• Created by: meep01
  • Created on: 31-01-19 14:56

Christian attitudes to forgiveness

‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who trespass against us.’

Jesus said we should forgive 77 times (so our forgiveness should be unlimited)

‘Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing’ (Jesus said this on the cross)

Case study: Anthony Walker

Killed by 2 boys at a bus stop in a racially motivated attack

His Christian mother forgave the two killers saying that 'We expect to be forgiven so we should forgive', 'unpack the heavy bag of anger, resentment bitterness and revenge' and it is far harder to carry resentment and anger around with you so you should just forgive.

In contrast, Millie Dowler's mother said:

'The family has been on trial just as much as the criminal has', 'the family's life was scrutinized by the press' and 'Millie was portrayed as a depreseed girl in the news' meaning the damage of the event would never pass and it would be harder to move on -  'I hope his life is living hell'

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Crime - an action or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable by law

Punishment - the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offence

Evil - profoundly immoral, wicked

Freewill - the ability to act at one's own discretion

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Religious attitudes to suffering (Christian)

Christian attitudes to suffering -

  • Believe they should try and help others who are suffering
  • Follow the example of Jesus who helped many whom he saw were suffering and encouraged all Christians to do the same
  • For people who question why a loving God would allow his people to suffer, Christians say it would be wrong to blame God for actions of killers
  • Satan is behind evil. If you resist the temptations of Satan, God will reward you, it is a test of loyalty (Story of Job). God gave free will to humanity to behave as it chooses. If they follow the example of Jesus and teach the teachings of God they will have made good choices that don't harm others (the teachings of Jesus give guidance to help Christians use their free will responsibly). Don't be like Adam/Eve and take Satan's apple

'We are never really happy until we try to brighten the lives of others' - Helen Keller

'We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, character and hope' - Paul (Who suffered at the hands of the Roman authorities)

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Religious attitudes to suffering (Muslim)

Muslim attitudes to suffering

  • God is aware of all types of suffering and allows suffering to happen, usually for a reason unknown/too complicated for humans but which may be beneficial to them
  • Considered a test from God to see how faithful a person is
  • God could allow suffering greater than a person could endure - In times of suffering, it is Gods will that they live through it
  • Hope and faith can help believers endure suffering
  • People may ask why a loving God allows people to suffer, Muslims say it would be wrong to blame God for actions of killers 
  • God gave humanity free will, it is their decision how they behave with it. If they choose to follow the example and teachings of Mahummed + Quaran and make good choices that don't harm others

'You are sure to be tested through your possessions and persons; you are sure to hear much that is hurtful...if you are steadfast and mindful of God, that is the best course'

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Christian attitudes to causing suffering to others

  • Love thy neighbour
  • Opposed to causing others to suffer - Jesus taught that humans should love each other and care for those in trouble. He also spoke out against using violence in self-defence because of further suffering retaliation causes 
  • No human is perfect, it is inevitable that Christians may be the cause of suffering often by accident or because they are troubled - "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." said Jesus upon sighting and adultress being stoned. No one threw a stone
  • It is more important that Christians who caused suffering are honest to themselves, to other people and to God and work at repairing the damage they have caused. 

'One of the [disciples] struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear but Jesus answered 'No more of this!' and he touched the man's ear and healed him' - Luke

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Muslim attitudes to causing suffering to others

  • Against the teachings of Islam
  • Muslims share identity with all other Muslims within the worldwide community of Muslims (ummah) caring and providing for brothers and sisters in need
  • Where there is suffering, try to alleviate it 
  • No human is perfect and it is inevitable that a Muslim may be the cause of suffering, whether it by accident or on purpose 
  • Muslims believe that there are many temptations/tests in life
  • If a Muslim causes suffering, they must be honest with themselves, those around them and God and repair the damage they have caused. This way relationships can be restored

'Be compassionate towards others and the destitute' - Hadith

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Muslim attitudes to forgiveness

God is most forgiving and merciful’

‘Pardon each other’s faults and God will grant you honour’

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Christian attitudes to lawbreakers and different c

Parable of Sheep and Goats - prisoners should be treated well ‘For I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 

Against murder and hate crimes 

‘Love thy neighbour’ 

The Golden Rule - treat others as you wish to be treated

‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, make nor female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ.’

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Muslim attitudes to lawbreakers and different crim

God commands justice...and prohibits wrongdoing and injustice

All aspects of a Muslim's life are governed by Sharia. Sharia law comes from a combination of sources including the Qur'an (the Muslim holy book), the Hadith (sayings and conduct of the prophet Muhammad) and fatwas (the rulings of Islamic scholars).

Many people, including Muslims, misunderstand Sharia. It's often associated with the amputation of limbs, death by stoning, lashes and other medieval punishments. Because of this, it is sometimes thought of as draconian. Some people in the West view Sharia as archaic and unfair social ideas that are imposed upon people who live in Sharia-controlled countires.

Many Muslims, however, hold a different view. In the Islamic tradition Sharia is seen as something that nurtures humanity. They see the Sharia not in the light of something primitive but as something divinely revealed. In a society where social problems are endemic, Sharia frees humanity to realise its individual potential.

