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Source: (consider it) Thread: Evangelicalism (American) and torture
cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I'm sorry to hear that. My suspicions are the same as those mentioned before, namely, that the editors don't find it newsworthy.

As for why the sample is improper--come on, it's 173 white evangelicals standing in the place of a population variously estimated to be between 26 and 39 percent of US adults. They'd never do it for a presidential election (well, yes, they would, they're always desperate for soundbites, but that doesn't make it proper statistics).

Now look at the skew. Not only has the nonwhite dimension apparently dropped out (at least it's not being considered under total evangelicals), but the sample is further skewed by the fact that the only people who are counted in that sample are people with the patience to get more than halfway into a phone poll that is ca. 30 minutes long, judging by the script I read. Seriously, who does that except the political diehards and people with an overdeveloped sense of poll responsibility? The form of the poll probably rules out most ordinary people (parents of small children, for instance) by its very length--and that required not at a time of their own choosing.

Which means they didn't get young evangeliclas (most of whom wouldn't have a land line for the poll takers to call). In my experience, younger evangelicals are vastly different to older evangelicals, particularly on political and social issues. Since I spend my days teaching young evangelicals in an evangelical setting, I think I'm seeing a pretty fair cross section of that population. I wonder, too, how broad the geographic distribution covered by the study might be (evangelicalism in America varies greatly from region to region). Coupled with the exclusion of nonwhite evangelicals, it's really measuring a very narrow skew. Which is fine-- studies can study very specific populations for specific reasons. The problem is the results are being applied to a much larger population, and that's just not accurate or true.

The biggest question is, again, the definition of "evangelical", a word that is so notoriously fluid in it's definition that there has been significant debate among the research community about how one can possibly undertake this sort of study. That doesn't make it a bad study-- just a difficult one. But it does mean that this research, like pretty much all research re: evangelicalism, needs to be bracketed by the definition it's using.

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Belle Ringer
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quote:
Originally posted by Horseman Bree:
Why is it that the groups that make the loudest noise about "Bible-centric" tend to be the ones that don't actually read any of the bits that most of us think are pretty central?

Every denomination ignores some parts of the Bible, moving things to just the past or just the future or other kinds of explaining away passages they don't like.

quote:
"Judge not lest ye be judged" was stated by a Person who had some claim to authority in that Bible, but judgment seems to be the highest duty of the anti-gays, the anti-blacks,...
The gals in my Bible study believe we are commanded to judge, Paul says kick a wrongdoer out of your group, for example. If God's most widespread, important, and most eternity affecting behavior is judgment (sending most people to hell) and we are to imitate God, then judging is the highest duty!

The enemies you are to love are *Christians* who mistreated you. Not people who have rejected God as proved by such things as their lifestyle or voting habits.
quote:
a subset of them want to set off the Rapture by force of arms in the Middle East.
Well, see, you are supposed to want Jesus' return more than anything else, more than you want world peace, which after all is a fake and deceptive peace because only God's peace is real. The way to end all the evil problems of this world is for Jesus to return and judge and condemn all the evil doers so we can be free of them at last, the sooner the better, and if we can help make that happen... Sigh, reminds me of Abraham helping God give him a son.

Some posts upthread have pointed out the common human ability to hold two opposing views simultaneously, but I'm talking about a very consistent mindset. Hell proves God is judgmental and punitive, when we judge and punish we join God in God's holy work.

A friend wrote a song that included a line "Jesus forgives us but only if we repent." I said that's not true, Jesus forgave everyone from the cross before anyone repented. She stuck out her jaw and said "that's what the Baptist church teaches."

And there you have it. You are forgiven and loved only if you repent. All the generous verses in the Bible are for only the repentant. Everyone else is unforgiven, which means guilty, which means deserves whatever harsh treatment falls on them.

This had been acted out throughout church history, lots of killing people just for not believing in God "rightly" meant they were "enemies" who "deserved punishment". The Puritans in Massachusetts killed any natives who wouldn't convert. You are one of us or you deserve the worse we can do to you, we represent God in punishing you.

I keep wondering - we use the same book but do we worship the same God?

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I just did a 30 second dip into Christianity Today's website and found a bunch of stuff on the subject--see http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/topics/t/torture/ (sorry,computer won't do URL for some reason). Maybe there's more out there and you just haven't seen it?

