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Author Topic: To Torture or Not to Torture...that is the essay question.  (Read 2462 times) Average Rating: 0
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LizaSymonenko
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« on: June 02, 2013, 09:24:34 PM »


Last week, driving to Liturgy Sunday morning, my nephew asked me about torture, and what my thoughts were on it.

I figured this must stem from all the video games, the terrorist attacks lately, etc.

I told him that it would be wrong to torture someone, because Christ told us to love our enemies, etc.

So, he posed this question:  What if an individual had set a bomb somewhere, that would kill thousands of people - guaranteed, and this person was apprehended, but, would not divulge the location of this bomb.  Would it be okay to torture this person in order to get the information, and thereby, save thousands of innocent lives?

I didn't know how to answer.  Again, I would say no.  What makes the lives of the thousand worth more than the life of the terrorist.  Yes, I know...all passions aside, because my gut would tell me to rip his head off....but, I know that would not be the "right" thing to do.

...and yet...a chance to save thousands of lives.  AHHHH!!!!

So, then I started thinking that Christ said that no man had greater love than he gives his life for another.  Perhaps I could twist this logic into realizing that I were doing wrong by torturing this individual, and yet I would be willing to "sin"(give my life) in order to save thousands....

....and yet, there's the good shepherd, who leaves his thousands to go and save the one that is lost.

I kind of talked about it and left it up in the air....because this answer was way beyond me.

So, today, once again we were driving to church and he brings it up again.  I kind of frown and ask what's with the fascination with torture.

It seems this is a school assignment.  He's in 9th Grade....can he possibly be able to answer such a difficult question?

Honestly, hearing that this was an assignment, kind of angered me.  Why put this burden on 15 year old kids?  What do they know?

My nephew has been "battling" all week to figure out which side to take in this debate.  He takes it seriously.  He ended being on the side of torture because that's the side for which he could find more statistical data, and he wanted a good grade.  However, when I mentioned that he could also find data siting that torture doesn't guarantee the correct answer, only an answer....he was again deflated.  He couldn't start over because he needs to present his paper on Tuesday.  Not enough time.

However, this whole topic now weighs on him, and I can only imagine on the other kids.  To stand up and state that it's okay to torture a human being is a lot of pressure.  To stand up and to say you would willingly sacrifice the lives of thousands is also a lot of pressure.

I'm upset that they have to mull such heavy topics at such a young age.  They can't even drive yet.  They can't vote.  They've hardly "lived", and to put such a burden on them seems wrong.....but, then that might just be the "godmother" in me.  Smiley

What is the correct answer?

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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 09:32:37 PM »

I would kick him in a certain place until he talked.

Really, the only difficulty involved in this lies in interrogation techniques.

If he wants a good grade, he should take the most inane position and back it up, playing to the teacher's stylistic preferences.

EDIT: It's completely nuts that people are trying to weigh moral options in such a scenario.
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 09:36:05 PM »

We are in a fallen world.  Follow your conscience.  Find it in yourself to be grateful that there are people out there that care enough for you that they would do what it takes to protect you.  Once you decide to play the war game, there are no rules.  Is skinning a person alive to get the information needed to save thousands really any worse than burning his skin off with napalm or white phosphorus?  Or blowing his limbs off with a cluster bomb, or his children's legs off with a mine?  What about just simple shooting him in the stomach and letting him die over the next six to eight hours (or days)?  All these things happen in war.  Torture?  Really, what is torture?  Are we really going to split hairs on what is more evil than something else when what we are discussing is evil in the first place?  All rules of war do is give advantage to the enemy.  If you have to kill, do it in a manner that gets it done in the least amount of time with the least number of casualties.  And if that means a few people need to be tortured to reduce that number, so be it.  Look at the people who survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  That wasn't torture?  Yet we consider that a price to pay to have saved 5 Million lives - 4 Million of those belonging to the enemy.  Why should we spare 15 year old kids that discussion?  In three more years they will be able to decide for themselves if they want to play the war game.  What you tell them now may determine what they decide.
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013, 11:19:55 AM »

