Religious Studies 4

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  • Created on: 30-03-13 19:43

Crime and Punishment

Judgement - act of judging people and their actions

Capital Punishment - the death penalty for a crime or offence

Deterrence - the idea that punishments should be of such a nature that they will put people off (deter them from) committing crimes,

Rehabilitation - restore to normal life,

Retribution - the idea that punishments should make criminals pay for what they have done wrong,

Reform - the idea that punishments should try to change criminals so that they will not commit crimes again,

Addiction - a recurring compulsion to engage in an activity regardless of its bad effects,

Responsibility - being responsible for one's actions,

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Crime and Punishment

The need for Law and Justice

Sin - an act against the will of God

Crime - an act against your country's law

Crimes are not always sins; for example, Martin Luther King committed crimes in his civil disobedience campaign to gain civil rights for Black Americans in the 1960's.

Laws - rules made by parliament to protect the people

Justice - rewarding the good and punishing the bad and make sure that what happens in society is right

We need laws to protect people's human rights

It is important for laws to be just because then everyone will be treated fair and there will be equality; if it is unjust, they will feel its right to break the law; people will not obey it, will campaign against it causing trouble e.g. civil rights movement; it doesnt give justice, take the law into their own hands; may think all laws are unjust, have no purpose

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Crime and Punishment

Theories of Punishment

Retribution - the theory that criminals should pay for their crime; this makes the criminal pay for their crime in proportion to the severity of the crime they have committed; it makes criminals suffer for their wrong doing; it actually punishes the criminal, retribution makes the offender suffer for what they have done

Deterrence - the theory that punishment should put people off committing a crime; if someone knows they will have their hand cut off if they are caught stealing, they will not steal; if people know they will be executed if they are found guilty, they will not murder

Reform - the theory that criminals should be taught not to commit crime again; they believe the only way to stop crime is to reform the criminal so that they become honest law-abiding citizens who will not want to commit crimes; they believe that most criminals commit crimes because of how they have been brought up; reformative punishments often involve giving criminals education and qualifications to find a proper job

Protection - the theory that punishment should protect society from criminals and their activities; capital punishment is a good punishment for murderers and terrorists because if they are dead, they cannot threaten people; long prison sentences are good for violent people or persistent burglars as they keep them out of society; community service is good for hooligans and vandals as it keeps them off the street

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Crime and Punishment

Why Justice is important for Christians

  • God is a "God of Justice",
  • People should be treated fairly and not cheated (the Golden Rule),
  • People should be treated equally,
  • The rich should share with the poor,
  • For Christians, Social Justice is a responsibility,
  • "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven",
  • "Forgive 77x7 times",
  • God is a righteous God, the bad will be punished and the good will be rewarded,

Weak and vulnerable are oppressed and the strong and powerful don't take advantage - Social Justice

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Crime and Punishment

Why Justice is important for Islam

  • Justice is for all, everyone should put Justice first, even before their family,
  • Allah is merciful to those who seek his forgiveness,
  • Justice is a central part of Allah's character - "My Lord hath commanded Justice",
  • Muslims should act against injustice. However, for a victim to forgive a persons injustice is far better,
  • Zakat - compulsory payment to the poor 2.5%
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Crime and Punishment

The nature of Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment - the death penalty for a crime or offence

In the UK, the death penalty was formerly abolished with the "Murder (Abolition of the Death Penalty) Act 1965". In 1999, Britain signed the "European Convention on Human Rights" which stated the death penalty could not be reintroduced.

The death penalty is still legal in many countries including the USA (37 of the 50 states), Iran, Libya, Rwanda and North Korea plus 65 other countries worldwide. Modern methods of capital punishment include:

  • Lethal Injection,
  • Electric Chair,
  • Gas Chamber,
  • Beheading (not carried out in the USA),
  • Firing Squad,
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Crime and Punishment

Secular Attitudes to Capital Punishment

  • The death penalty acts as a deterrent,
  • Society can be free of its most dangerous people,
  • The value of human life is made clear by executing those who kill,
  • Execution is the ultimate retribution and compensation for killing others,
  • It helps bring satisfaction and closure to victims families,
  • It is cheaper than keeping a prisoner in prison for life,


  • Capital crimes do not seem to drop in countries with the death penalty,
  • There have been many occasions of innocent people wrongly executed,
  • People facing the death penalty will be more likely to kill to avoid capture,
  • Terrorists who are executed could end up as martyrs encouraging others,
  • Human life is important and should not be taken in any circumstances,
  • Execution can be seen as an easier sentence than imprisonment,
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Crime and Punishment

Christian Attitudes towards Capital Punishment

  • The Bible sets down the death penalty as the punishment for a number of crimes, it is allowed by God,
  • The Christian Church itself used capital punishment in the past for the crime of heresy. This means that it cannot be un-christian,
  • The Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England have not retracted their statements which permit the state to use capital punishment,
  • Christian thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas argued that punishment in Christianity should reform the sinner and secure peace for society,