Possibly. Though I already took a look at CT - there is two or three articles that date back to the time of Abu Gahrib. There is a single article - quoting no one - on the most recent report. The other links are to references to torture occurring in the developing world and China over the last decade or so.
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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I just did a 30 second dip into Christianity Today's website and found a bunch of stuff on the subject--see http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/topics/t/torture/ (sorry,computer won't do URL for some reason). Maybe there's more out there and you just haven't seen it?

Possibly. Though I already took a look at CT - there is two or three articles that date back to the time of Abu Gahrib. There is a single article - quoting no one - on the most recent report. The other links are to references to torture occurring in the developing world and China over the last decade or so.
But that's what you want. You don't want just a flash-in-pan kneejerk response to the latest media blitz-- here today, gone tomorrow. You want a regular, consistent theme, emphasized repeatedly and applied in different situations/contexts.

CT is a monthly journal. The torture report came out only a week ago. I would prefer they take the time to do a thoughtful, well crafted response than just throw something up on the website fast to capitalize on the latest thing and then move on.

fwiw, I'm a CT subscriber. IMHO they are variable on these things-- some well crafted, thoughtful articles that challenge conventional, comfortable evangelical assumptions, as well as others that are predictable, easy answers. So I'm not saying that next month there'll be a great article that addresses the concerns raised here. I'm just saying it's too soon to say.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
But that's what you want. You don't want just a flash-in-pan kneejerk response to the latest media blitz-- here today, gone tomorrow. You want a regular, consistent theme, emphasized repeatedly and applied in different situations/contexts.

I really don't think they are particularly consistent. The other articles were mainly about persecution of religious minorities abroad. The average monthly news magazine (just to compare it with something like The Economist or even Newsweek) had far more articles on Abu Gahrib at the time.

Also, I don't think slicing and dicing the evangelical demographic in an attempt to prove that they are only as bad as the average american
is a winning strategy.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
But that's what you want. You don't want just a flash-in-pan kneejerk response to the latest media blitz-- here today, gone tomorrow. You want a regular, consistent theme, emphasized repeatedly and applied in different situations/contexts.

I really don't think they are particularly consistent. The other articles were mainly about persecution of religious minorities abroad. The average monthly news magazine (just to compare it with something like The Economist or even Newsweek) had far more articles on Abu Gahrib at the time.
.

But those are news magazines. CT is not-- it's a religious journal. Not an accurate comparison, really.


quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:

Also, I don't think slicing and dicing the evangelical demographic in an attempt to prove that they are only as bad as the average american is a winning strategy.

But it seems rather that the reverse is happening here-- slicing and dicing the evangelical demographic to prove they are worse than the average American. That can't be a winning strategy either.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:

Also, I don't think slicing and dicing the evangelical demographic in an attempt to prove that they are only as bad as the average american is a winning strategy.

A winning strategy relies on correctly diagnosing the problem. And according to the Washington Post,
it's not just evangelicals.

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Dave W.
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You realize that's exactly the same poll cited in the OP, right?

If it's any consolation, white non-evangelical protestants were even more supportive of CIA treatment (75%) than evangelical ones (69%). (Click here and show results by race/religion.)

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
You realize that's exactly the same poll cited in the OP, right?

If it's any consolation, white non-evangelical protestants were even more supportive of CIA treatment (75%) than evangelical ones (69%). (Click here and show results by race/religion.)

Yes, I do realize that. That was the point-- that a news source with a different agenda would read the stats differently. It kinda made my point for me.

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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
You realize that's exactly the same poll cited in the OP, right?

If it's any consolation, white non-evangelical protestants were even more supportive of CIA treatment (75%) than evangelical ones (69%). (Click here and show results by race/religion.)

Yes, I do realize that. That was the point-- that a news source with a different agenda would read the stats differently. It kinda made my point for me.
Well, perhaps - if you think "Nearly everyone approves of torture!" is an effective counter to "Evangelicals approve of torture more than most!"

Somewhat surprisingly, you've found an question in the poll that makes white evangelical Protestants look (relatively) worse than they do in the original question cited in the OP - according to the poll results, they're even more OK with "torture of suspected terrorists" than with "the CIA treatment of suspected terrorists." Perhaps they thought the CIA was too gentle.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
You realize that's exactly the same poll cited in the OP, right?

