The Instigator
Ambition
Pro (for)
Winning
25 Points
The Contender
policydebategod
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

Christians should support the notion of capitol punishment. The Bible supports it.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/14/2007 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,269 times Debate No: 422
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (16)
Votes (10)

 

Ambition

Pro

I support the death penalty. I state that at the beginning so that as I write there will be no question as to where I stand. Recently I was visiting with some friends and the conversation got onto the issue of the death penalty. These particular friends of mine were opposed to it. They felt that it was not Biblical to take the life of another person, that it was God's initiative to give life and to take it. I completely agree that God is the author of life and that it is a sin and a crime to commit an abortion, which is the killing of an unborn person. I also completely believe that murder is wrong, which is the action of an individual taking the life of another for personal vengeance or convenience. While I respect the opinion of these friends and I understand where they are coming from, I think that a few things are overlooked; therefore I must disagree with the opinion that the death penalty is unbiblical.

The Bible gives numerous examples of God using people to punish and judge others for their sin. Think of the Israelites conquest of Canaan, the Lord told the Israelites to totally decimate those people groups that were in their path. In 1st Samuel 15:2-3, the prophet Samuel relates to King Saul that the Lord had said, "I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys" (NIV, emphasis added). It is quite clear that God uses people to punish others for sins, and that punishment may very well be death to the offender. In the later verses of 1st Samuel 15, the reader would see that Saul did not follow the Lord's commands but he spared the king and choice livestock. Because of Saul's disobedience the Lord rejected Saul as King of Israel.

Consider the concept of "an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth" This was elaborated on by Jesus in Matthew 5:38-48. In this passage He expands the meaning of this phrase by encouraging people to not resist an evil person and to do good to their enemies. Does this passage kill my argument for capital punishment? No. This passage is pointed at individuals. God wants us as Christians to love and to set a good example for the world. Again, this principal was not instituted by God as a guideline for any single individual to follow. It was never meant to be used as a justification tool for an individual to take revenge against an offender.

It is not usually a good idea for a person to independently take the law into his own hands but he should leave the business of law enforcement to those who have been instituted into that position. "An eye for an eye, tooth for tooth" has always been guideline for the government to use. From the very beginning God instituted this system as the basis for civil government and that has carried on today. This system of equal restitution was set as the standard of punishment for a governmental system to follow in response to how it should treat its criminals. It is the duty of the governing body to uphold this concept, not an individual. This principal continues today and the New Testament has not changed that at all. Jesus Christ nor anyone else in the New Testament ever contradicted this standard but they supported and upheld it. Therefore the "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" standard of punishment within a civil government still stands.

The Apostle Paul gives a good description of the authority of the government in Romans 13:1-7. In that passage he states, "The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves…For he is God's servant to do you good. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer" (Romans 13:1b-2, 4 NIV). This passage shows that the government has the job of commending the good and punishing the bad. They are God's servant to uphold punishment and wrath against a criminal.

Now, God said that we are to love one another and to love our enemies but why should a government show favor to the one who committed the crime by letting him go free, over the one to whom the crime was committed by rejecting that individual's right to justice? It is not the government's job to show mercy. Jesus never mentions mercy in relation to the government and nowhere does Paul state in Romans 13 that the government should be merciful to criminals. But they hold the sword to avenge wrong. Therefore if we expect the government to uphold equal justice for the victim of a robbery, and we are dissatisfied with anything less, don't we have a right to expect the same justice when it comes to murder?

In Romans 13:4 Paul says that the government, "does not bear the sword for nothing". A sword is not meant to simply make the bearer look intimidating but it is meant to inflict pain and ultimately death on those who punishment is due. If someone murders another then they will be killed. That is the "eye for an eye, tooth for tooth" justice that a never changing God instituted way back in the Old Testament as a standard punishment against murder.

But what about mercy? Should mercy play any role in the government's court system? Does Romans seem to say that it is their duty to make people afraid of them due to their mercilessness? No. "For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you" (Romans 13:3). If someone is being abused somehow, the government may interject and show mercy to the victim by arresting the offender and ceasing the abuse. The mercy comes into the picture as the government relates to the one who is doing right. If a person is wronged, the government will show mercy to that person by stopping the wrong and punishing the wrongdoer. That's where the mercy comes in. But in regard to the offender it is not the government's place to show mercy. They are to treat the offender as the victim was treated, if someone is murdered then the murderer should be killed.
policydebategod

Con

In response to the paragraph of "The Bible gives numerous examples of God using people to punish and judge others for their sin." ---
God wanted the people of Israel to go to war. War is justified in the Bible. However, muder is not. To suggest that murder is ethical is not only unChristianly but unHumanly.