  • Christianity is based on the belief that Jesus came to save sinners,
  • Jesus banned retribution when he said that an "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" is wrong,
  • Christianity teaches that human life is sacred and that only God has the right to take it,
  • Most of the Christian churches have condemned capital punishment, 
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Crime and Punishment

Islam Attitudes to Capital Punishment

  • It is a punishment set down by Allah in the Qu'ran and Muslims believe that the Qu'ran is the word of God,
  • Muhammad made several statements agreeing with capital punishment for murder, adultery and apostasy and Muslims believe Muhammad is the seal of prophets,
  • Muhammad sentenced people to death for murder when he was ruler of Madinah and Muslims believe Muhammad is the final examplar,
  • The Shari'ah says that capital punishment is the punishment for murder, adultery and apostasy,


  • They feel that capital punishment is recommended by the Qu'ran, but isn't compulsory,
  • The Shari'ah says that the family of a murder victim can accept blood money from the murderer rather than requiring the death sentence,
  • They agree with non-religious arguments against capital punishment,
  • Allah will judge each person individually on the Last Day,
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Crime and Punishment

Law on Drugs and Alcohol

Tobacco - it is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of eighteen; all tobacco packs must have large, hard-hitting health warnings, include shocking pictures and warnings on the effect of smoking; all adverts for tobacco products are banned; it is against the law to smoke in all indoor public places; you can be prosecuted for smoking whilst driving/ given a £50 fine for dropping a cigarette end,

Alcohol - it is illegal to give an alcoholic drink to a child under five; children under sixteen can go anywhere in a pub as long as they are supervised by an adult; young people aged sixteen and seventeen can drink alcoholic beverages with a meal, if it is bought by an adult and are accompanied by an adult; it is against the law for anyone under eighteen to buy alcohol; some cities and towns have local by-laws banning drinking alcohol in public,

Illegal Drugs - Class A drugs: Ecstasy, LSD, Heroin, Cocaine etc... When in possession, up to 7 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine, when caught dealing, up to life in prison; Class B drugs: Amphetamines, Cannabi Ritalin etc... When in possession, up to 5 years in prison or an unlimited fine, when caught dealing, 14 years in prison; Class C drugs: Painkillers, Ketamine, Tranquilisers etc... When in possession, 2 years in prison or an unlimited fine, when caught dealing, 14 years imprisonment,

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Crime and Punishment

Health and Social Problems

Tobacco - increases the risk of at least 50 medical conditions including dementia; some conditions that can be caused are cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke etc...; in men, smoking can also cause impotence as it limits blood supply to the penis and affects mens fertility; smoking during pregnancy can increase chances of complications during pregnancy; social problems - mainly related to families who have to watch their loved ones die,

Alcohol - your liver and body can usually cope with drinking a small amount of alcohol but you do have an increased risk of developing serious liver problems, mental health problems, heart disease, obesity, some cancers, addiction etc...; social problems - alcohol is responsible for numerous crimes and fatalities (41% falls, 30% drowning, 25% boating deaths, 45-55% fire deaths); 55-75% murder victims and 40% **** offenders had been drinking,

Drugs - physical health of users can be damaged by the toxic effects of a drug, dependence or the way it is used; many deaths are caused by bacterial or viral infections - liver/cardiovascular disease/self harm; heavy users may have psychiatric illnesses; social problems - drugs are illegal, leads to violence, very expensive, life of crime etc...

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Crime and Punishment

Christian Attitudes to Drugs and Alcohol

  • Jesus' first miracle was changing water into wine,
  • St Paul said Christians could drink in moderation,
  • Jesus drank wine during his life and even at his death,
  • Most churches use wine in the Communion service, so they must be allowed to drink in moderation,


  • It is against the law and Christians obey just laws,
  • St Paul teaches that your body is a temple which should not be abused,
  • Drugs have mental effects that would make it hard to worship God correctly,
  • Passages in the Bible warm against drunknness, as such they abstain completely from alcohol,
  • The Bible teaches that alcohol impairs judgement, inflames passions and invites violence,
  • Many Christians work with alcoholics and know how much it helps in social situations to be supported by others who do not drink,
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Crime and Punishment

Islam Attitudes to Drugs and Alcohol

  • The Qu'ran says intoxicants are how the devil tries to keep people from God,
  • Prophet Muhammad says intoxicants are "khamr" and every "khamr" is forbidden to Muslims,
  • Prophet Muhammad said "Do not harm yourselves or other" and some think this means alcohol and drugs are banned as they harm the body,
  • Prophet Muhammad said a number of times that Muslims should not drink alcohol or have anything to do with making or selling it,
  • Tobacco is not specifically mentioned by the Qu'ran or the Prophet Muhammad,
  • Some see Tobacco as haram as it harms the body but Muslim lawyers have declared it as makruh (not haram but extremely disliked)
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