Sunday, March 26, 2006


Religious Americans find torture less reprehensible than Non-believers

It turns out that secular people are less in favor of the use of torture than religious people in the United States across the board. This is flat astonishing. The numbers reveal a sort of disdain for the new testament amongst modern Christians. The numbers reveal a more compassionate and humanistic secular population than religious. Incredible. Pass this on, lets start a debate. What in the living hell is going on in this country?????????

“As followers of Jesus, we must state clearly and unequivocally that torture violates the basic human dignity afforded all of God’s children, and is never morally acceptable. On this two-year anniversary of the revelations of the cruel, inhumane and humiliating treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison -- the first of numerous revelations regarding institutionalized torture practices in the U.S. war on terrorism -- we reiterate our church’s profound respect for the dignity of all persons and reject as antithetical to Christianity any and all justifications for the use of torture.”- John Paul II


Dreamy said...

Nothing surprising there surely? The religious are the weak-brained fools who are unalbe to use reason, therefore can only use pain and violence as a means of progressing in this world.

VtPoet said...

Hey A.,

I was just wondering whether you saw this statistic. I wasn't surprised, though I *was* surprised by the disparity!

Don't forget, as you yourself pointed out with your very first post, that the better part of the Christian myth is driven my a bloodthirsty god with little tolerance for dissension. Hell is the reward for disobedience, an eternal damnation which is a relished source of inspiration (among Christians) for the most twisted, tortuous and cruel torments imaginable. Many seem to revel in the blood letting and agony. Just take a look at the recent Christian doomsday novels wherein Christ returns only to explode his enemies in clouds of blood with the merest hint of his voice.

Now I ask you: Is it any wonder?

Aaron said...

It's not at all any wonder, actually. Whats mesmerizing is that the religious cannot see or acknowledge their own duplicity. If you brought this stat up on, say, Michael Medved's show, he would have some amazing and twisted rebuttal to turn it back against you. There's so much denial and hypocrisy it's maddening. I just hope sam harris hasn't already finished his book, because this stat will fit perfectly into it. His next book will tackle the myth that cultures require religion to be moral.

Charles said...

I think the duplicity is tied to the "buy-in", I consider myself to be a Christian but only in the same way that I'm Jungian, or Emmersonian. I can find no good reason to accept the resurrection and ascension other than metaphorically. However, I find much of what the eastern Mediterranean 1st century Jewish peasant stood for is acceptable. The Christ of St. Matthew is my fave, I see him as activist and general bane to existing power structure, he recognized the marginalized in his community, was mindful of the trappings of wealth and power, (Ironic huh?) never spoke explicitly of heaven being some place you go to when you die, etc. This is all good stuff. The “buy-in” of his divinity and the subsequent misrepresentation of his most basic teachings through the institution of the church is where the real tragedy lies. I agree with Sam Harris about the creeping theocracy in this country and yes, Aaron duplicity is ever abundant. I do my part in the classroom to prepare young folks to fight the good fight. What more shall I do?

Aaron said...

I like the mystical Christ of John, considered by some to be a gnostic gospel. But nothing is simpler than the sermon on the mount.

Also, consider that this poll only included every tom dick and harry who claimed to be religious. That doesn't lessen the lunacy of the outcome though.

What do you do? Just teach kids how important it is to think critically and how easy it is to be fooled. When I rail against fundamentalism, I always stop to remind myself that I was one when I was 15. I happened to have been pretty good with self reflection and curiosity- which saved me from staying there for any length of time. I don't understand why some people don't have those attributes. Some of these people are extremely bright scholars like Medved.

Also, I think this poll illustrates the illusion of Christian moderation. There's absolutely no way you can care about Christianity as a real thing with a real Christ and a real son of God and a real spiritual teacher, and still take a stance for torture. No way.

When I said that there were times when torture may be ethical, I wasn't necessarily talking about any of the ways our military has used it. It would appear that torture is not working at all, and that the info they get is not reliable anyways. Especially when you are torturing people who are not afraid to die and who believe they will be rewarded for their suffering.

If someone planted a nuke somewhere in manhattan that only he knows the location of, then yes, by all means do whatever it takes to find out where.

charles said...

The illusion of moderation? Can you explain? I think the kneejerk reaction to situations you suggest tug at impulses more human than most, (an overwhelming MOST )religious folk care to overcome. Religion simply doesn't serve that purpose for them.

When asked about the use of toture, I usually imagine the scenario you offer, and I would do it. I don't think that religious moderates shrink away from the notion of trying to be right all the time, as their fundie cohorts seem intoxicated with. The majority I think just prefer the NT over the OT. So they cherry pick the passages they like and endorse and defend them vigorously. My own version is so watered down that it doesn't even qualify as moderate.

Aaron said...

I think that a Christian way of life (as detailed by Jesus) is a radical and uncompromising lifestyle. Some moderates use Jesus as a template for their moral yearnings and this is fine with me. Other moderates claim to know what Jesus and Christianity are all about without really reading the bible and these people scare me. They turn a blind eye to fundamentalism becuase they really don't know any better nor do they care to find out. These sorts of people tend to want the worldly life and the hope of heaven simultaeously. I repeat- Christianity is a radical lifestyle or it is little to nothing at all, if the religioun is taken seriously. The duplicity comes from those who use Jesus as a moral template, then stray from it for certain things (like torture) or cherry pick passages to support prosperity seeking. Watch TBN, you'll notice that roughly 50% of the sermons are about financial prosperity and the other 505 are about end-times and personal relationships. This is sooo majoring on the minors of Christianity it is simply laughable.