Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Into statistics? Curious what everyone else thinks? Then start a poll here.

Do you support or oppose capital punishment, and what is your theism viewpoint?

I believe that God or gods exist, and I SUPPORT capital punishment in at least some circumstances.
2
9%
I am entirely uncertain about the existence of God (or gods), and I SUPPORT capital punishment in at least some circumstances.
3
14%
I do NOT believe that any gods exist, and I SUPPORT capital punishment in at least some circumstances.
4
18%
I believe that God or gods exists, and I OPPOSE capital punishment in all circumstances.
4
18%
I am entirely uncertain about the existence of God (or gods), and I OPPOSE capital punishment in all circumstances.
0
No votes
I do NOT believe that any gods exist, and I OPPOSE capital punishment in all circumstances.
9
41%
I believe that God or gods exists, and I have no opinion about capital punishment.
0
No votes
I am entirely uncertain about the existence of God (or gods), and I have no opinion about capital punishment.
0
No votes
I do NOT believe that any gods exist, and I have no opinion about capital punishment.
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 22

Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby NH Baritone » Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:41 pm

I consider it odd that, for at least some crimes, polls have shown consistent support among conservative American Protestants (the Christian Right) for capital punishment. The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has in recent decades opposed capital punishment, which they view as consistent with their stances on abortion and euthanasia. But their Protestant brethren have seen no conflict between opposing abortion and endorsing the death penalty.

Atheists, in their more pragmatic and dialectic approach to ethics, are all over the map, but many who embrace a humanist stance are less likely to support the death penalty. Count me among them.

I'm curious how the C&A forum users match up on this issue. Cast your vote and feel free to state the reason for your stance in the discussion.
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Re: Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby Pseudonym » Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:50 pm

NH Baritone wrote:I consider it odd that, for at least some crimes, polls have shown consistent support among conservative American Protestants (the Christian Right) for capital punishment.


OK, hold on there a minute. "American Protestants" is not a synonym for "the Christian Right". Non-Christian-right Protestants (e.g. Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, American Baptists, Lutherans) easily outnumber the "Christian Right", and all either oppose or seriously question capital punishment.

And, of course, support for capital punishment is pretty much unknown in the overwhelming majority of Protestant denominations outside the United States.
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Re: Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby NH Baritone » Mon Dec 01, 2008 6:21 am

Pseudonym wrote:
NH Baritone wrote:I consider it odd that, for at least some crimes, polls have shown consistent support among conservative American Protestants (the Christian Right) for capital punishment.


OK, hold on there a minute. "American Protestants" is not a synonym for "the Christian Right". Non-Christian-right Protestants (e.g. Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, American Baptists, Lutherans) easily outnumber the "Christian Right", and all either oppose or seriously question capital punishment.

And, of course, support for capital punishment is pretty much unknown in the overwhelming majority of Protestant denominations outside the United States.

Full quote: "conservative American Protestants (the Christian Right)."

Pew Forum wrote:Image
White evangelical Protestants support the death penalty at slightly higher rates than do white mainline Protestants (74% to 68%), while about half (51%) of black Protestants oppose it. Among white non-Hispanic Catholics, 66% support capital punishment, but support is significantly lower among weekly attending white Catholics (55%) than among those who attend church less often (73%).


Are you running for office or something? It was a McCain-Palin tactic to take words out of context so they could feign offense.
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Re: Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby OzAnt » Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:13 am

I don't oppose capital punishment (even though I was born and live in a country that doesn't allow it); and it's my atheistic stance that drives my viewpoint here. Quite simply, I see us as getting one crack at life (ie: no afterlife). Now, why let somebody live that enjoys killing? Why risk somebody else's one and only chance at life, by allowing killers back into society after they've cold bloodedly taken another life (and hopefully served a prison term for it)?

