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Capital Punishment in the Bible, and Misinterpretation

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
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Submitted by Joe (United States), Mar 15, 2006 at 16:35

The Death Penalty and the Death warrants in exodus and the old testament are misunderstood, it is interesting that you forget the very first book--Genesis:

"And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;...a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him."

Genesis disallows capital punishment, where God forbids the killing of Cain the first murderer. Cain, although a murderer, cannot be killed, but is punished with extradition. Unlike within the Qur'an, capital punishment for even the specific of murder is not allowed. The Ten Commandments explicitly forbid killing, "Thou Shalt not kill", and these are reiterated in the very same Deuteronomy.

Death in the old testament is a very serious issue. Pre-165 BC Judaism there was no afterlife. In much of Judaism today there is NO afterlife. God created the earth and the body, and they were GOOD. Therefore, when you corrupted the body with sin, the punishment was Death. This punishment was carried out by God and by the world. People died because they sinned, Death was the punishment for sin, only memory of the individual lives on. It was not until the Book of Daniel do interpretations of a judgment after death and universal resurrection of the physical body come into play. Before Jesus Christ's blood sacrifice everyone went to She'ol, the bloodless pit. Jesus conquered death with his blood, and allowed judgement and penance.

Now perhaps these teachings were misinterpretted, because we all know that capital punishment did and does happen. The fact is, sinners kill themselves through their own sin. God's Commandments were commandments to His children. The ones you speak of are warnings.

Jeffery, you quote Jesus as affirming the laws of the preceding prophets. He did. However, did Jesus' example ever allow for murder or killing or capital punishment? Jesus actually stopped the stoning of Mary Magdeline. He stopped the fighting between his apostles and the guard sent after him. One of the main reasons of Rome's fall to the Barbarians was the pacifism of the Christians. Jesus never killed, nor allowed it. He taught only love. Jesus as the Savior and the ultimate example teaches us never to kill, regardless of past interpretations.

Plato teaches argumentum ad verecundiam. Do not believe always what someone preceding you has deduced, because it may be wrong. This is a logical fallacy. The Bible has been misinterpretted, but that doesn't mean that those misinterpretations are immutable. Unfortunately the Qur'an faces the problem of being immutable: its list of commands cannot be interpretted but only followed. Capital punishment is clearly in there, and is also furthered by Muhummad's own example.

To get back to the original point, the Qur'an does not compliment the Bible or Jesus' teachings, because it contradicts it. In your first message, the passage from the Qur'an on 3:45, I believe the messenger referred to is Muhummad, and not Jesus
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