An "eye for an eye"...is pointed at individuals. God wants us as Christians to love and to set a good example for the world. Again, this principal was not instituted by God as a guideline for any single individual to follow. It was never meant to be used as a justification tool for an individual to take revenge against an offender.

This is exactly what I am saying. God does want people to take revenge against one anoother. To suggest that God wants this is ridiculous. This hurts you to say this. Despite it being your belief, it hurts ytour argument. And you should lose for that one comment.

Civil government was not around "in the beginning" first of all.
Governments should have the power to punish according to God but he only gave 10 commandments and out of those one of them is thou shalt not kill. God wanted himself to be the leader of the universe and no other entity expressed by him in the Bible. If he says something that should be followed. Governments should punish but they should not abandon his laws.

Yes. Once again, God wants governments to have the ability to punish but he does not want governments to murder their citizens.

In response to: "Therefore if we expect the government to uphold equal justice for the victim of a robbery, and we are dissatisfied with anything less, don't we have a right to expect the same justice when it comes to murder?"
Yes. The government should punish robbers by placing them in jail and punish murderers by placing murderers in jail.

The Bible is not meant literally. The sword can not be used on J-walkers and speeders. The sword obviously is not meant for every crime, therefore not applicable to any crime.

The convicts can not be treated like the victims because what if somebody is speeding, J- walking, smoking marijuana, comitting suicide.

I win this debate, because you have failed to prove that governments should murder people.
Debate Round No. 1
Ambition

Pro

Ambition forfeited this round.
policydebategod

Con

Looks at me: I done wonned. This needs to be at least 100 characters so..........................................................................................................................................................................................
Debate Round No. 2
Ambition

Pro

Sorry about that. I didn't know the set response time. Totally my fault on that. Oh well. Thanks for debating this with me. It is such an important issue that so many people who claim to be Christians condemn as evil.

I'll start by addressing the issues that you bring up in your argument. You stated that "muder is not [justified]. To suggest that murder is ethical is not only unChristianly but unHumanly". I agree with that statement. Murder is evil and goes entirely against the Old Testament law and the teachings of Christ. I never made the claim that murder is anything other than wrong and evil and anyone who commits murder should be punished.

I must admit that it is a tad frustrating to see you making claims regarding things that I never stated. I never stated that it is acceptable for individuals to take revenge on another. Again in Matthew 5, Jesus comands us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. Romans 12:19 says, "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord". Therefore it is wrong for an individual to take revenge against another person and I never claimed otherwise.

Since God does not want individuals to take revenge on others and as He is the ultimate judge, how does one understand the concept of an "eye for an eye" as stated in Exodus 21:24? The latter half of Exodus as well as a great portion of Leviticus is the law that God passed down to the Israelites. Again, in Matthew 5, Jesus states that He did not come to abolish the law. His teaching is meant that we might know better His ideal plan by which we are to live our lives. This includes no revenge and to love our enemies.

You must also remember that God is just and does not allow sin to go unpunished. 2 Thessalonians 1:6a says, "God is just" and Luke 18:7-8 states, "And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly". "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 3:23). Granted God gives us the gift of eternal life if we accept Him but we still must physically die. Sin has consequences.

He is the ultimate authority to punish wrongdoers. You yourself stated that "If he [God] says something that should be followed. Governments should punish but they should not abandon his laws". I agree with that. Governments should follow the precepts layed out by God within the Bible.

Romans 13 then gives the description of God's plan for the govenment.

Your argument that "Civil government was not around 'in the beginning'" is not true. God was the law by which people lived in the beginning. He set the laws. As people pulled away from him and set their own rules, God chose the nation of Israel through which to accomplish His plan. He directly governed them through Moses, Joshua, and the Judges. Then the people wanted their own king that they could all see. God allowed this.

Paul, through the inspiration of God, outlines God's plan for governments in Romans 13. Verse 1 and 2 od chapter 13 state that "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves". These verses show that God is in ultimate control and He is the one that institutes governments.

Verse 4 of Romans 13 states that "For he [the government or the authority] is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. You yourself stated that war can be justified by the Bible. Why? Because an all-knowing God has ordained it as punishment. Same thing is to be said of capitol punishemnt. The above verse calls the government "God's servant" or other translations say God's agent to do His bidding. In Romans 13, God ordainded capitol punishment when He mentions that the government holds the sword. That sword is to be used. Not swing it around and look treatening. God is not one to make empty threats. He has shown time and again that He will punish those who oppose Him.

