Torturing For Jesus: Polls Shows Religious Citizens Must Likely To Support Torture

175px-ary_scheffer_-_the_temptation_of_christ_1854The Pew Forum has released an interesting poll that the more religious Americans, the more likely they are to support the use of torture against terrorism suspects.

The majority of people who attend religious services at least once a week support the use of torture either “often” or “sometimes.” Fifty-four percent embraced torture while only 42 percent said they would “seldom or never” use torture.

Only twenty-five percent said that torture would ever be justified. Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians were the least likely to endorse torture while evangelicals were the most likely to accept it.

There is in fact a great deal of beatings in the Bible. For example, “And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number.” ~ Deuteronomy 25:2.

Indeed, the Bush administration may have gotten its technique of putting people in a small box while dropping in insects from Revelation: “And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” ~ Revelation 9: 5-6
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64 thoughts on “Torturing For Jesus: Polls Shows Religious Citizens Must Likely To Support Torture”

  1. Messpo727272,

    Out of the “Urban” Dictionary!!!!

    Grand Poobah

    Is a title given to someone who holds an exalted position.
    The name has come to be used as a mocking title for someone important or high-ranking and who exhibits an inflated self-regard.
    “Fred Flintstone and his friend Barney Rubble were members of the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes Lodge No. 26. A high ranking elected position within this organization is Grand Poobah or Grand Imperial Poobah. Poobah is a title of respect and often is linked to might in a role.”

    Oh Grand Poobah, Oh Grand Poobah.

  2. buddha:


    Once again your religious knowledge astounds not only with its depth but with its appropriateness in application.”


    Well it’s easy enough when you are the self-proclaimed Grand Poobah!

  3. dbaman:

    “I am neither for or against torture,…”


    I must say these is the best written indictment of the self I have ever read.

  4. To the tune of that fine old hymnal: Stand up, stand up for Jesus

    Torture up, Torture up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;
    Lift high His waterboarding, them Muslims must suffer loss.
    From Torture unto Torture His army shall He lead,
    Till every foe is Tortured, and Christ is Lord indeed…Indeed!

    For a rousing, hell far n’ brimstone stereo midi, I suggest that follow the link and ‘sang’ along…

  5. Well Bob Esq.

    I have only been to 2 Baptist Services and I could not agree more. That was Torture.

  6. “The majority of people who [torture themselves by attending] religious services at least once a week support the use of torture either “often” or “sometimes.””

    That sounds about right.

  7. mespo,

    Once again your religious knowledge astounds not only with its depth but with its appropriateness in application.


    Mythology is a strange beast that often show recurring themes. Most people consider that Prometheus was chained to that rock for the offense of bringing fire to man, but the Gods were more offended and concerned that he brought man knowledge and with that the knowledge of language. Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat from the Tree of Knowledge and while the Bible does not explicitly state this, considering their needs in the Garden and the admonition that they were not supposed to leave until they had learned the names of all of God’s creatures and plants. They would have only needed an oral language. Is it unreasonable to think that written language was one of the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge? I think not since Lucifer is not only often credited with great linguistic skills but is sometimes credited with formalizing language. The phrase “The Devil is in the details.” did not appear out of thin air. The snake was clearly a sophist.

    Herein lies the problem – the inexact nature of language. In itself, spoken language is prone to all kinds of error (misuse of terms, confusion between speakers, lies, etc.). Spoken language has some error correcting though in that there are non-verbal components that can tell a listener that when there is either uncertainty or deliberate error, e.g. the lie. There is also the option of retort and interrogation (in the classic sense of the word, not torture) to claims where veracity is in question. The written word is trickier. It’s communication semi-blind. While speaking to someone directly is no guarantee against untruths, lies or manipulations, there are the non-verbal safeguards that act as a certain hedge against error. The written word is more problematic. By addition of a layer of abstraction, the page, you add a layer of both potential misunderstanding and potential manipulation. Lawyers would not have as full a job without this layer. Propagandists would find it hard to function in a world of only oral communication. Religious fundamentalists would not be able to so easily distort their books of choice had the oral traditions concerning the interpretation and proper teaching methodologies surrounding said books been upheld. That’s just math. Less error is less error. Less error also creates an environment that makes deliberate misuse or misapplication more difficult.

    And here’s the rub. As a society we are adding layers of abstraction to our communication. E-mail and blogs are somewhat error-correcting in that the Internet is like a library with most of the books thrown on the floor. One can correct suspected error with a little research. But that is still a poor replacement for talking face to face. That is the abstraction there and it is even more problematic than written words in a book. It’s harder to suspect the subtle lie or misuse of language absent those non-verbal cues. The truth seeker needs to pay greater attention to “when” they are being misled and rely upon a skill set for resolution they may or may not have (research, a learned skill vs. talking, a natural ability that can be honed by learning).

