Absolute and Relative Morality
Absolute morality is the belief that if an action is right or wrong, it is ALWAYS right or wrong no matter what the circumstances. Absolute moralists keep to their principles regardless of the consequences of actions or choices they make.
Relative morality is the belief that an action can sometimes be wrong but in other circumstances it may be right. Relative moralists would take individual circumstances into account in every case.
Prejudice and Discrimination
Prejudice- to hold an opinion that is biased and unreasonable, and not based on real evidence.
Prejudices are formed when we come to believe that our stereotypes about groups of people are real.
Discrimination- taking some kind of action against others based on your own prejudices.
People are discriminated against when we take action as a result of our prejudices.
Stereotypes- when we assume about a certain group of people. Making assumptions.
Racism- the belief that some races are superior to others.
What is Capital Punishment?
* Capital Punishment is sentencing a convicted criminal to death by the government. This is still legal in parts of the USA and the world. * Killing someone as punishment.
* State execution/death penalty.
Places where capital punishment is legal:
Places that have capital punishment but don’t practice it: * Madagascar
* Papa New Guinea
Places that do not have capital punishment:
Approximate number of executions in 2004:
1. China- 10,000
2. Iran- 159
3. Vietnam- 64
4. USA- 59
Types of punishments:
* Electric Chair
* Lethal Injections
* Gas Chambers
Purpose of Capital Punishment:
* Deterrence- To put others off committing the same crime. * Retribution- The idea of ‘an eye for an eye’.
* Protection- To protect society from those criminals who are dangerous. * Vindication- Means that people will respect the law.
What are the arguments ‘for’ capital punishment?
* It ‘deters’ (puts off) potential murderers.
* It protects people.
* It shows that we think murder is very wrong.
* Capital punishment helps the victim’s family to come to terms with losing a loved one. * Many religious traditions believe it is important to comply with the law of the land. * The Old Testament teaching, e.g. ‘an eye for an eye’. * Some religions believe that it is up to the relatives of the family to decide e.g. Islam. * The cost of keeping someone in prison for a life sentence puts the lives of others at risk through lack of funds going to hospitals. * It is more humane to take a life than to keep someone in captivity for the rest of their life.
Ultimately Christians believe that giving and receiving of life is in God’s hands, not humans. ¨The lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord¨
What are the arguments ‘against’ capital punishment?
* Turns terrorists into martyrs.
* Does taking another life make things right? … It is murder in itself. * It is inhumane.
* Mistakes are made and innocent people executed.
* All life is sacred and we do not have the right to take a life away. * Who is going to carry out the execution?
* God will punish and therefore we should not play at God. * Some statistics show that capital punishment does not deter crime especially as most murders are not planned. * Jesus taught the importance of forgiveness.
* Sacred texts e.g. the Ten Commandments state it is wrong to kill. * Does not allow for the possibility of repentance.
Case Study: Ruth Ellis- the last woman to be hung in the UK
* Ruth Ellis was...