The Lord’s Prayer, forgiveness, and criminal (in)justice


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Criminal justice is usually retributive, that justice is only apparent when an offender receives their just deserts. Whilst western ideas of criminal justice have historically been influenced by Christian tradition, doctrine, and theology, in this article the Lord’s Prayer is used as a starting point to challenge conventional thinking. The article considers the prayer’s emphasis on God’s kingdom, and on forgiveness. Through the lens of retributivism there is little room for forgiveness, and kingdom justice would be an injustice. It is argued that the Lord’s Prayer turns notions on justice upside down. Implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Jun 2023


  • Criminal justice
  • Forgiveness
  • justice
  • Lord’s Prayer
  • Punishment
  • Retribution
  • Righteousness


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