We are in a fallen world.  Follow your conscience.  Find it in yourself to be grateful that there are people out there that care enough for you that they would do what it takes to protect you.  Once you decide to play the war game, there are no rules.  Is skinning a person alive to get the information needed to save thousands really any worse than burning his skin off with napalm or white phosphorus?  Or blowing his limbs off with a cluster bomb, or his children's legs off with a mine?  What about just simple shooting him in the stomach and letting him die over the next six to eight hours (or days)?  All these things happen in war.  Torture?  Really, what is torture?  Are we really going to split hairs on what is more evil than something else when what we are discussing is evil in the first place?  All rules of war do is give advantage to the enemy.  If you have to kill, do it in a manner that gets it done in the least amount of time with the least number of casualties.  And if that means a few people need to be tortured to reduce that number, so be it.  Look at the people who survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  That wasn't torture?  Yet we consider that a price to pay to have saved 5 Million lives - 4 Million of those belonging to the enemy.  Why should we spare 15 year old kids that discussion?  In three more years they will be able to decide for themselves if they want to play the war game.  What you tell them now may determine what they decide.
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2013, 01:32:14 PM »

The ticking time bomb is an old scenario.

Also, what is torture?  A friend told me that when they were in the sandbox some Muj wouldn't tell them where the IEDs were so they opened up an MRE pack of ham and force fed it to him then put an M9 to his head.  Do not pass go, do not collect 72 virgins, go straight to Hell.  It turns out the turd did know where the IEDs were.  They gave him to a mullah to purify and everything was cool.  No one really got hurt.
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 01:44:38 PM »


I know.

My gut tells me to do what is necessary to save the thousands....and yet, I know that we aren't always supposed to do what our gut tells us.  Smiley

...and yes, I do realize that it happens, and that we are "better off" because it does, and perhaps ours are a few of those thousand lives that have already been saved by torturing someone.
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2013, 01:55:43 PM »

I believe that diplomacy cannot be fully appreciated unless one fully understands the horror of the alternative.
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2013, 02:15:22 PM »

I believe that diplomacy cannot be fully appreciated unless one fully understands the horror of the alternative.

Unfortunately (and here's my cynicism showing through), far too few people have that understanding, and the way to acquire it is, well...pretty horrific.
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2013, 02:51:31 PM »

Doesn't matter because torture isn't and has never been a good method of acquiring information from someone. Break a man down and he will tell you whatever you want to hear just to end the pain--even if it is not true. Such is the case with many people confessing to crimes they did not commit because of how harsh interrogation was.
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2013, 03:11:00 PM »

Doesn't matter because torture isn't and has never been a good method of acquiring information from someone. Break a man down and he will tell you whatever you want to hear just to end the pain--even if it is not true. Such is the case with many people confessing to crimes they did not commit because of how harsh interrogation was.

Torture is not effective on the person being tortured.  Nor is it a good means of getting information from him.  It is more effective on the people who hear his screams.   
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2013, 03:47:52 PM »

I think the question is an excellent one for a 9th grader.  Too many schools just have the kids memorize and spew back out facts.  It sounds as if the teacher wants to get the kids to THINK.

In regards to the question, I think valid arguments can be made both ways, largely depending on the individual situation.  I would be naturally adverse to torture as a matter of principle, but I recognize that governments often have to do distasteful and disagreeable things in order to protect their citizenry.
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2013, 03:57:28 PM »

Doesn't matter because torture isn't and has never been a good method of acquiring information from someone. Break a man down and he will tell you whatever you want to hear just to end the pain--even if it is not true. Such is the case with many people confessing to crimes they did not commit because of how harsh interrogation was.

You're not quoting that from "24" or something, are you??

Thing is, not all "torture" involves pain. 
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2013, 04:04:15 PM »

Sometimes the very difficult answer in these cases are correct.

But of course, one has to define where to cross the line on torture.  One also has to find out whether torture or non-physical torturous measures are more statistically successful in getting information.  One can argue, depending on what "torture" means, that torture might actually delay saving those people, rather than finding a quick answer to save them.

So for the purposes of the essay, define torture, investigate whether certain "torturous" methods were more effective than "other non-torturous methods", define the "red line" of what not to do while getting the correct information based on the investigation of research, and make a conclusion answering the question "to torture or not to torture".

