M. N. wrote:
"For those who claim to be Christians, using the Mosaic law (e.g., the Ten Commandments (still being used as the base of Jewish religious law)) to justify capital punishment; when Jesus Christ clearly opposed capital punishment."
Can you defend this statement? Jesus Christ NEVER opposed the death penalty, as you claim. If you can give me an example.... The death penalty was not first instituted in the Mosaic Law, either. God gave this command in Genesis 9:6, long before Moses or Isrealites even existed. God much later also gave the command to be put into the Mosaic law. It was a part of the creation order set by God, not at all linked with the Ten Commandments (until much later). I suggest you remove these incorrect statements from your page, or at the very least, defend them."
Very well. Consider this:
You may have noticed that I do not attempt to answer your point about Genesis 9:6. Why? Because, for me, it is immaterial. God did also put forth the death penalty to the Israelites. Also, you will note that in the verse in Genesis, God did not say who should punish the miscreant, as he did specify to the Israelites.
Now for another point. It is clearly stated that Jesus is the Son of God - even Satan said so (Matt 4:1-7). Also, it is commonplace for Christians to believe that Jesus the Son of God, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are one (re: Matt 28:19).
I am a follower of Jesus - I will not be bound by the old law. Remember, Jesus was here to fulfill the old law (Matt 5:18). Conscience - from within - is what Jesus taught. I would not want someone to harm me, so I will not harm someone else. This does the same thing as the old law - but by conscience, rather by rote obedience. Remember, we were created in His image - not in the image of automatons, blindly obeying external commandments.
There is evidence to clearly show that Jesus did not teach the Ten Commandments. One must remember that the Ten Commandments do not exist by themselves; there are several hundred other laws contemperaneous to the Ten Commandments. One of these states that those who commit adultery should be stoned to death.
In John 8: 1-11, Jesus encounters such a situation; a woman is about to be stoned for adultery. (By the way, where was the man? The last time that I looked, it took a man and a woman to commit adultery.) She had been caught in the act - there was no question that she was guilty. The scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus what to do.
If Jesus had followed the Ten Commandments, he would not have done what he did do. He would have instead:
a) Held the men's cloaks (as Saul did for those who stoned Stephen),
b) Looked frantically for the proper animal(s) to sacrifice to redeem the woman,
c) Demonstrated the Nolan Ryan method of stoning to the crowd.
Did Jesus do any of these things? No. He told her, "From now on sin no more" (John 8:11).
Jesus also said, "Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them..." (Matt 7:12 NAS).
Jesus taught conscience (from within one's heart), not obedience to an external law (i.e., Ten Commandments).
I can not defend a person's actions when they commit homicide. At the same time, society killing that miscreant is similarly indefensible. Remember, Jesus told us to turn the other cheek (Matt 5:39) - note what His reaction was to Peter's cutting off of the slave's ear in the garden (John 18:10-11).
Therefore, I must conclude that there is reasonable doubt to your implied contention that Jesus did support, or at least did not oppose, capital punishment.
Since I notice that you are from Canada, I must ask you if you have any detailed knowledge of the justice system in the United States in regards to capital punishment.
If you can prove to my satisfaction that all persons who commit a capital crime in the United States are treated equally under the laws of the United States, and the several states therein, and that such treatment does not violate the Golden Rule (for instance, if the prosecutors always lie to gain death sentences for all, that could be a violation of the Golden Rule), then I shall accede to your request to modify my page.
And I would suggest that you ask yourself this question - do not answer it to me, for I have myself to worry about, and that is quite enough to worry about.
Let us suppose that you were indicted for a murder of someone whom it was known that you loathed, and the prosecutor wanted you to receive the death penalty. You did not commit the murder, but you cannot prove this. The prosecution can place you near the scene at the time the murder took place. The prosecution cannot prove that you actually did it, only that you could have, and had a potential reason to do so.
In the United States, the prosecution is supposed to prove that one did it "beyond a reasonable doubt". However, this standard is manipulated by the criminal justice system against those who are not rich or able to afford proper counsel.
You know you did not commit the murder, but you are convicted and sentenced to death in Florida (fiery electric chair!!). You do, theoretically, have the right to appeal. However, appeals are all too often treated by the judiciary as pro forma affairs, and all of yours are denied.
You are on death row, and you turn on your radio. You hear of a convicted mass murderer receiving a sentence of life in prison, with no possibility of parole.
Do you think that this cannot happen? There is ample evidence of at least 400 persons in the United States being improperly convicted of crimes for which they were sentenced to death since 1900. Of these, 23 were executed, and 27 were almost (sometimes within minutes) executed.
Now that you have thought about this for a minute under Jesus' principle of walking in the other person's shoes (Matt 7:41), can you still support capital punishment? How would you like this to happen to you?
If you haven't read my accompanying reports (you could start at the following URL: http://www.globaldialog.com/~theoacme/cappun2.html ), I think that you will find them to be sobering reading. Also, there are more recent cases of this type available at Eric Zorn's page ( found at http://www.chicago.tribune.com/columns/zorn/zorn.htm ).
I hope for your sake that Canada has a more honest, more merciful, more reliable criminal justice system than we do here in the United States. And possibly for mine.
I do wish to thank you for forcing me to more adequately defend what I did say. Although I assure you that I do take Joan of Arc's words to heart, and take them fully as my own, I will consider that you wished me to better clarify my beliefs on my page in a manner similar to what I have just written. I will consider how best to do so without compromising my stated beliefs one iota.
I would conclude by restating a remark by the Marquis de Lafayette, "Till the infallibility of human judgement shall have been proved to me, I shall demand the abolition of the death penalty".
If someone commits murder, let God take care of that someone - I know that He will be just. Just imprison that person, so they cannot harm anyone else. If a person who is executed is found out later to be innocent, what would you do?
How many innocent persons executed is too many?