Religion and capital punishment are two of the most controversial topics you could pick, so when we had the idea to build an infographic focused on both of them, we knew we were in for a challenge in impartiality. We started the project by carefully selecting a journalist who could source the information impartially and responsibly. Natalya Stanko rose to the challenge and brought an educated foundation to build the research on top of. Visually’s own Jess Bachman worked closely with her to categorize and come up with a visual language to organize all the offenses deemed worthy of death. In the graphic we have surfaced many prescriptions of the death penalty across numerous religious texts and group them into related capital vices. It should be plain to see that certain texts, like the Old Testament are not very tolerant of sexual acts as opposed to greed-driven acts which are particularly dangerous in the Hindu texts. The holy texts of most major religions are quite violent in nature. And, while it may seem barbaric today, the death penalty was a common means of dealing with what could be perceived as even a minor offense. It’s important to remember that these texts, written in antiquity, are, by their nature, open to interpretation. Your interpretation may not be the same as ours. Different interpretations exist, and may lead to harsher or milder punishments. So with these caveats in mind, A Guide to The Wrath of God represents our best attempt at a literal interpretation of the primary texts of each included religion.
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