If the teenager is not graded for accuracy, but for grammar and good flow of argumentation and syntax, then I encourage him to "BS" his essay.  But if he is serious about the question, then, ya, do the research.
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2013, 11:02:42 PM »

In situations like this there are two ways I think of it.

1) The world is confusing enough.  No need for hypothetics.  (It's also almost illogical to KNOW "somebody planted a bomb somewhere for SURE", but have no idea where, but yet knows it will kill 1000s.)

2) You would mostly only worry about being in this situation if you were "part of this world".   We were "set apart from this world", we were told "the children of the world are evil", and we were told "be not of this world".   We were also told in scriptures "to mind ones own business/affairs".  If you are a cop/military you are "part of this world".

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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2013, 11:14:16 PM »

In situations like this there are two ways I think of it.

1) The world is confusing enough.  No need for hypothetics.  (It's also almost illogical to KNOW "somebody planted a bomb somewhere for SURE", but have no idea where, but yet knows it will kill 1000s.)

2) You would mostly only worry about being in this situation if you were "part of this world".   We were "set apart from this world", we were told "the children of the world are evil", and we were told "be not of this world".   We were also told in scriptures "to mind ones own business/affairs".  If you are a cop/military you are "part of this world".



And when someone kidnaps your wife or children, you become part of the world very quickly. 
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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2013, 11:53:23 PM »

In situations like this there are two ways I think of it.

1) The world is confusing enough.  No need for hypothetics.  (It's also almost illogical to KNOW "somebody planted a bomb somewhere for SURE", but have no idea where, but yet knows it will kill 1000s.)

2) You would mostly only worry about being in this situation if you were "part of this world".   We were "set apart from this world", we were told "the children of the world are evil", and we were told "be not of this world".   We were also told in scriptures "to mind ones own business/affairs".  If you are a cop/military you are "part of this world".



And when someone kidnaps your wife or children, you become part of the world very quickly. 

Very true, desperate people will do desperate things. 
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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2013, 11:59:35 PM »

In situations like this there are two ways I think of it.

1) The world is confusing enough.  No need for hypothetics.  (It's also almost illogical to KNOW "somebody planted a bomb somewhere for SURE", but have no idea where, but yet knows it will kill 1000s.)

2) You would mostly only worry about being in this situation if you were "part of this world".   We were "set apart from this world", we were told "the children of the world are evil", and we were told "be not of this world".   We were also told in scriptures "to mind ones own business/affairs".  If you are a cop/military you are "part of this world".


And when someone kidnaps your wife or children, you become part of the world very quickly. 

Oh, yes.  Doesn't matter what they do to you....but, if someone touches a loved one....God help them.

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« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2013, 12:53:13 AM »

The ticking time bomb is an old scenario.

Also, what is torture?  A friend told me that when they were in the sandbox some Muj wouldn't tell them where the IEDs were so they opened up an MRE pack of ham and force fed it to him then put an M9 to his head.  Do not pass go, do not collect 72 virgins, go straight to Hell.  It turns out the turd did know where the IEDs were.  They gave him to a mullah to purify and everything was cool.  No one really got hurt.

Right...because that couldn't possibly have caused serious psychological trauma to him...
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« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2013, 02:12:03 AM »

Dear Liza,

I wish everyone thought as deeply about and agonized as much over this issue as you have. I believe that it is evidence of true Christian character to be uncertain and wrestle with such complex issues of life and death, torture, human rights, etc. Some things are clearly wrong, like abortion. But examples like this one are much more complex. So, FWIW, I will offer my two cents:

I think the Christian act is to always err on the side of never actively harming or killing anyone. God is in sovereign control of the potentialities and the consequences. Christ has instructed us to actively love all people, even those who are evil. We assume that torture would save thousands of lives. But what if rather than torturing this individual we loved him and preached Christ to him? Perhaps his heart would be converted and those thousands of lives would still be saved. We know that the truth and love of the gospel has power to save anyone. So my answer would be to trust in the spiritual power of love and the eternal power of the gospel rather than in the temporal power of torture and violence.

Ultimately, God will avenge the innocent and recompense the evildoer. I don't think we will be condemned on Judgment Day for trusting in the power of love and nonviolence rather than in the power of our own violent force.

Just my thoughts.


