Outgrowing the Death Penalty

Capital punishment is but the tip of an iceberg. It is one narrow question in a much larger issue we could describe as the death penalty. Opinion worldwide is clearly divided over support for the use of capital punishment. As for the broader question, to the extent an individual is materially-minded, in that measure he actually supports a death penalty.

Although death is an enigma to mankind, it has widespread support as purposeful in the scheme of existence. While a prosecutor may argue that death deters crime, a theologian may view death as a good man's doorway to heaven. The suicide may see death as an escape. The demographer may tell us death saves the planet from overpopulation. And yet Mrs. Eddy argues, "The universal belief in death is of no advantage." Science and Health, p. 42; Here is a powerful statement in stark contrast with vested interests that would claim death to be at worst inevitable and at best essential for mankind. But death is always a penalty—whether we view it as a useful promise or a cruel punishment. Our support for that penalty will recede as we grow more spiritually-minded.

Mrs. Eddy writes, "The death-penalty comes through our ignorance of Life,—of that which is without beginning and without end, —and is the punishment of this ignorance." Unity of Good, p. 40;

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May 30, 1977

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