Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Opus 2016-189: Revenge or Rehabilitation?

What do we do about crime and criminals?  We hear a lot of different solutions and issues from a demand to build more prisons to the claim that the system is racist.  Some are concerned about overcrowding.  Others think prisons are too comfortable.  Historically the solutions have been much more severe than we practice today.  Most cultures did not have the resources to build huge edifices and worry about exercise yards or balanced nutrition.  Jails were short term holding tanks with justice waiting in the door.  Execution and slavery were common ways of dealing with people who could not fit into society. 

Now we lock people away, sometimes for life.  Why?  What is the purpose of incarceration?

If you Google it you find a lot of opinions.  Certain basic reasons come up:  Punishment, deterrence, rehabilitation and protecting society are some.  Back in the 60's and 70's the psychologists and social workers managed to turn the emphasis in modern prisons toward rehabilitating the criminals and away from punishment. 

What is the Christian approach?  Too often “Christians” simply adopt the popular approach that the current cultural icons are advocating and ignore the complete teaching of scripture.  It is easy to cherry pick verses and ignore anything that does not make you conform with social pressure.  Thus with the current push toward rehabilitation we hear the verses about love, forgiveness and turning the other cheek.  Those exist.  That is part of the balance, but only one side.

There is also the truth that the law and its enforcement are meant to compel the deviate to curb their excess.  The Bible does not rule out the ideas of fear and punishment.  I am currently reading through Deuteronomy and came across a statement that was repeated at least four times.  After bringing up punishment involving the death penalty we come across statements like this:
(Deuteronomy 19:20 KJV)  And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.
You see similar words in 13:11, 17:13 and 21:21.

Punishment has a role in justice according the Bible.  Fear has a role.  The Bible says that recognizing the potential for pain, suffering and paying the price will serve to keep those inclined to evil from inclining. 

Fear and punishment do work as deterrents.  You may disagree but don’t do so on the basis of the Bible and Christianity.

homo unius libri

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.