If it's any consolation, white non-evangelical protestants were even more supportive of CIA treatment (75%) than evangelical ones (69%). (Click here and show results by race/religion.)

Yes, I do realize that. That was the point-- that a news source with a different agenda would read the stats differently. It kinda made my point for me.
Well, perhaps - if you think "Nearly everyone approves of torture!" is an effective counter to "Evangelicals approve of torture more than most!"

As I said, I think correctly identifying the problem is key to finding the solution. As long as non-evangelical Protestants can point fingers at those hypocritical evangelicals, we won't address what's really going on-- which is something much, much broader and more insidious than just bad theology among evangelicals.

But hey, keep feeling good about yourself because you're not one of those nasty, hypocritical evangelicals.


quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:

Somewhat surprisingly, you've found an question in the poll that makes white evangelical Protestants look (relatively) worse than they do in the original question cited in the OP - according to the poll results, they're even more OK with "torture of suspected terrorists" than with "the CIA treatment of suspected terrorists." Perhaps they thought the CIA was too gentle.

And why is that surprising? My goal was not to make white evangelicals look better or worse. My goal was to get at what is really the core problem.

[ 19. December 2014, 04:23: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
But those are news magazines. CT is not-- it's a religious journal. Not an accurate comparison, really.

Yes, but it is a MORAL ISSUE. So the lack of coverage either suggests that they don't see it as such or don't think their readers would see it as such.
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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

As I said, I think correctly identifying the problem is key to finding the solution. As long as non-evangelical Protestants can point fingers at those hypocritical evangelicals, we won't address what's really going on-- which is something much, much broader and more insidious than just bad theology among evangelicals.

So when we do something good it's down to our niceness and morality, but when we do something bad it's down to cultural captivity ..
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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
Somewhat surprisingly, you've found an question in the poll that makes white evangelical Protestants look (relatively) worse than they do in the original question cited in the OP - according to the poll results, they're even more OK with "torture of suspected terrorists" than with "the CIA treatment of suspected terrorists." Perhaps they thought the CIA was too gentle.

And why is that surprising? My goal was not to make white evangelicals look better or worse. My goal was to get at what is really the core problem.
Sorry - I didn't mean to imply that I was surprised that you had found a more damning stat, nor that it had to do with white evangelical Protestants, specifically.

I was surprised that it existed - that there is a class of people who are more approving of "torture" than of "CIA treatment".

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sharkshooter

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quote:
Originally posted by Horseman Bree:
...
Given the "Christian" nature of the US, and the indication that Christians have behaviours barely distinguishable from "the rest", one gets at least 2 women each day, killed by their intimate partner who is Christian.
...

Sorry, no, you can't make that leap without evidence.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Barnabas62
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On a different tack entirely, I have sometimes wondered about the impact of the hugely popular '24' on people's perceptions. Jack Bauer's combination of courage and heroism, clear moral compass, patriotism and preparedness to use extreme violence in interrogations gave out the message of "horrible but may be necessary" so far as violent interrogations went.

Easy to believe when watching the series, which I still reckon had exceptional power to grip. The based-on-fact "Zero Dark 30" had a similar coded message re torture.

Yet the evidence is clear that violent interrogation is not effective as a way of getting at reliable information, though it is a reliable way of getting people to say almost anything they think will cause the torture to stop.

In '1984' there is an appalling scene in which O'Brien is torturing Winston Smith about the answer to the question "what is 2+2?". In extremis, Winston Smith cries out "four, five, anything you like, only please STOP". That's from memory. Although fiction, it makes the point which the report bears out.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
But those are news magazines. CT is not-- it's a religious journal. Not an accurate comparison, really.

Yes, but it is a MORAL ISSUE. So the lack of coverage either suggests that they don't see it as such or don't think their readers would see it as such.
I agree it's a moral issue-- those are the exact words I used. But there isn't a "lack of coverage"-- we presented evidence of coverage. The coverage just wasn't at the same level as the two news magazines you mentioned. I don't think comparing the coverage in a news magazine to that in a theological journal is an apt comparison.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

As I said, I think correctly identifying the problem is key to finding the solution. As long as non-evangelical Protestants can point fingers at those hypocritical evangelicals, we won't address what's really going on-- which is something much, much broader and more insidious than just bad theology among evangelicals.

