For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
It's a good thing Saul wasn't executed for murdering Christians or we wouldn't have Saint Paul. Vengeance is Mine, says the Lord.
I cannot support capital punishment. As long as one has breath there is hope. I support prison reform, life sentences and prayer and to leave the giving and taking of life to the Creator.
I don’t think it’s a fair assumption to state that all Christians believe this way. Or to assume that. I’m new to the website, so I hope I’m going about adding my two cents the right way. I do not believe in the death penalty. I also wouldn’t say that I’m supportive of war. War has been around since the Biblical times and will always be around, and if we could live in a world without it, I think most people, Christian or not, would prefer that it be that way. We have to fight to defend our country. I’m not going to get all political here, but I think that sadly, in our fallen world, war is necessary. As for the death penalty, I don’t understand why people support it myself. We were given a clear command when it comes to killing — “Thou shall not kill.” — and that’s where it ends. There is no “unless”, so this is something that I try to look at as the laws of the land and I can have my own opinion on it, and if I were given the opportunity to vote or do anything to change it I would, but as it stands I have no control over it so I just pray for our leaders and our judges etc., that they will make the decision that God would want them to make. I hope my answer gives some insight, as it’s not really fair to say that Christians believe this or that because we are all individuals, and unless it’s something that the Bible gives as a law, it isn’t fair to assume that “we” believe it. ♡
I agree Christian views are not monolithic, but I do want to clarify:
When it comes to the ten commandments the phrase is "Though Shall not Murder" - not thou shall not kill. If any killing at all violated this commandment, then God would have ordered the Israelites to break His own law over and over in the Old Testament. Furthermore, God instituted Capital punishment into the Israelite legal code - something which would have been impossible if capital punishment was against His very nature.
The Hebrew tir·tzach (Deut 5:17) means to murder/slay, often with premeditation. The Greek word phoneuó (Matt 19:18) mean unjustified homicide. Neither term is as generic as killing.
Kaila Ramesh, I'm with you 100%. A lot of things changed in the Bible, including what is or is not clean to eat. I believe we are not to kill or commit murder, and taking a life via the death penalty is murder, plain and simple. People can argue semantics all they want, many words and intents changed through the years as our understanding and interpretation of languages evolved. It seems so easy for Christians to justify taking a life when it suits them yet it's so repulsive to them to take a life when it doesn't. God will be the ultimate judge, too many have been murdered by humans who never gave their victim a fair and honest trial. And why do some get the death penalty while others who commit the same violation get five years? Until there is a more just system to punish all alike, I will be a double-hater of the death penalty. I've never killed anyone and I surely will not cast stones and become a killer--the very thing Christians (and others) crow against. Who is better? Both are killers and murderers. It's actually quite simple, people make it sound difficult in order to justify their own vengeful hearts. I don't think God will say "Oops, you got the interpretation wrong, but it's okay if you used it to kill another innocent (or not) child of mine--here's a pass". God save us all.