    And don’t get me started on the idiocy that is Twitter.

    Fire is a tool. You can cook a meal with it or burn a witch. It is also true that the written word is a tool. You can change the minds of millions for the better by introducing a really good idea or you can distort those words to create great evils in the world.

    It’s a tool. The evil is rarely in the tool, the primary exception being weapons designed only for war, but rather in the application. You are seeing bad men misuse their tools to bad ends. The way to combat this is through distillation, simplification and most importantly clarification (as simplification is not always possible or desirable since by nature some concepts and factual situations are indeed complex). In Christianity, the axiomatic core is the Golden Rule. But is not the Golden Rule nothing more than a corollary to the idea that “God is love”? Anything that deviates from that into either “punish the heathens” or “I’m special, “saved”, and you’re not!” are manifestations of the worldly intent of evil men. Divisive use of a tool meant to bring people together.

    This can be said of all religions. Buddha taught that love is an essential component of the bodi-dharma and that the bodi-dharma lies within all of us to nurture or crush as we ride the wheel of karma ever seeking satori and release from reincarnation. The essence of Islam is the love Allah. Where religions go wrong is ego – when the message becomes about a man either living or set forth as a distorted ideal. In Christianity, this takes the form of fundamentalism and Jesus worship. In Islam, this takes the form of excessive deference to Sharia and the Imams. The only real difference is that in Christianity, Jesus explicitly said “do not worship me”, while in the Islamic tradition states explicitly that the love of God is best understood by the love of the Prophet (yes, I know there’s more to it than that, but the MAN is the issue here as men have egos, gods would not – that we could understand at any rate). And both religions go off the rails and into the area of accumulation of Earthly power for ego driven men by asserting that their faiths should be spread by force. There is a reason there are not aggressive fundamentalist Buddhists. Enlightenment cannot be found by force. It’s an internal process that requires hard work and much thought. It’s not the easy panacea of “The Good Book tells me so via the words or Rev. Snakeoil” or “Death to the Infidels! Sharia is the only law!”. These are ideas that come not from the source materials, but from distortion of the source materials by evil men with goals to empower themselves at the expense of others.

    So keep this in mind – not all of those people acting evil are intrinsically evil. Most are simply misled. By men twisting words. Fortunately for us, words are like many tools. They have two edges and cut both ways. The question then becomes simple. Does one cut toward the greater good of all or the innately evil ego-enshrinement of the self?

    To All Who Have Welcomed Me Back (If you lasted this long),

    Thank you, but a bit premature. I am still vacationing and will not return home until next week. While it was insomnia that led to my postings earlier, this morning I am laid up a bit with a healthy dose of muscle relaxers after learning that perhaps I am too old to go para-sailing. I tried to get my lady friend to ride my back naked so I could play Richard Branson, but she was having none of it. “You’ll get hurt!” Not “I’m not getting naked!” or “What? Are you insane!”. “You’ll get hurt” is what she said. And she didn’t make fun of me when I woke in agony this morning, but instead has been an angel of mercy.

    Yep. She may be a keeper.

  8. bdaman gives us another example in shoddy reasoning from the torture-loving crowd. If some child molester had my children and I had his accomplice in my power, of course I would want to hurt him. That’s human nature, but it’s also why we have laws – to ensure that we follow the ethical path, not the path of anger and irrationality. A parent in the situation given could not possibly in the proper state of mind to make such a decision.

    I have long given up expecting ethical or moral thinking and behavior from the religious crowd. This poll shows that I was right to do so.

  9. bdaman:

    “If your child was abducted by a known sex offender and you caught the sex offender’s accomplice before the police arrived … ”

    Oh please. Not only is the scenario wildly farfetched, it assumes several improbable conditions, the 3 most obvious being:

    1) the sex offender has an “accomplice” who somehow falls into your hands;

    2) you know to a moral certainty *everything* about this hair-raising situation except the crucial fact of WHERE it is taking place;

    3) This accomplice has accurate information as to where your child is about to be molested.

    This is a TV fantasy that has nothing to do with what your government did in your name to people who weren’t convicted of any crime. Perhaps you find it easier to contemplate because these people were Muslims. What if instead they did it to your child on suspicion of some crime – the child who you were willing to torture for to prevent from being molested? Would you be so callous then? So steely-eyed and resolute? We don’t put up with even our most vicious criminals being tortured because a) there’s always a possibility they didn’t actually do what they’re accused of, and b) they admit anything to get the pain to stop. Meaning the real perps often go free. And that people who advocate for torture are sociopaths who are willing to accept phony justifications because they see the victims of it as less than human.

