The Deprived Lawbreaker


Whilst reading The Cross of Christ by John Stott (pg.120), I came across the following extract from C.S. Lewis’ essay “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment” – it’s quite an interesting read. C.S. Lewis shows that by taking away human responsibility, by blaming things of backgrounds or genes etc., we are taking away the very thing that separates us from the rest of creation – we become ‘a mere object, a patient, a “case”.’

To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better’, is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.

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