For instance, Martin Bryant (here in my home state of Tasmania), picked up a firearm or three one day and decided to see how many people he could cap in Port Arthur. He's unlikely to kill again, given he's serving 35 life sentences + a further 1,035 years, so chances are he's not ever getting out of gaol. My question is, why keep him alive? It's a waste of money and resources. More importantly, it sends the wrong message to other people that might wanna be remembered in history in the same way. I mean, there's no god for him to become truly repentant to (and I can't see any cold blooded killer becoming genuinely repentant, ever), so what reason does he or other cold blooded human life extinguishers have to draw breath?

NOTE: Cold-blooded killers are not to be confused with "in a heat of passion" or "self defence" type killers. That said, I'm pretty confident that if capital punishment existed for all "in a heat of passion" type murders, people might not get so passionate whilst holding a gun or a knife or whatever.

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Re: Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby Pseudonym » Mon Dec 01, 2008 2:02 pm

NH Baritone wrote:Full quote: "conservative American Protestants (the Christian Right)."


I owe you all an apology. I completely missed that word, and it does indeed change the whole thing.

Serves me right for skimming.
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Re: Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby Pseudonym » Mon Dec 01, 2008 2:05 pm

OzAnt wrote:For instance, Martin Bryant (here in my home state of Tasmania), picked up a firearm or three one day and decided to see how many people he could cap in Port Arthur. He's unlikely to kill again, given he's serving 35 life sentences + a further 1,035 years, so chances are he's not ever getting out of gaol.


For those unaware of the story: He was a schizophrenic who, when his carer died, stopped taking his medication.

This, obviously, also affects sentencing. He's clearly a danger to himself and others, and so he's never going to see the outside world again, but what he primarily needs is treatment, not punishment.
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Re: Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby OzAnt » Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:17 pm

Pseudonym wrote:For those unaware of the story: He was a schizophrenic who, when his carer died, stopped taking his medication.
I just wikipediaed him, and there's no mention of his carer dying. There's mention of a rich ol' bird that befriended him and then, when she died (leaving him the sole beneficiary of her fortune), his mum went on to win a case to have his assets put under the management of trustees. Reasons cited for his killing rampage do not mention a carer, or the lack of one.

Pseudonym wrote:This, obviously, also affects sentencing. He's clearly a danger to himself and others, and so he's never going to see the outside world again, but what he primarily needs is treatment, not punishment.
And he's getting treatment. He's now out of prison and at the Wilfred Lopes Centre. However, the phrase "getting treatment" is such a hollow one in this case. I mean, no one's ever going to say, "oh, he's better now and fit to live in society" (at least I hope not), so what the point of his treatment is, I have no idea. I mean, without a doubt, he's mentally wired up wrong. And, equally, without a doubt, currently we have no way to fix this.

So, put him out of his misery I say, and send the right message to others contemplating being remembered in history for all the wrong reasons.

Ant
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Re: Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby OzAnt » Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:09 pm

Okay, I've put some more thought into this, and whilst I'm still pro capital punishment, I have thought of a mechanism that I would be happy to swap it for; permanent blindness.

Lemmee explain... I've argued for many years that I wouldn't be happy, that is to say, I wouldn't get any satisfaction, from seeing somebody die as punishment for them killing one of my loved ones. Whilst I always felt that there would be some solace in the notion that he/she wouldn't be able to kill again, it wouldn't actually assuage my loss. What I've flippantly argued here is that I would take their kneecaps and elbows out with an aluminium baseball bat. That way they could actually suffer. And it's not the fleeting pain of a baseball bat applied to an elbow or knee joint. I believe my loss would be softened somewhat by the knowledge that every time they had to climb a stair or get up from the couch or start a lawn mower or lift a box, etc; they would remember that their suffering was a direct result of the life that they took.

So, instead of capital punishment, I would be happy with blinding them. It's more humane than baseball bat therapy and it's also much more effective at stopping 'em from re-offending. Yeah, that works for me, I think. I mean, if they truly are a psychopath, I know they're never going to feel sorry for what they did. So, how 'bout they feel sorry for 'emselves instead? More importantly, without eyes, I can't see 'em (bad pun, I know) offending again. So, there's potentially a whole bunch of lives saved right there. And it would seriously reduce prison loads. Finally, plenty of blind people lead wholesome lives, so why not they?