  10. bdaman, your argument is flawed on so many levels that there isn’t enough time to list them all. But here are a few examples:
    1. In the situation you hypothesize, the issue isn’t what you or I or the guy down the street would do. Why in the world do you think we have a system of laws?
    2. Even if you or I would react violently in that situation, it hardly follows that that is an endorsement of torture. It is instead an observation that anyone is capable of evil under a given set of circumstances.
    3. Thinly veiled appeals to emotionalism (you know, the what if your wife or daughter were raped scenario) are actually arguments in favor of mob rule if, in your view, the occasion calls for it. There is no moral distinction between your position and that of those groups who have engaged in lynchings down through the years.
    What Christian fundamentalists can’t seem to wrap their brains around is that their thinking is identical to that of Islamic radicals and the religious right in general, that anarchy is an acceptable response to words or actions deemed insulting to strongly held religious beliefs. The substitution of emotionalism for true piety is the hallmark of modern Christian evangelicals, just as it is for Islamic fundamentalism. It is unfortunate that the growing response in the west is to cater to this nonsense through legislative prohibition of religious criticism.
    That the religious right favors torture, therefore, while laced with irony, is hardly surprising.

  11. BDMAN:

    the chinese will, most assuredly, not torture them, unless you call a 9mm slug to the base of the skull torture. albeit lasting only a few seconds.

  12. Bdaman

    It’s been said that integrity is doing the right thing when it’s difficult or when no one is looking. The question is whether a country, this country, our country and the citizens therein have the integrity to act within our stated ethical construct when it’s difficult to do so or not. I appears you’ve answered that for yourself.

  13. I am neither for or against torture, however if the scenario that I put forth was to happen to me, rest assured the bat would be swinging.

    To move to the current situation, some of the detainees that the administration wants to release are Chinese that were caught training for terrorist acts against China. The Chinese government wants them back but the U.S. knows what the outcome will be if they send them back. They will be tortured. They had no beef with the U.S. however I suspect after being detained for so long without due process these same individuals will become enemies of the state. This is what makes the decision so difficult as to what to do with the detainees. I have no problem with closing Gitmo, that’s the easy part, the hard part is, what are you going to do now Johnny?

  14. bdaman,

    Your example establishes a sort of false dichotomy. If said situation were to occur, there are many more possible courses of action than only two. Also, what an individual would do independent of the law is irrelevant when we are talking about the actions of an entire bureaucracy. If you are going to make the religious argument for torture, there are numerous passages in the Bible that would say to the contrary. There are also quotes that are attributed to Jesus of Nazareth as others have provided above. Either way, the religious case against torture is pretty clear cut. If one even attempts to argue for torture, it isn’t really justifiable as you’ll only be arguing in circles with your own sacred texts. I don’t know if you are arguing in favor of torture, I just assumed you were.

    PS Many of the claims you make are either disputed or unverifiable. I have no problems with religion or people believing it, in fact I think it can be a good thing. I just wanted to point out that many of these things are thought to be only myth and cannot be proven to have occurred.

  15. Bdamana,

    I think you are missing the point: Those people died, why because of religious Intolerance. Can you figure out a paradox between the two?

    I am sure you can.

  16. It is incredibly sad to see that an ideology that should be the rallying cry against torture for most Americans has been so perverted that its followers now support torture the most. I am not religious, but I find it more disturbing each and every day how much Christians (and other religious groups) continue to drift away from what their prophets actually taught.

  17. If your child was abducted by a known sex offender and you caught the sex offender’s accomplice before the police arrived, are you going to, A) sit around asking, please tell me where my child is, or B) are you going to tie the accomplice up, continue hitting him with a bat until he tells you what the plan was.

    If your answer is B then you think torture is O.K. under certain circumstances.

    P.S. Jesus allowed himself to be tortured and then crucified for the sins of man. All but one of the disciples died by the hand of man, not one recanted that Jesus was the messiah even after being tortured, flogged, stoned and or crucified.

    Simon Peter crucified (upside down at his request)
    Andrew crucified. Peter’s brother.
    James beheaded
    John exiled, died of old age (brother of James)
    Matthew speared to death
    Bartholomew beaten then crucified. (aka Nathanael)
    Philip crucified
    Thomas speared to death
    Simon crucified, the zealot
    James stoned to death
    Thaddaeus stoned to death. (aka Judas son of James)
    Judas Iscariot suicide by hanging

    –> Matthias replaced Judas (Acts 1:26)

  18. And in the new testament when Jesus was asked and how many time shall I forgive and the answer was 70 times 7.

    Turn the other cheek.

    The old testament was an eye for an eye.

    Well you know, I can justify anything in the name of religion. But are you better off for it, not me, but are the people around me better off.

  19. I suspect the figures hold true for follows of Islam, so they will have plenty to talk about at inter-faith councils. Ain’t ecumenism grand!

    If I ran the meeting, I ‘d start with this quote.

    “Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

    –2 Thessalonians 2:11-12

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