So when we do something good it's down to our niceness and morality, but when we do something bad it's down to cultural captivity ..
At this point, we haven't identified the "why" because we're srill arguing over the "who". Every attempt at addressing the "why" so far has been addressed specifically at evangelicals-- we're looking at "what's wrong with evangelicals" that this could happen. But a closer look at the data shows this is not an "evangelical" problem. This is (at least) an American problem. (Actually, a religious problem-- atheists were one of the few groups that did fairly well on this issue). So whatever the solution that is suggested might be, it needs to begin by recognizing this is a problem that is common to virtually all religious Americans. That's helpful data. Comparing those few groups that didn't have the same problematic result with those who did is helpful data-- what's different about them, how do they discuss/teach/reflect on moral issues-- that will be helpful. But only if we first correctly identify who is in which group.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I agree it's a moral issue-- those are the exact words I used. But there isn't a "lack of coverage"-- we presented evidence of coverage. The coverage just wasn't at the same level as the two news magazines you mentioned. I don't think comparing the coverage in a news magazine to that in a theological journal is an apt comparison.

No. I would think that on moral issues, Christian magazines would have even more to say than news magazines that are merely reporting the facts, ma'am. We have three articles (some dating back years) dealing with the specific case of the US torturing prisoners, all the rest were on the 'persecuted church' that trope beloved of evangelicals everywhere.

You are welcome to search for some of the dead horse issues on the CT site - most of which have reams of articles associated with them.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I agree it's a moral issue-- those are the exact words I used. But there isn't a "lack of coverage"-- we presented evidence of coverage. The coverage just wasn't at the same level as the two news magazines you mentioned. I don't think comparing the coverage in a news magazine to that in a theological journal is an apt comparison.

No. I would think that on moral issues, Christian magazines would have even more to say than news magazines that are merely reporting the facts, ma'am. We have three articles (some dating back years) dealing with the specific case of the US torturing prisoners, all the rest were on the 'persecuted church' that trope beloved of evangelicals everywhere.

You are welcome to search for some of the dead horse issues on the CT site - most of which have reams of articles associated with them.

*shrug* I think you're comparing apples with solar panels.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I think you're comparing apples with solar panels.

I think the underlying issue is the imago dei, and our respect or lack of respect for it.
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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I think you're comparing apples with solar panels.

I think the underlying issue is the imago dei, and our respect or lack of respect for it.
Agreed. Although I fail to see how that follows from my comment about comparing different sorts of media.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I think you're comparing apples with solar panels.

I think the underlying issue is the imago dei, and our respect or lack of respect for it.
Agreed. Although I fail to see how that follows from my comment about comparing different sorts of media.
Apologies. I assumed you were calling them different forms of issues.

Assuming you are not, my last paragraph still stands. Compare the number of articles written on torture to the number of articles written on any number of dead horse issues in the CT.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I think you're comparing apples with solar panels.

I think the underlying issue is the imago dei, and our respect or lack of respect for it.
Agreed. Although I fail to see how that follows from my comment about comparing different sorts of media.
Apologies. I assumed you were calling them different forms of issues.

Assuming you are not, my last paragraph still stands. Compare the number of articles written on torture to the number of articles written on any number of dead horse issues in the CT.

Oh, I see your point. Not enough for me to get outraged about, but yeah, I get what you're saying. I wasn't following before.

Just out of curiosity: have you actually counted the number of times CT ran an article re any one particular dead horse issue (as compared to torture)?

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

Just out of curiosity: have you actually counted the number of times CT ran an article re any one particular dead horse issue (as compared to torture)?

I did. They are all handily tagged up - and someone who has a CT online sub was kind enough to check that the search results were identical in each case.
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cliffdweller
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Was the dead horse issue abortion? That would indeed be ironic-- and sad.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
Was the dead horse issue abortion?

That was the first thing I looked at, yes. There were others also.
Posts: 4035 | From: Berkshire | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Belle Ringer:
Pro-life is a partial expression of the deeper belief "you deserve the consequences of your actions".