Ant
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Re: Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby NH Baritone » Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:47 am

Pseudonym wrote:
NH Baritone wrote:Full quote: "conservative American Protestants (the Christian Right)."


I owe you all an apology. I completely missed that word, and it does indeed change the whole thing.

Serves me right for skimming.

Apology willingly accepted.
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Re: Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby Pseudonym » Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:32 pm

OzAnt wrote:I just wikipediaed him, and there's no mention of his carer dying. There's mention of a rich ol' bird that befriended him and then, when she died (leaving him the sole beneficiary of her fortune), his mum went on to win a case to have his assets put under the management of trustees. Reasons cited for his killing rampage do not mention a carer, or the lack of one.


Right. I must have misheard at the time, or possibly it was misreported.

The point is, that the guy was, and still is, severely mentally retarded and quite ill. I believe that he absolutely should not, under any circumstances whatsoever, see the outside world again, but killing him would be barbaric.

OzAnt wrote:However, the phrase "getting treatment" is such a hollow one in this case. I mean, no one's ever going to say, "oh, he's better now and fit to live in society" (at least I hope not), so what the point of his treatment is, I have no idea.


The point is that we are a humane society. If he had some kind of painful physical injury, we would not let it go untreated. Why should it be any different just because the painful illness is mental?
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Re: Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby NickCamp » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:19 pm

It's not directly related to capital punishment, but I believe that our prisons should not have cable, weight lifting stations, basketball courts or any form of entertainment. I believe that prisoners should be working under supervision on projects that need to be done around the city, such as picking up trash and feeding the homeless, which would allow growth and maturity for their return to society.
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Re: Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby mitchellmckain » Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:46 pm

NickCamp wrote:It's not directly related to capital punishment, but I believe that our prisons should not have cable, weight lifting stations, basketball courts or any form of entertainment. I believe that prisoners should be working under supervision on projects that need to be done around the city, such as picking up trash and feeding the homeless, which would allow growth and maturity for their return to society.


Ahhhh! So your idea is to maximize both the motivation and opportunities for prison escapes.
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Re: Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby Dr Mundo » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:41 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:
NickCamp wrote:It's not directly related to capital punishment, but I believe that our prisons should not have cable, weight lifting stations, basketball courts or any form of entertainment. I believe that prisoners should be working under supervision on projects that need to be done around the city, such as picking up trash and feeding the homeless, which would allow growth and maturity for their return to society.


Ahhhh! So your idea is to maximize both the motivation and opportunities for prison escapes.

Somehow I think that his idea is to help prisoners better prepare themselves for a return to society by doing projects that would help the community instead of just soaking up taxpayer dollars.

Do you honestly think that this condescending attitude makes you look like an internet tough guy? I would bet that he would advocate for the security measures sufficient to MINIMIZE the opportunities to escape while at the same time having community service work done in areas that need attention. Grow up man.
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Re: Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby spongebob » Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:18 am

There are already numerous programs that do exactly what Nick is advocating. Of course the prisoners must qualify for these programs through trustworthy behavior and their crimes and sentences must be compatible. Not every prisoner is a candidate for this.

But regarding the other activities prisoners engage in behind bars, the presence of activities greatly reduces prison violence. Prisoners get extremely bored and this tends to manifest itself in violence. The only other deterrence is solitary confinement, which is considered inhumane for long periods and would take up enormous space if everyone in prison were kept this way. People who complain that prison life is easy really know nothing about it.
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Re: Theism, Atheism, and Capital Punishment

Postby mitchellmckain » Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:21 pm

Dr Mundo wrote:Grow up man.

I think you mean, "get a lobotomy." That is the only way I am going to reach your level of kindergarten mentality.
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