Yesterday I said that I would continue my thoughts and show how Scripture presents a much different way of viewing the world than a pragmatist world view (see 1/2/07 post). I think that the best way for me to do this is to continue on the same subject matter, capital punishment, as yesterday’s post. Scripture is not silent on the issue of capital punishment.
If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death.
With regard to this verse, and how it relates to pragmatism Warren Wiersbe has put in well:
“Whether or not capital punishment affects the crime statistics isn’t the main issue. It’s doubtful that any of our laws are really deterrents to crime. Careless drivers still speed, people still park their cars in “no parking” zones, wage earners still cheat on their income tax, and burglars still steal. But would any of us want our legislatures to repeal the laws against speeding, parking illegally, falsifying one’s income tax, or stealing? Of course not! Respect for truth, life, and property are cornerstones of a just and peaceful society. Capital punishment may not decrease the number of murders any more than speeding tickets decrease the number of speeders, but it does declare that humans are made in the image of God and that life is a sacred gift.
The Bible doesn’t present capital punishment as a “cure-all” for crime. It presents it as a form of punishment that shows respect for law, for life, and for humans made in the image of God. To take a pragmatic or sentimental approach to the subject is to miss the point completely.”1
As Christians we have a responsibility to be concerned with truth and justice. When we uphold these truths we are reflecting the gloriously true and just character of God. When we dismiss truth and justice in favor of pragmatism we are supressing absolute truth and attempting to steal God’s glory.
With respect to the hanging of Saddam it should not be a matter of what the profit is, but rather that Saddam killed tens of thousands of human beings made in the image of God. By choosing to rebel against God, and murder, Saddam brought his judgment upon himself. Unfortunately Saddam’s hanging was only the beginning of his judgment.
1.Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Holy, “Becoming ‘set apart’ for God”–Cover.; “An Old Testament study–Leviticus”–Cover., Le 24:10 (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996, c1994).