...that is what "pro-life" means to a loud subset of Christians. Pro *innocent* lives, not pro all lives. The non-innocent - including all non-Christians but most actively anyone who opposes USA, capitalism, or Christians - deserve to be hurt as hard and as often as anyone cares to inflict. It's what is right. It's justice. It's the just consequence of their behavior.

That's what I hear when I read "pro-life" in that kind of article or setting. It's taken me a long time to understand why "pro-life" means "pro-death penalty." To the gals in that Bible study, there is no contradiction, it's all about justice, God wants us to protect the innocent and punish the guilty.

Love is subordinate to justice. God does not love and welcome sinners, they get justice. We should imitate God.

And isn't that the conclusion you have to come to if you believe God sends most of humanity to eternal torture? If God so hates his enemies he treats them with utter viciousness, then "love your enemies" doesn't mean what it sounds like to childish ears. It actually means imitate God by giving them the punishment they deserve.

Maybe if they suffer enough the consequences of their actions they'll repent of their evil ways and turn to God and escape hell? .

Underneath the surface question of how the labels ("pro-life", "justice") are used and mis-used, seems to me that the underlying mindset that you're describing is that of Islaamic terrorism. It is revealed religion's Dark Side.

Dark Side religion taps into the worst impulses of the human psyche - the urge to hate, to torture, to kill - and seeks to harness them to the service of the religious movement.

Whether the label that you torture for is "Christian America", "Islamic State", or "Catholic Spain", the same Dark logic is in play.

Best wishes,

Russ

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Horseman Bree
Shipmate
# 5290

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So it would appear that the "no religion" group have a better understanding of the teachings of Jesus than do the Christians, despite their not having had formal religious teaching.

This would appear to indicate that, at least on this issue, Christian teaching has a negative effect rather than a positive one.

Would there be any chance that asking a question of the form "Given that torture has been proven ineffective in getting useful information, do you think torture is justified in all/some/no cases?" would give a different overall result?

Or is torture seen principally as a form of punishing people who are Not Like Us?

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It's Not That Simple

Posts: 5372 | From: more herring choker than bluenose | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
rolyn
Shipmate
# 16840

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Imperialism justifies torture against those viewed as a threat to Imperialistic ambition. Ancient, and not so ancient, cultures justified it for entertainment, although the victim would usually have to be someone disapproved of for some reason.

Torture is, as Russ, says a product the Dark Side. What makes it all the more disturbing is just how easily that dark side can be tapped into. Induced fear is the really big player for this process to happen.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

Posts: 3206 | From: U.K. | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Horseman Bree:
So it would appear that the "no religion" group have a better understanding of the teachings of Jesus than do the Christians, despite their not having had formal religious teaching.

This would appear to indicate that, at least on this issue, Christian teaching has a negative effect rather than a positive one.

Think these are actually alternative explanations rather than one following from the other.

Of the two, I favour the first. Those in America (as in other western countries) who do not self-identify as Christian, who neither pray nor study the Bible, nor attend church on Sundays, nonetheless are the heirs of more than a millennium of Christian tradition. Whether they have formally rejected the practice of religion, or simply absorbed from the culture the idea that religion is about pre-scientific ways of thinking whereas we are modern humans who seek to understand the world through cause-and-effect relationships susceptible to scientific inquiry, their ideas of what is good are a mix of Christian ideas and the ideas of thinkers familiar with and critical of the Christian tradition.

I suggest that contrary to evangelical myth, many of the unchurched are not waiting in ignorance for someone to bring them the good news, but rather looking down on Christianity as something superseded,

The "no religion" group have a heritage of Christian thought without the baggage of folk-religion, and so may indeed see more clearly the wrongness of torture.

(By a small margin, on average, etc - people vary within each group)

Best wishes,

Russ

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Alogon
Cabin boy emeritus
# 5513

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
This is the same part of the church that has given us TV evangelists and wonky worship songs. Inflicting pain on others is part of their heritage.

As an additional irony, they tend to regard it as an argument against Roman Catholicism that "the Office of the Inquisition still exists."

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Patriarchy (n.): A belief in original sin unaccompanied by a belief in God.

Posts: 7808 | From: West Chester PA | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged



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