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Reasons for committing crime

  • Upbringing - Child may be influenced by peers or parents whom may commit crimes, It is hard to escape a life of crime once in it. Peer pressure
  • Mental illness - Kleptomania causes people to steal. Many people never attend their own trial because they are too mentally unfit
  • Poverty - Can't afford necessities or can't live off welfare money - resort to stealing essentials
  • Greed/Hate - Getting back at society. Want wealth. Usually theft or fraud
  • Addiction/Dependancy - Body can't cope without drugs. Paranoyer. Steal to purchase drugs. Most crime - Alcohol
  • Opposition to unfair law - Rosa Parks, Segregation law 

Religious views:

Christian - Pope Francis said helping the poor is at the heart of the gospels. Christians should give money to support charities helping the poor otherwise they do not have genuine faith. 

Muslim - 'Be compassionate towards the destitute’

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Aims of punishment

Reformation - The offender needs to realise their behaviour is wrong before they can hope to be reformed. Involves group therapy, counselling, work experience placements or meeting with the victim to apologise. It is hoped they will become law-abiding citizens. 

Retribution - Punishment should make the criminal pay for what they have done wrong. Justice, society + victim getting revenge. Involves prison and in some cases capital punishment.

Detterance - Should put criminal off recommitting and show others who may do the same the consequences. Severe.

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Muslim attitudes to aims of punishment

Muslims believe in justice and therefore believe that criminals should be treated justly and be given the chance to reform. One of the Five Pillars of Islam is zakah, which requires all Muslims to give away a percentage of their wealth to help the poor, to ensure a level of justice and equality. This principle should be applied to the treatment of criminals.

However, some very harsh punishments are given in the Qur'an and Hadith, and some Muslims believe that appropriate retaliation should be carried out against those whose guilt is proven. Traditional Shari'ah Law, for example, suggests that those who steal should have a hand cut off, although such a harsh penalty would only be justified for the most serious crimes and only after trial in a Shari'ah court.

So Muslims support reformation, retribution (In extreme cases) and deterrance 

‘A life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose’

'cut off the hands of theives'

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Christian attitudes to the aims of punishment

Most Christians do not support the idea of retribution but would support the other main aims of punishment. Christians believe that laws need to be upheld (the idea of vindication). They also believe in crime prevention and the need to work toward removing the causes of crime, which may include poverty, unemployment and bad social conditions. The most important aim of punishment is to reform criminals and to help them become law-abiding citizens. Most Christians believe that offenders should repent their wrongdoing and receive both punishment and forgiveness, so that once the penalty is paid, they have a second chance and can start afresh. Helping someone who has repented and is determined to change is a priority and this is often achieved by reparation.

 ‘you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth’

‘do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good’

'turn the other cheek'

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Why do we have laws?

  • To prevent people from living in fear
  • To protect our basic human rights
  • To give justice to people
  • To protect the innocent in society
  • So people can work without others taking away the rewards of their work
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Death penalty/Capital punishment

'The legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime.' It is both retribution and deterrent

Case study: Troy Davis

Since 19, Troy Davis was on death row in Georgia, USA, for a murder he insists he did not commit.

He was convicted of murdering a policeman in 1991 but there is no physical evidence linking him to the crime and 7 out of 9 witnesses, on whose evidence he was convicted have changed their testimony. At the trial Troy admitted being at the scene but has always maintained his innocence. 

Capital punishment aims to protect society, deter others from committing crime, and compensate the victims of the crime.

Capital punishment is illegal in the UK. It was abolished for murder in 1965 and abolished for all crimes in 1998. In 2004 the UK agreed not to restore the death penalty for as long as it is part of the European Convention.

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Capital punishment for and against

For - 

  • 64% of Americans support the death penalty, must be supported for a reason
  • Saves costly prison prices 
  • Deterrence
  • Victim's family get justice
  • The criminal will never commit again

Against - 

  • The wrong person can easily be killed (Derek Bentley and Troy Davies)
  • A tricky process which takes a long time to get through
  • There may have been hope of reforming the criminal and making them a productive member of society
  • Old fashioned and racist - 15% of people executed were white 
  • Even when 10 people had pointed out a killer, in one case, the 'criminal' was still killed
  • 2 wrongs don't make a right
  • The killer of the murderer is now a murderer and has this on their conscience
  • Can't give a life back
  • Forgive
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Attitudes to treatment of criminals (Christian)

Christian attitudes to...

Prison: Believe prisoners should be treated with dignity and respect in prison.

Conditions should be humane and civilised. 

Prison should give them opportunities to reform - offering counselling, training and education.

There should be positive activities. 

Corporal punishment (death penalty): 

Most Christians do not support corporal punishment

It does not reform

It causes harm and injury and is a negative punishment. 

Community service:

Christians agree with community service for offenders who will benefit from it. 

It allows for them to make up for what they have done wrong (reparation)

It deters them for committing crimes again by making them realise the consequences of their actions. 

It causes no harm to the offender unlike corporal punishment. 

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Attitudes to treatment of criminals (Muslim)

Muslim attitudes to...

Prison: In Muslim countries it is used less for punishment and more as a place to keep people awaiting trial or punishment (caning or death). 

Some Muslims say prison may be a greater penalty than inflicting pain through corporal punishment. 

Corporal punishment (death penalty): Used in some Muslim countries

Carried out in public as a deterrent. 

In Shariah law it is allowed for gambling, adultery, drinking alcohol (80 lashes)

Community service: Shariah law doesn’t really use Community service - not seen as enough of a deterrent to protect society in the future. 

Where crimes are committed against the community (Ta’azir crimes) the offender may be fined or send to a rehabilitation centre. 

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