It is telling how vengeance is taught all over the Bible.  No programs or processes for reforming the bad are mentioned.  This is unsurprising as the Bible says if you respond to God with love and accept his offer of mercy, he does the regenerating, the fixing.

Romans has God saying we should refrain from vengeance as he will be the one to repay.  The  legal system where punishment is doled out is seen as God's instrument whether it likes it or not.  So if you cannot get legal retribution you have to leave it to God.

Despite the fact that legal systems are set up by hypocrites and nobody really knows how to punish properly, we are asked to believe that using legal recourse is fine but anything else is revenge.  Revenge is about hurting the other to hurt them back whereas justice is about telling them they did wrong and they must pay a debt to society.

Revenge is banned as a sin.  The real motive behind the ban is to protect order not justice.

The religion may be right to ban revenge but it has no moral authority to.

A legal system you do not agree with that you use against an enemy is being weaponised for revenge.

Punishment is about making the law law and not hurting people. Hurting the people is a side-effect - it is not directly intended. Revenge or vengeance is about hurting the people. Punishment is like how a dentist has to hurt a patient to extract a rotting tooth. If we do not punish for laws being broken then those laws are not laws at all. They are only suggestions and why would anybody take them seriously?

Punishment can only be used to uphold order if you are campaigning and showing zero tolerance for unjust laws.  You fight within the law to get rid of them.  In extreme cases, revolution may be needed.

Punishment and Christian "love"

Christians would say, "There is one among you who commits a crime. If you let him go free then you may be rewarding and encouraging the crime. You are failing to respect that person. So to respect the person we may have to inflict punishment or retribution. We must not enjoy hurting the person. But we must punish in love. Retribution is love. We do not punish to reform. Reforming is only an excuse because the person should be able to reform himself for he was okay before he committed the crime. However we have to try and prevent the punishment making them worse people not better. If they still choose to be worse that is not our fault. You shall love your enemy but you shall not let your enemy triumph over you."

This hypocrisy is dreadful.  They won't admit that this love is about them not the other person.  They want to feel they love as they administer not love but what they see as a necessary evil.

Can we love the sinner and hate the sin? Can we love the criminal and hate the crime? Sin reveals the criminal – you cannot have sins without persons. Sins tell you what kind of person the sinner is.   It is nonsense to say you can judge somebody’s wilful action as sinful/bad but that it is not the same as judging the person as sinful/bad. If you think a person is a sinner, love that sinner and love the sin by saving it and by turning it into a higher good.

Christians seem to be talking commonsense and an atheist should agree with them.  But remember they see commonsense as guided by God's spirit and their sense of justice comes from the Bible.  So it is, "This is revealed by God and that is what matters."  God is not mentioned but he does not have to be.

Christians say we commit crimes against God that are worse in his sight than breaking the law.  It says all we do is tainted with some flaw some lack of love.  So in that light it cannot be possible to punish somebody just for being caught breaking the civil law when you are worse yourself. 

To be motivated by faith to support punishment is not the same thing as supporting justice.  It is supporting faith not justice and it is luck if that faith aligns or overlaps with commonsense.

Be liberal

Be as liberal as possible. Do not believe in a God who punishes. Punishment is our business and not God's. If such a God exists, then we all need to be punished by him for he sees the secret sins of our hearts that the law cannot punish for it cannot see them. To affirm his existence is to wish you could attract retribution or potential retribution on the universe. We affirm too that we want to believe in a God who upholds his laws which means that we support punishment more than is necessary. In fact we must want it kept to the bare minimum and make as few things crimes as we can.

Retribution must fit the crime. It has to be administered in such a way so that the criminal can do some good such as helping to make roads and so on. Prisons must become factories so that the prisoners can benefit society by working for society without much pay. Our prisons as they are are about revenge not retribution.

If you take a life, you shall pay with your own life by spending the rest of it in prison unless you do so much good that reprieve is justified. No power on earth can give even the state the right to take life so you shall not take a life for a life. We made death and opened the Pandora’s box of death. We made death because we wanted to kill. Let us not be servants of death.


Retribution is giving a person the punishment they deserve. It is motivated as being a necessary evil to avoid rewarding crime. Revenge is supposed to be different for it is not necessary and does not care if it is necessary or not. Revenge involves wanting to hurt a bad person or a good person you find bad for you out of a bad motive. Revenge is intended to do an unnecessary evil over some harm done to you. The evil may be necessary in some ways but that is not why you are doing it. But as regards retribution, when mercy is allowed it is saying the crime should at least be partly rewarded and so the punishment is unnecessary. Unless you reject mercy it is revenge you are practising not retribution.

Nobody ever intends pure evil.  The one that does evil, that one intends only the good in the evil not the evil itself. Therefore it is the consequences of the act that we must hate not the act itself. We cannot hate the act without hating the person that does the act. See the good even in the darkest of evils.

As good as retribution is, being merciful to the person to let them serve others is said to be far better. But mercy accuses them of deserving retribution not mercy. Let the intention be not to be merciful but to be encouraging. You take their resolve to be good in future as deserving freedom and the cancellation of retribution. This is not mercy for it denies they deserve any more to be punished.

Admit that retribution is entirely human

In brief: Retribution (punishment) is supposed to be paying a criminal back for doing wrong but doing it in such a way that it lets the person know his actions were not approved of and supposed to be for the criminal's own sake. It is supposed to be about honouring the person as letting a person do what they wish without punishing would be wrong and degrading the person. So retribution is held to be compatible with love. The Bible certainly teaches this for God in the Old Testament commanded love and was able to reconcile this command with demands that adulterers and murderers and homosexuals be put to death by stoning.

We have to hold that deserving retribution is a purely human concept. We have to punish to have some control over society. Strictly speaking, in reality, there is no deserving of suffering. There is only deserving of blessing. The concept of a judging deity must be abandoned. There is no need for the concept of divine punishment. The concept of God and this punishment from him fosters a harmful attitude and it is motivated by the wish to see people punished more than any human state can punish them. Unnecessary punishment is revenge. Do not invent punishers! If you can prove the existence of a punishing God that is fine but you cannot. You cannot suggest that people may need punishment from him unless you prove he exists. You don't want to approve of a fictitious God of punishment. It is making you want to see them suffer more than they would if there were no God to punish them.

To secularise retribution you have to admit that the love stuff is hypocrisy and that no God made us to take retribution and will not take it himself.  If somebody is punished enough to stop them harming somebody else do not degrade them by hoping that there is a God if God involves the notion, "God will make them pay if we are too light on them or cannot punish them as they truly deserve."


No Copyright