Edexcel R.E Crime and Punishment

Religion and Society 

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Why do we need laws?

  • to know what behaviour to expect from each other, if there were no rules there would be chaos 

e.g. road laws - what side of the road to drive

  • if there were no laws society and business wouldn't operate

e.g. people wouldn't go to work if they weren't sure they would be paid 

  • to protect the weak from the strong

e.g. laws on stealing to protect the poor 

  • to give a sense of security 

e.g. laws on murder 

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Why don't we need laws?

  • Laws restrict freedom and God gave free will
  • if everyone embraced the christian teachings of love (love your neighbour) then you wouldn't need laws to protect the weak
  • small societies know how to treat each other and so don't need laws 
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Why do we need a connection between law and justic

  • if laws are unjust people may think its right to break them or campaign against them 
  • if a law is unjust its not forfilling its jod and rewarding good work and protecting the weak 
  • peoplee who think the legal system isn't working may start a civil war

e.g. kosovo's civil war against the serbian laws

  • unjust laws disrupt rather than unite society 
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Why don't laws need to be just?

  • if people know what the law is they can obey it if its just or not
  • laws help society function whether they are just or not
  • often people don't agree on what is just so no laws can be just for everyone 
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  • it makes criminals pay in proportion to the severity of their crimes 
  • it makes criminals suffer for what they have done wrong
  • it actually punishes the criminal 


  • it makes you as bad as the criminal because you are doing the same thing
  • it won't stop the criminal from reoffending
  • it was condemed by Jesus in the sermon on the mount 
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  • if people know the punishment to their crime is serious they will be unlikely to commit it 


  • people commiting crimes don't think they will get caught 
  • countries with the death penalty actually have a higher murder rate
  • some crimes people think are necessary so are not detered still 

e.g. if people are stealing to feed their family 

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  • the only way to stop crime is to turn criminals into law abiding citizens 
  • many criminals have a bad upbring and so don't know how to live without crime 
  • it gives criminals education and qualifications and so they can find a job (rehabilitate)


  • reform doesn't work with many criminals as they still reoffend
  • psychpaths cannot be reformed
  • it can be more expensive than other forms of punishment
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  • capital punishment means they cannot kill again 
  • long prison sentences keep criminals out of society so that they can't hurt any citizens
  • comunity service keeps vandals of the streets in their leisure time 
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Why is justice important for christians?

  • the Bible says God is just and will reward the righteous and punish those who sin 

blessed are the righteous, i will repay evil says the lord 

  • the new testaments says people should be treated fairly
  • the church makes staements about the need for christians to work for justice
  • the Bible says God wants the world to be ruled justly 
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Why is justice important to muslims?

  • the qur'an says God is just and muslims should treal people fairly 
  • part of their role as vice-gerents of the earth is to treat people fairly 
  • shari'ah is based on justice for everyone being treated equally 

stand up for justice

  • islam teaches it is unjust to charge interest on money as it takes money form the poor 
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Non-religious arguments for capital punishment

  • it puts people off commiting crimes 
  • murderers threaten society and so the death penalty protects society
  • human life is the most important thing and so the severity of their crime is shown by taking thier life
  • the only retribution for murder is the death penalty 
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non-religious arguments against capital punishment

  • no court system can be certain of the verdict and so innocent people can be executed 
  • countries theat use the death penalty don't have a lower muder rate
  • murderers are more likely to do drastic things in order to avoid getting caught 
  • murderers consider it the easy way out as many commit suicide in prison rather than live with their conscience 
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Christian attitudes for capital punishment

Some christians agree with capital punishment 

  • The Bible gives the death penalty for various cirmes

i will repay evil says the lord, let those without sin throw the first stone

  • The Roman catholic church and the church of england haven't cancelled their statements about the state use of the death penalty 
  • the church itself has used capital punishment in the past for heresy 

if you do not do what is right you are not a child of God

  • st thomas aquinas said protection is the most important part of punishment 
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Christian attitudes against capital punishment

Most christians are against capital punishment 

  • Jesus came to reform sinners but you cant reform the dead 
  • Jesus said an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is wrong for christians 
  • all life is sacred 
  • most christian churches have condemmed capital punishment 
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Islamic attitudes for capital punishment

most christians are for capital punishment 

  • it is a punishment set down by God in the Qur'an

take not life except for a just cause

  • muhammad (pbuh) made several statements agreeing with capital punishment 
  • muhammad (pbuh) sentences people to death when he was a ruler himself 
  • shari'ah says capital punishment is the punsihment for muder
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Islamic attitudes against capital punishment

Some christians are against capital punishment 

  • it is recommended by the Qur'an but it isn't compulsory 
  • shari'ah says the family  of the victim can accept blood money instead of death
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UK laws on tobacco

  • it must not be sold to under 18s 
  • it must have health warnings and pictures
  • there must be no sponsership or adverts 
  • you can't smoke in public places indoors 
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UK laws on alcohol

  • it must not be given to a child under 5 
  • chuldren can go to a pub with an adult 
  • 16-17 year olds can drink with a meal when bought by an adult 
  • it must not be solf to anyone under 18 
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UK laws on illegal drugs

  • it is illegal to possess a drug
  • it is illegal to possess with intent
  • it is illegal to supply
  • it is illegal to allow you premisis to be used for drug taking 
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Why drugs don't need to be controlled by law

  • in the netherlands cannabis isn't illegal and they have fewer drug problems 
  • laws in the past banning alcohol caused problems with organised crime
  • it should be the individuals  choice as it only affects an individuals body 
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Health problems caused by tobacco

  • it increases the risk of at least 50 medical conditions 
  • it causes cancers, heart disease and bronchitis 
  • in men it can cause impotence
  • in pregnacy babies have a lower birth weight, are weaker and don't develop normally
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health problems caused by alcohol

  • drinking heavily can lead to liver problems and some cancers 
  • it can lead to addiction 
  • 1 in 7 road deaths are caused by alcohol 
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health problems caused by drugs

  • physical health is effected by toxic effects of the drug 
  • can cause infections by dirty equiptment or can cause self harm 
  • heavy users can have psychiatric illnesses 
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social problema caused by tobacco

  • smokers families suffer watching their loved ones die 
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social problems caused by alcohol

  • it can ruin areas near clubs 
  • it can cause accidental deaths
  • it contributes to 70% of murder vitims 
  • 50% of those who commit sex crimes abuse alcohol 
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social problems caused by illegal drugs

  • drug dealers are criminals and it can cause violence between different gangs 
  • the high cost of maintaining a habbit lead to crime 
  • some users become violent under a drugs influence 
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Christian attitudes to drugs and alcohol


  • Jesus turned water into wine
  • st paul siad christians could drink in moderation
  • jesus used bread and wine at the last supper and told his diciples to carry on the traditions 
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Christian attitudes to drugs and alcohol


  • it is abusing God temple (our bodies)

your body is a temple of the holy spirit 

  • the Bible warns against drunkeness
  • the Bible says consumption of alcohol damages judgement, inflames passions and invites violence 
  • christians work with alcoholics and support them by refusing alcohol too 
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Islamic attitudes against drugs and alcohol


  • the qur'an says intoxicants are a means in which satan keeps people from God and from saying prayers 
  • muhammad (pbuh) said every intoxicant is forbidden to muslims 

intoxicants are an abomination

  • muslim lawyer say it is a formm of suicide because you are harming your body and suicide is forbidden
  • muhammad (pbuh) said several times muslims musn't drink alcohol or have anything to do with the sale or production of alcohol 


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