Torture/3What are the major critical issues regarding the topic 'Torture' and how the church is affected by them or vice vesa?

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rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The Catholic Church has a passage condemning torture in its official catechism. I don't know about other faiths, except to say that when the torture issue really emerged in 2008, an abundance of polls showed that evangelicals, especially in the South, overwhelmingly supported the use of waterboarding and other methods. As with the public at large, it seems to me that the disagreement over torture among religious groups has more to do with what actually constitutes torture than whether it is wrong in the abstract.

enotechris's profile pic

enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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As far as I know, no religion actually came out and professed they condemned the practice of torture, and we have at least one unfortunate era in the Catholic Church where it was tacitly condoned.

One of the brilliant points to the founding of the United States was that "cruel and unusual" punishments were forbidden.  Until recently, we held fast to that tenet.

The arguments that it's useful to extract information in a critical situation are false.  The purpose of torture, as brutally explained in George Orwell's 1984, is......torture.  Because we can.

I can think of no better reasons why laws must be instituted and upheld.  The argument that if it's made legal, then it's ok is false as well, since the very act violates the Rights of the victim.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I don't think that the modern day Church condones torture. Religion is supposed to be about forgiveness and love. When a person does something wrong, he or she confesses to the sin and is forgiven. I don't see any room for torture in that scenario. The person has to be the one to confess to get absolution.
literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I have to agree that if the church is following their texts, whatever it may be, then they should be against torture. Although, as readerofbooks points out, the world is simply not as clear cut as people would like it to be. I am sure that there have been instances of torture in many church's histories (the Crusades?).

readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Torture is not an easy topic to deal with on any level. From a religious point of view, the church should be opposed to torture, as the church should be an institution of love. However, the world is not as clear cut as people imagine. In light of this, we need to define what torture is first of all. Second, the church also needs to support the government in their decisions, so long as it does not go against the teachings of the church. This is a key reason why torture needs to be defined.

stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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There continues to be estrangement and conflicted feelings between the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and those of the Jewish faith in the aftermath of what the Catholic Church did or did not do with its knowledge and awareness of unfolding events in Nazi Germany. This is certainly another instance in which the church did not act in accordance with professed beliefs advocating that all should be treated with respect, compassion and justice.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I agree with other posters. The church is called to stand against injustice and that involves torture. It is a sad fact that the church and religion in general has so often been associated with torture in, for example, the Spanish Inquisition. This clearly was a very dark chapter of church history.

vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Generally churches (or various denominations) condemn torture, but an interesting case arises in what is sometimes called "the ticking bomb scenario." In this scenario, let's assume that by torturing one person the authorities can discover where an atomic bomb has been placed in a major city, when it is due to go off, and how to disarm it.  Would the church consider it legitimate to torture one person to obtain thus kind of information and thus prevent millions of persons from suffering?

Apparently, in the Catholic church at least, this issue is still up for discussion, as the following link suggests: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=7390&CFID=117107849&CFTOKEN=80943134

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Isn't the church affected by torture whenever torture is done with its consent?  Christians are called to work for justice in the world.  If torture is an injustice, then Christians are called to work against it.  If they keep silent when their government tortures people, they are complicit in the torture.  In this way, I would argue, it impacts the church.

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