BUTLER,

The Moorings ,

Malahide ,

Co Dublin