Humanist Perspectives: Questioning Capital Punishment


Recently, a man named Troy Davis was executed by the state of Georgia. He was convicted mainly on the basis of testimony by nine eyewitnesses, six of whom later recanted. However, his attempts to appeal were not successful, and he was executed in September. The following post from NonProphet Status’s Walker Bristol asks whether our views on capital punishment are at their core informed by the religious value we place on life.

Questioning Capital Punishment
by Walker Bristol

[T]he notion of capital punishment as a philosophically reasonable form of justice does seem to ultimately come down to the inherently religious value one places on human life. Is this our only shot, where one mistake or evil deed can render us unworthy of continuing to experience it? Is there ultimate justice in the universe, in which our innocence will be judged without the taint of human fallibility? Are infinite punishments or rewards for the finite actions of this life really justifiable? Earlier this week, many of us sat back and felt our personal answers to those questions timidly wash over us as Troy Davis left this world. His final words themselves were imbued with his own spiritual view: To his executioners, he said “May God bless your souls.”

Read the entire post here.