Religious Attitudes to Crime and Punishment

GCSE Religious Attitudes to Crime and Punishment

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  • Created by: Mel
  • Created on: 22-05-12 19:15

Sin and Crime

A sin is when you break God's law 

  • Murder 
  • Lying 
  • Adultery 
  • Stealing 
  • Sex before marriage 
  • Jealousy 

A crime is when you break a law of the land 

  • Murder 
  • Stealing 
  • Bigamy 
  • **** 
  • Speeding when driving 
  • Fraud
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Aims of Punishment

Christians believe that the only aim of punishment should be reformation.

  • Reformation - To change someone's behaviour for the better 
  • Retribution - To 'get your own back' on the criminal, based on the Old Testament teaching of 'an eye for an eye'
  • Deterrence - To put people off committing crimes
  • Protection - To stop the criminal hurting anyone in society 
  • Vindication - Offenders must be punished to show that the law must be respected and is right
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Capital Punishment

Capital punishment is a form of punishment in which a prisoner is put to death for crimes committed, it is also known as the death penalty. 

Arguments For Capital Punishment 

  • Protects society as criminals will not be able to reoffend 
  • Acts as a deterrence, people will not commit crimes if they know it will cost them their life 

Arguments Against Capital Punishment 

  • Jesus teaches that you must forgive
  • It goes against the sanctuary of life 
  • It is not a deterrent, capital punishment is legal in America and crimes have increased 
  • If accused is proven innocent later, an innocent person is killed for no reason 
  • The family of the criminal suffers 
  • Two wrongs do not make a right, if a person is punished by being murdered then they will think that it is fine for every situation
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Christian Attitudes to Crime and Punishment


  • Christians are taught to forgive no matter what someone has done to us 
  • We should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us 
  • Forgiveness is when we stop blaming or being angry with people when they do wrong 
  • If we want to be forgiven for our mistakes we should forgive others for theirs 


  • Christians should not seek retribution but pray for them to reform 
  • Life is a gift from God and no has the right to take it except God 
  • Life is precious and we are no better than the criminal if we kill them
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Story of the Lost Son

Luke 15:11-32 

There once was a man with 2 sons. The younger son said to his father one day, "father, let me have the share the estate that will come to me", so the father divided the property and gave the younger son his share. The younger son left with the money and wasted it on reckless living until he had none left. He went to work in a farm to fill the pigs and he wished to eat what the pigs had but no one gave him anything. One day he came to his senses and said, "how many of my father's hired men have all the food they want and more, and here I am dying of hunger. I will leave this place and go to my father and say, 'father I have sinned against heaven and against you, I no longer deserve to be called your son, treat me as one of your hired men'" and he left. When his father saw him he was moved with pity, he ran to the boy, clasped him in his arm and kissed him and said to his servants, "Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger, sandals on his feet, bring the calf we have been fattening and kill it. We will celebrate by having a feast, because this son of mine was dead and he has come back to life. He was lost and he's found." And they began to celebrate. The elder son was out in the fields, he heard music and he asked one of the servants what it was all about. "Your brother has come and your father has killed the calf we have been fattening because he's got him back safe and sound." He was angry then, and refused to go in. He retorted to his father, "All these years I have slaved for you and never once have I disobeyed you and yet you have never offered me so much as a kid." The father replied, "Son, you are always with me an all I have is yours, we have to celebrate as your brother was dead but now alive, he was lost but now found."

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Teaching on Forgiveness

Matthew 18:21-22 

Peter asked Jesus, "Lord, when my fellow believer sins against me, how many times must I forgive him? Should I forgive him as many as seven times?". Jesus replied, "I tell you, you must forgive him more than seven times. You must forgive him even if he wrongs you seventy seven times seven times." 

Jesus teaches that we should keep forgiving no matter what the other person has done, no matter how many times they have done it. 

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Turn the Other Cheek

Matthew 5:38-42 

Jesus says, "You have hears that it was said, 'eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth', but I tell you, don't resist an evil person, if someone strikes you on the right cheeck turn to him the other also. If someone wants to sue you and take your shirt let him have your coat as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." 

Jesus teaches that the old testament teaching on retribution is wrong. We are shown that if someone wrongs us we should not fight back and get revenge, but to forgive them and pray that they reform.

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P E R D P R V S C A C P C L O 

Punishment Entails Retribution Deterrence Protection Reformation Vindication, Some Christians Accept Capital Punishment, Catholic's Last Option

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Lottie :)


This will be really helpful for my test next week thanks very much! :)



It was good...but not the whole spec :/

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