Romans 13:4 tells wrongdoers to "be afraid". Why would the wrongdoer be afraid if it weren't for the fact there is punishment for their crime. The government does not hold the sword in vain but it is meant to be used. When it is used it teaches people that the laws are enforced and that violators will be punished severely. If people do not fear the punishment then the crimes will continue. It is the government's job to uphold justice in all situations including murder and God requires that from the government. Murder requires justice and justice for murder, according to the Bible, is the death penalty.

Lets say that someone again stole one hundred dollars from you. The government catches the crook and he is brought to you to make restitution. You expect to get your one hundred dollars back but the government tells you that the crook is not going to pay you the one hundred dollars that he stole but they are going to have him pay thirty dollars. As the offended party wouldn't you consider that to be unfair and a failure of the judicial system to uphold the law and to make sure that justice is done? I would think that most people would.

The punishment for murder should match the crime. Murder, not j-walking or speeding, should be punishable by death. I appreciate the sarcasm but I would think that a person who has studied the Word could think logically and realize that the Bible teaches that the punishment should match the crime. Over and over that teaching is shown. Through out the old testament law, there are specific punishments that perfectly match the crime. All crime is not to be punished the same. As I mentioned before, the Bible states that God is a just God. Punishing someone with death for speeding is not justice.

Granted, I am not sure that you put as much authority on the teachings of Romans as you do the 10 Commandments. Granted, when you made the statement that "The Bible is not meant literally" that would seem to void any argument that you may have made using the Bible as a foundation. I realize that this debate may seem foolish to someone who does not believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. Yet, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.". Therefore if you believe that a portion of the Word is true, then you must believe that it is all true.

God ordained the government to be His agent and to do His will. He gave the government the sword to punish offenders and to kill offenders when necessary. It is not murder, as God Himself has ordained it. It is murder if an individual takes matters into their own hands and kills another for they are not God's agent to uphold these laws for a nation. Remember that God is just and that the punishment must match the crime. Therefore someone who kills another should be punished in the same way, by their own death through capitol punishment. The death penalty is God's idea and should be upheld through the government system.
policydebategod

Con

- It is such an important issue that so many people who claim to be Christians condemn as evil.
+ wtf? all non christians are not evil. maybe u shud leave ur bubble.
- I agree with that statement. Murder is evil and goes entirely against the Old Testament law and the teachings of Christ. I never made the claim that murder is anything other than wrong and evil and anyone who commits murder should be punished.
+ even the government
- I never stated that it is acceptable for individuals to take revenge on another. Therefore it is wrong for an individual to take revenge against another person and I never claimed otherwise.
+ Governments are only led by individuals who god does not want to seek revenge.
- This includes no revenge and to love our enemies.
+ So...the government should seek no revenge.
- Sin has consequences.
+ Those consequences are from God. God does not put governments in charge of punishing. He wants no false idols. God wants nobody to murder or seek revenge except for himself.
- Governments should follow the precepts layed out by God within the Bible.
+ Thou shalt not murder.
- Your argument that "Civil government was not around 'in the beginning'" is not true. God was the law by which people lived in the beginning. He set the laws. As people pulled away from him and set their own rules, God chose the nation of Israel through which to accomplish His plan. He directly governed them through Moses, Joshua, and the Judges. Then the people wanted their own king that they could all see. God allowed this.
+ So was this the beginning? No.
- "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves". These verses show that God is in ultimate control and He is the one that institutes governments.
+ God creates governments, I agree. However, God does not give governments the same power. You should not worship false idols. God is a selfish God. He did not give th individuals in the government the power to murder and be above humans as some sort of better-than-human-angel-government.
- Verse 4 of Romans 13 states that "For he [the government or the authority] is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. You yourself stated that war can be justified by the Bible. Why? Because an all-knowing God has ordained it as punishment. Same thing is to be said of capitol punishemnt. The above verse calls the government "God's servant" or other translations say God's agent to do His bidding. In Romans 13, God ordainded capitol punishment when He mentions that the government holds the sword. That sword is to be used. Not swing it around and look treatening. God is not one to make empty threats. He has shown time and again that He will punish those who oppose Him.
Romans 13:4 tells wrongdoers to "be afraid". Why would the wrongdoer be afraid if it weren't for the fact there is punishment for their crime. The government does not hold the sword in vain but it is meant to be used. When it is used it teaches people that the laws are enforced and that violators will be punished severely. If people do not fear the punishment then the crimes will continue. It is the government's job to uphold justice in all situations including murder and God requires that from the government. Murder requires justice and justice for murder, according to the Bible, is the death penalty.
+ God odes not want individuals to commit revenge. The government is comprused of individuals. Either you must agree that the government is not allowed to get revenge or that individuals in government are equal to God.
- Lets say that someone again stole one hundred dollars from you. The government catches the crook and he is brought to you to make restitution. You expect to get your one hundred dollars back but the government tells you that the crook is not going to pay you the one hundred dollars that he stole but they are going to have him pay thirty dollars. As the offended party wouldn't you consider that to be unfair and a failure of the judicial system to uphold the law and to make sure that justice is done? I would think that most people would.
+ No. It is reasonable. It is unreasonable to kidnap kidnappers, bribe bribers, etc. It is illogical. However, prisons are a good punishment for any severe crime.
- The punishment for murder should match the crime. Murder, not j-walking or speeding, should be punishable by death. I appreciate the sarcasm but I would think that a person who has studied the Word could think logically and realize that the Bible teaches that the punishment should match the crime. Over and over that teaching is shown. Through out the old testament law, there are specific punishments that perfectly match the crime. All crime is not to be punished the same. As I mentioned before, the Bible states that God is a just God. Punishing someone with death for speeding is not justice.
+ Prison is the worst punishment because people actually have to suffer forever.
- Granted, I am not sure that you put as much authority on the teachings of Romans as you do the 10 Commandments. Granted, when you made the statement that "The Bible is not meant literally" that would seem to void any argument that you may have made using the Bible as a foundation. I realize that this debate may seem foolish to someone who does not believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. Yet, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.". Therefore if you believe that a portion of the Word is true, then you must believe that it is all true.
+ ...that is one of the portions of the Bible that is taken unliterally...

