The majority of Great Britain is Christian, since according to the 2011 census, 59.4% of the country claimed to be of Christian faith. However, there are mixed views on Christianity and capital punishment. Many Christians believe that the Bible supports the use of the death penalty as it clearly says in Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.” In addition to this, Jesus commands, “He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die”, in Matthew 15:4. Lastly, many argue that capital punishment sustains one of the commandments, ‘thou shalt not kill’ by acknowledging the significance murder and therefore punishing it with death. On the other hand, many Christians do not think that the argument encouraging capital punishment is strong enough as they argue that ‘thou shalt not kill’ has no exceptions. Furthermore, compassion and forgiveness are key beliefs a taught in the Bible as Jesus once told his followers that one should “Love thy neighbour”. To practice this, they believe that they must forgive the wrong-doings of others instead of taking away their lives.
In contrast to Christianity, Islam has only one view towards capital punishment and that is that it’s a fair and just method of punishing a murderer’s sins. In the Qur’an it states “Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by the way of justice and law.” In this quote Allah explains that Muslims must not take the lives of their fellow brothers and sisters except in the name of law and justice. There are a list of reasons why capital punishment can be used in Islam; intentional murder and Fasad fil-Ardh (spreading mischief in the land). As a result of these beliefs, an Islamic law, the Sharia law, is practiced in many countries, resulting in death of many murderers, homosexuals, rapists etc. In Saudi Arabia, criminals can be stoned, beheaded or even killed by a firing squad, as punishment. In 2010, there were 26 reported executions in the country. However, there have been many cases where innocent people have faced the death penalty, notably the case of Derek Bentley. Dying for no reason is atrocious and completely unjust.
If capital punishment is the way of justice, how could cases like these have happened? Finally, since many people have different views as to what they would like a punishment to achieve and what counts as a crime, capital punishment is a very debatable subject. Pro-life activists are against capital punishment as it does not give a chance for the criminal to redeem themselves. Many non-religious people argue that everyone deserves that killing someone would only act as a form of revenge, and not serve any good as opposed to the criminal actually bettering society e.g. community service.
All in all, there is never a right or wrong answer in whether capital punishment is correct as it all comes down to what morals one upholds. Different religions believe and practice different things and, therefore, have separate views on whether people should be killed for ‘crimes’ committed (sometimes more than one opinion per religion). Personally, I believe that we should bring the death penalty back to Britain. I agree with the fact that a murderer should get given exactly what they have done themselves – nothing less but also nothing more. Although many would say it is inhumane to use such a barbaric penalty, capital punishment acts as a deterrent; a severe crime needs a severe punishment. However, I believe that it absolutely essential the criminal is 100% guilty before execution.