At Grits for Breakfast, a humorous (I suppose) reference is made to the idea that death is disfavored because what lies beyond is mysterious and unknown, but that for Christians, death would actually be a welcome entry into eternal bliss (at least for a believer).
This put me in mind of one of the old arguments for the death penalty advanced by the great medieval theologian and philosopher, St. Thomas Aquinas:
The fact that the evil, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit the fact that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement. They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so stubborn that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from evil, it is possible to make a highly probable judgment that they would never come away from evil to the right use of their powers.(Summa Contra Gentiles, III, 146). These observations reflect the position of St. Augustine in the sixth century, that “inflicting capital punishment…protects those who are undergoing capital punishment from the harm they may suffer … through increased sinning which might continue if their life went on.” (On the Lord’s Sermon, 1.20.63-64).
These viewpoints reflect a worldview opposite our own, one decidedly un-materialistic, one which values above all else the salvation of the soul as the final end of earthly life.
It's a sad reflection on modernity that the greatest possible evil is no longer the loss of our souls through sin, but the loss of our bodies, for "What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Matthew 16:26.
Thus endeth the sermon.