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« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2013, 08:56:55 AM »

Perhaps you are correct.  We will see one day.  However, I believe that God will judge those that stood by while the innocent were slaughtered the same as He will judge those that slaughtered them.  That is the basic difference in philosophy that causes such a divergence in our opinions.


Dear Liza,

I wish everyone thought as deeply about and agonized as much over this issue as you have. I believe that it is evidence of true Christian character to be uncertain and wrestle with such complex issues of life and death, torture, human rights, etc. Some things are clearly wrong, like abortion. But examples like this one are much more complex. So, FWIW, I will offer my two cents:

I think the Christian act is to always err on the side of never actively harming or killing anyone. God is in sovereign control of the potentialities and the consequences. Christ has instructed us to actively love all people, even those who are evil. We assume that torture would save thousands of lives. But what if rather than torturing this individual we loved him and preached Christ to him? Perhaps his heart would be converted and those thousands of lives would still be saved. We know that the truth and love of the gospel has power to save anyone. So my answer would be to trust in the spiritual power of love and the eternal power of the gospel rather than in the temporal power of torture and violence.

Ultimately, God will avenge the innocent and recompense the evildoer. I don't think we will be condemned on Judgment Day for trusting in the power of love and nonviolence rather than in the power of our own violent force.

Just my thoughts.


Selam
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« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2013, 09:27:27 AM »

The ticking time bomb is an old scenario.

Also, what is torture?  A friend told me that when they were in the sandbox some Muj wouldn't tell them where the IEDs were so they opened up an MRE pack of ham and force fed it to him then put an M9 to his head.  Do not pass go, do not collect 72 virgins, go straight to Hell.  It turns out the turd did know where the IEDs were.  They gave him to a mullah to purify and everything was cool.  No one really got hurt.

Right...because that couldn't possibly have caused serious psychological trauma to him...

And how much psychological trauma does a wife, a mother, a child, a father, a friend go through when their loved one comes back home missing his legs or his eyes?  Or most of his skin burnt off like the one guy this person is still friends with on Facebook. 

I bet you the ham was less traumatizing then the M9 to both his kneecaps would have been.  It was also WAY more effective.
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« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2013, 09:40:54 AM »

Perhaps you are correct.  We will see one day.  However, I believe that God will judge those that stood by while the innocent were slaughtered the same as He will judge those that slaughtered them.  That is the basic difference in philosophy that causes such a divergence in our opinions.


Dear Liza,

I wish everyone thought as deeply about and agonized as much over this issue as you have. I believe that it is evidence of true Christian character to be uncertain and wrestle with such complex issues of life and death, torture, human rights, etc. Some things are clearly wrong, like abortion. But examples like this one are much more complex. So, FWIW, I will offer my two cents:

I think the Christian act is to always err on the side of never actively harming or killing anyone. God is in sovereign control of the potentialities and the consequences. Christ has instructed us to actively love all people, even those who are evil. We assume that torture would save thousands of lives. But what if rather than torturing this individual we loved him and preached Christ to him? Perhaps his heart would be converted and those thousands of lives would still be saved. We know that the truth and love of the gospel has power to save anyone. So my answer would be to trust in the spiritual power of love and the eternal power of the gospel rather than in the temporal power of torture and violence.

Ultimately, God will avenge the innocent and recompense the evildoer. I don't think we will be condemned on Judgment Day for trusting in the power of love and nonviolence rather than in the power of our own violent force.

Just my thoughts.


Selam

...and therein lies the dilemma.

If it were merely "my" life on the line, that would be one thing.

But, this is thousands of lives.

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« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2013, 09:49:13 AM »

Why is torture such a no no? Judicial torture was an intrinsic part of the Roman legal system and was retained by the Byzantines.

I suppose the reasoning is that you can't trust a confession that was coerced by torture, but you can trust it when it's not forced. This apparently didn't occur to the ancients. I think that as long as the case against the accused rests on more than just a confession you should be able to incorporate torture into the investigative process.
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« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2013, 09:49:20 AM »

Thanks goodness for summer breaks, amirite?  Wink
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« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2013, 10:17:32 AM »

I believe the issue is that we incorrectly believe that we live in a world where there is always a right and wrong answer.

Sometimes we have to choose between two good things and we have to give a good thing to get another good thing (basically the dilema of marriage and monasticism).