- God ordained the government to be His agent and to do His will. He gave the government the sword to punish offenders and to kill offenders when necessary. It is not murder, as God Himself has ordained it. It is murder if an individual takes matters into their own hands and kills another for they are not God's agent to uphold these laws for a nation. Remember that God is just and that the punishment must match the crime. Therefore someone who kills another should be punished in the same way, by their own death through capitol punishment. The death penalty is God's idea and should be upheld through the government system.

God does not say that the government is on the same plane as himself. He does not want false idols and is a selfish God. God does not consider the government above the ten commandments and therefore are not allowed to kill and are not allowed to seek revenge. Individuals in government are not God. Is Condoleeza Rice allowed to lie, steal, commit adultery, etc.?
Debate Round No. 3
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by policydebategod 8 years ago
policydebategod
HA sqharawa pwned u aremis!
Posted by policydebategod 8 years ago
policydebategod
Im actually not christian. i just thought this debate would be fun.
Posted by sqharawa 8 years ago
sqharawa
Nice counter yourself Aremis. Clearly I was making an involved argument. I'm amazed you were able to comment on it. Well done.
Posted by aremisasling 8 years ago
aremisasling
Excellent argument sq. So well supported, too. Do you post this on all of the debates involving christianity?

Aremis
Posted by sqharawa 8 years ago
sqharawa
The Bible is a load of crap.
Posted by AREA 8 years ago
AREA
Capitol punishment is not murder
Capital punishment, on the other hand is debatable
Posted by aremisasling 8 years ago
aremisasling
Well put aaron. I have no counter to that.

I'm still personally against it because I feel it is cruel and unusual punishment (regardless of how painless the process is, I don't equate cruel with painful), but in this case we're talking biblical justification so I guess that's neither here nor there in this case.

Aremis
Posted by aaroncoleman 8 years ago
aaroncoleman
Capitol Punishment is not murder... Just like imprisoning a convicted criminal for a crime is not kidnapping. They are not one in the same.
Posted by aremisasling 8 years ago
aremisasling
Can someone explain to me how capital punishment is not murder? I get that scriptures advocate capital punishement in a number of situations, often explicitly. However, that still doesn't resolve the fact that at some point, somewhere along the line, some individual does something that kills an unwilling victim, regardless of his guilt. Even if you remove the government from the picture. Some living breathing person affects the death of an unwilling victim.

I guess I don't see how there is any situation where willingly causing the death of an unwilling victim is anythign other than murder. You may be able to justify that murder through scripture and thereby find an escape clause for the ten commandments, but it is still murder.

As a side note, some of the situations in Leviticus where execution is acceptable punishement are far from eye-for-an-eye, even if you consider magnitude of the sin as justification where the actual crime of murder has not been committed.

Aremis
Posted by Masterworks 8 years ago
Masterworks
"An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" was not originally instituted by God.
It was first written on the Code of Hammurabi which originates from the Mesopotamian society, which is the first established society on record and the first one known to man.
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