When turning on the television, radio, or simply opening the local newspaper, one is bombarded with news of murders, homicides, serial killers, and other such tragedies. It is a rare occasion to go through a day in this world and not hear of these things. So what should be done about this crime wave?. Today, there is a big controversy over the death penalty, whether it is morally right or wrong. We, as human beings, have a certain privilege on our own lives, but do the lives of others belong to us as well?. Do we have the right to decide the kind of lives others can or cannot live?. In the United States and in some other nations such as China and Iran, the death penalty is commonly applied. However, since 1990, the death penalty has been abolished by more than thirty countries because it was considered a cruel and inhuman punishment. Though, some supporters of the death penalty consider that if a person takes another people's life he should be killed, there are certain reasons that question the immorality of the death penalty. First, it violates religious beliefs. Second, it is not a means of dealing with crime. And lastly, innocent people may be wrongly condemned.
The Old Testament clearly calls for the death penalty on many occasions. In Exodus 21:14 is the simplest statement mandating society to punish their fellow beings for murder. Jesus states, "if a man schemes and kills another man deliberately, take him away from my altar and put him to death" (Good News Bible, 1976). Advocates stress that this verse is not a suggestion, but instead a command that is not to be questioned. God demands, therefore, one should obey. The murderer must suffer for his actions because murder is denying the image of God in the harmed individual. To murder a man is equivalent to murdering God since man is created by him and in his image. The murderer, thus, did violence to God himself. However, many of the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament readily denounce it.