Sometimes we have to choose between two bad things. One thing that I have noticed that immobilizes some people from coming out of the mess they made with their lives (and that from my own experience), is that we think we can go from sinner to saint with a fiat of will. If God were *really* good, He would put us in St. Paul's situation and move us from persecutor to saint in a second: a good and a bad choice, we would just have to choose the good one.

That's not so. When you're the swamp, the first step out of the swamp is still in the swamp. It takes time until you get to solid ground and even there you're still dirty and in need of washing. You still will have to walk a good length in that condition until you get clean water. Maybe some more before you get clean clothes. Yes, it is annoying that there are "Pauls" in life, but God does not give that to everybody. For most of us it is struggle from craddle to grave.

That is also related with the problem of evil and why we see God actually demanding evil things in the OT. I don't think He demands them because he wants them, or because He likes them, bu because, given the free-will He gave humanty, Humanity puts itself in a condition where even God can choose only between a lesser or greater evil.
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« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2013, 10:34:10 AM »

As to the moral question posed by the teacher.

1 - I don't know if torture guarantees truthfulness in that kind of information. People from intelligence service must (or at least should) have studies on that.

2 - *If* we work under the assumption that torture works, I'm sorry to say but the choice is between two evils: being the cause of death and pain to hundreds by omission or being the cause of death and pain to one by action. It's immoral to say that causing evil by action or omission is better or worse, they are both heinous. We can't decide based on our actions being good or bad. The terrorist put us in a situation where any action will be bad. But morality is not in *us* only or in our actions only. This attention on ourselves only is why terrorism is succesful in paralyzing moral societies. It's a small crack of egotism in an overral solid shield of ethics and that's what terrorists use.

3 - We have to balance morality on other issues as well: justice and number.
3a) What is more just? That an aggressors whose intention is to kill hundreds suffer, or that hundreds of innocents suffer?
3b) What is worse? That one suffer or that many suffer?

4 - If the answers for 3a and 3b are (yes), then, in this case, and under the assumption that torture will provide a truthful answer, then, I'm afraid to say, torture is the least bad way to go.

5 - Still there are tortures and tortures. I doubt that skinning the guy will lead him to give the answer. Who doesn't remember the kid who would lie even if the parents or siblings were beating them? What the interrogators want to achieve is information, not just relief of the stressful situation. Even if strength of some sort is used, a panel of intelligence and military specialists should evaluate what and how it happened. Maybe, the excess of torture is what prevented the terrorist from speaking. This sort of detailed analysis of the abyss should be left for the specialists.
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« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2013, 10:34:29 AM »

That is also related with the problem of evil and why we see God actually demanding evil things in the OT. I don't think He demands them because he wants them, or because He likes them, bu because, given the free-will He gave humanty, Humanity puts itself in a condition where even God can choose only between a lesser or greater evil.

Does God ever demand evil?  Isn't everything done by God good by definition?  Or, are we judging the will of God with our own fallen consciences?  God could have struck down those that he told the Israelites to smite.  But he had Israel do it by His command.  Who knows the reason?  We are not God.
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« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2013, 10:42:24 AM »

I believe that the issue there is that we think that choosing the smaller evil is evil. It's not.

In having a situation where you have to choose to do evil to an evil person or to a good one, choosing the evil one is good, not because the act itself is good, but because you kept hate of evil at center and chose what was less evil.

The kind of violence we see in the OT was about that. And a lot of the weight we forgot about the Good News, is that they include the news that such genocidical violence was no longer necessary in pro-active manner, at most, as self-defense.


That is also related with the problem of evil and why we see God actually demanding evil things in the OT. I don't think He demands them because he wants them, or because He likes them, bu because, given the free-will He gave humanty, Humanity puts itself in a condition where even God can choose only between a lesser or greater evil.

Does God ever demand evil?  Isn't everything done by God good by definition?  Or, are we judging the will of God with our own fallen consciences?  God could have struck down those that he told the Israelites to smite.  But he had Israel do it by His command.  Who knows the reason?  We are not God.
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« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2013, 04:51:24 PM »

This is probably somewhat of a selfish answer, but....

