What are the strengths and weaknesses of torture as far as the church is concerned?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Different churches have different views about the use of torture and violence. The traditional “peace churches” such as the Quakers, Amish and Mennonites, are opposed to violence in any form. The Roman Catholic church has historical condoned and used torture, notably in the Inquisition.

The first theological issue is that in Christianity, our lives in our earthly bodies are short and unimportant except in so far as they prepare our souls to be judged for an eternal future as damned or saved. Thus, the use of torture by the Inquisition could be justified as short term pain for long term benefit, just as uncomfortable medical procedures, such as a mastectomy or leg amputation may be necessary to save a life.

Similarly, torture could be part of the concept of the “just war”, in which certain circumstances are held to justify killing for a greater good.

Most contemporary Christians, however, oppose torture, under the grounds that one should "do unto others as one would have others do unto you" and "turn the other cheek" when attacked.