Religion, crime and punishment


7.1 Crime and punishment

Crime: an offence which is punishable by law, for example stealing, murder.

Punishment: something legally done to somebody as a result of being found guilty of breaking the law.

Evil: the opposite of good; a force or the personification of a negative power that is seen in many traditions as destructive and against God.

"You have heard it was said to the people long ago, 'You shall not murder', and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment." - Matthew 5:21-11

 7.2 Reasons for crime

Poverty: being without money, food or basic needs of life (being poor).

Mental illness: a medical condition that affects a person's feelings, emotions or moods, and perhaps their ability to relate to others.

Addiction: physical or mental dependency on a substance or activity whic is very difficult to overcome.

Greed: wanting to possess wealth, goods or items of value which are not needed.

"Focusing on poverty and sacrificing for the poor are the heart of the gospel. If Christians don't dig deep and generously open up their wallets, they do not have genuine faith." - Pope Francis 

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established." - Romans 13:1

7.3 Christian attitudes to lawbreakers and different types of crime

Hate crime: crimes, often including violence, that are usually targeted at a person because of their race, religion, sexuality, disability or gender.

"Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For ... I was in prison and you came to visit me." - Matthew 25:34-36

"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." - Galatians 3:28

7.4 Three aims of punishment

Retribution: an aim of punishment - to get your own back; 'an eye for an eye'.

Detterence: an aim of punishment - to put people off committing crimes.

Reformation: an aim of punishment - to change someone's behaviour for the better.

"If there


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