If I were put in this scenario, I would not torture the enemy and try as hard as I can to save the people before the bomb goes off. I don't think that ends justify the means. At least if the people die, I will know that it was out of my control and that I at least tried to do the right thing and will have a clear conscience, whereas, if I torture the man and save them, I'll have had to have resorted to unjust means in the process.

Personally, I think that all of these ethical "dilemmas" are a bunch of bogus because they usually focus on a set of circumstances that would rarely (if ever) happen and expect you to try to rationalize something that isn't rational or possible in the first place. For example, they often start off with "and you couldn't do ANYTHING else other than the two options!" Well that's stupid--when would I be in a situation where those were my only two options? You could always at least TRY something different--a third party option--even if you fail at it.
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« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2013, 05:57:20 PM »

3 - We have to balance morality on other issues as well: justice and number.
to hell with justice or whatever we call justice.

justice will not make me less miserable. whatever men under the spiritually draining world we called class society think of justice generally reduces to getting drunk out of retribution

im glad people value men less than maggots in this thread, but i cannot stand for men to be blasted into torture chambers

the responses in this thread are nothing short of horrific but not really surprising from the usual suspects.

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« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2013, 06:07:16 PM »

but I recognize that governments often have to do distasteful and disagreeable things in order to protect their citizenry.

of course. defend your class society built upon violence. get drunk in blood like everyone else. good to those that had their spirits deformed to save "thousands" and "millions".
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« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2013, 07:03:19 PM »

but I recognize that governments often have to do distasteful and disagreeable things in order to protect their citizenry.

of course. defend your class society built upon violence. get drunk in blood like everyone else. good to those that had their spirits deformed to save "thousands" and "millions" and billions of dollars.

Fixed that up for you.
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« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2013, 07:42:20 PM »

but I recognize that governments often have to do distasteful and disagreeable things in order to protect their citizenry.

of course. defend your class society built upon violence. get drunk in blood like everyone else. good to those that had their spirits deformed to save "thousands" and "millions" and billions and trillions of dollars.

Fixed that up for you.

Fixed that one up for you too Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: June 04, 2013, 07:57:02 PM »

but I recognize that governments often have to do distasteful and disagreeable things in order to protect their citizenry.

of course. defend your class society built upon violence. get drunk in blood like everyone else. good to those that had their spirits deformed to save "thousands" and "millions" and billions of dollars.

Fixed that up for you.
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« Reply #34 on: June 04, 2013, 08:01:19 PM »


im glad people value men less than maggots in this thread


I am afraid that after watching the activities of man on this planet for 52 years, and being a student of History, I do value mankind less than maggots.  Maggots at least perform a useful function.  I have not seen what man does other than destroy.  Nothing that man has created or done matches the natural beauty that was created by God, but everything man touches is tarnished by his sin.  The maggot has never rejected his creator, nor did it crucify Him.  In that regard the maggot, yea even the fecal matter on which he feeds, is greater than man.  Perhaps if I truly understood the Incarnation I would think differently.  But I don't.  And I don't know if I ever will.



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« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2013, 08:42:21 PM »

In situations like this there are two ways I think of it.

1) The world is confusing enough.  No need for hypothetics.  (It's also almost illogical to KNOW "somebody planted a bomb somewhere for SURE", but have no idea where, but yet knows it will kill 1000s.)

2) You would mostly only worry about being in this situation if you were "part of this world".   We were "set apart from this world", we were told "the children of the world are evil", and we were told "be not of this world".   We were also told in scriptures "to mind ones own business/affairs".  If you are a cop/military you are "part of this world".


And when someone kidnaps your wife or children, you become part of the world very quickly. 

Oh, yes.  Doesn't matter what they do to you....but, if someone touches a loved one....God help them.



Dunno,

Some Anabaptist martyrs (from RC & Protestants) apparently were in a large line to be martyred.   They passed their young children back to their brothers and sisters asking the next in line to raise their children.  While they took the husband, wife, and older children to be executed.

My faith is weak, and you are right, I most likely would cave into the worldly ways.  I have a lot to work on with faith.
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« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2013, 08:46:02 PM »


im glad people value men less than maggots in this thread


I am afraid that after watching the activities of man on this planet for 52 years, and being a student of History, I do value mankind less than maggots.  Maggots at least perform a useful function.  I have not seen what man does other than destroy.  Nothing that man has created or done matches the natural beauty that was created by God, but everything man touches is tarnished by his sin.  The maggot has never rejected his creator, nor did it crucify Him.  In that regard the maggot, yea even the fecal matter on which he feeds, is greater than man.  Perhaps if I truly understood the Incarnation I would think differently.  But I don't.  And I don't know if I ever will.

Well man doesn't create..... But with this understanding, I fully disagree.   As I watch the beauty of my children, I am humbled.   The things created by children are incredibly beautiful.




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« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2013, 08:47:37 PM »


im glad people value men less than maggots in this thread


I am afraid that after watching the activities of man on this planet for 52 years, and being a student of History, I do value mankind less than maggots.  Maggots at least perform a useful function.  I have not seen what man does other than destroy.  Nothing that man has created or done matches the natural beauty that was created by God, but everything man touches is tarnished by his sin.  The maggot has never rejected his creator, nor did it crucify Him.  In that regard the maggot, yea even the fecal matter on which he feeds, is greater than man.  Perhaps if I truly understood the Incarnation I would think differently.  But I don't.  And I don't know if I ever will.

Well man doesn't create..... But with this understanding, I fully disagree.   As I watch the beauty of my children, I am humbled.   The things created by children are incredibly beautiful.


Yet the greatest cruelty that I have witnessed is children dealing with other children.  Probably not a big deal if you shelter your children from everything.




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« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2013, 08:50:40 PM »

This is probably somewhat of a selfish answer, but....

If I were put in this scenario, I would not torture the enemy and try as hard as I can to save the people before the bomb goes off. I don't think that ends justify the means. At least if the people die, I will know that it was out of my control and that I at least tried to do the right thing and will have a clear conscience, whereas, if I torture the man and save them, I'll have had to have resorted to unjust means in the process.

Personally, I think that all of these ethical "dilemmas" are a bunch of bogus because they usually focus on a set of circumstances that would rarely (if ever) happen and expect you to try to rationalize something that isn't rational or possible in the first place. For example, they often start off with "and you couldn't do ANYTHING else other than the two options!" Well that's stupid--when would I be in a situation where those were my only two options? You could always at least TRY something different--a third party option--even if you fail at it.

James, what this is - is that people want worldly excuses to disobey God.   This is proof of our weak faith.  We should not torture people.  Torture is against all fundamentals of Christianity and our scriptures.

But as human beings, we rationalize the disobedience of God's will, even through hypothetical situations.  It's like preparing our souls for sin, on a hypothetical future that hasn't happened.

Torture is not a virtue of Christianity.
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« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2013, 09:03:00 PM »

Time has shown over and over that what you get when you torture someone is whatever they think you want to hear, which has nothing to do with the truth.

And what did Jesus think about being tortured, did that not show what God thought about it's futility.
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« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2013, 10:15:14 PM »

As I watch the beauty of my children, I am humbled. The things created by children are incredibly beautiful.

Yup. Then we pollute them and make them as bad as us Sad And what's even worse is that children don't always have as clear an understanding of restraint, so they may emulate the bad behavior they observe from us to an even crueler extent--hence why some of the meanest things I've ever seen done and/or endured were from children. I've seen children steal the crutches and/or other handicap equipment from other children who are disabled just to be mean. I've never seen an adult do that (who wasn't under the influence of alcohol at least).
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« Reply #41 on: June 05, 2013, 12:21:34 AM »

Mankind is an oxymoron!

The first person who proves to me no one with a Coexist! bumper sticker ain't pairing it with something like the above gets $100.
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« Reply #42 on: June 05, 2013, 01:01:24 AM »

Perhaps you are correct.  We will see one day.  However, I believe that God will judge those that stood by while the innocent were slaughtered the same as He will judge those that slaughtered them.  That is the basic difference in philosophy that causes such a divergence in our opinions.

We have no difference of opinion here brother. As I have emphasized repeatedly on this forum, nonviolence is not synonymous with non-action. If prayer, fasting, preaching, loving, sacrificing, and proclaiming the truth is "idleness," then the majority of Saints and monks throughout Orthodox history were guilty of idleness.


Dear Liza,

I think the Christian act is to always err on the side of never actively harming or killing anyone. God is in sovereign control of the potentialities and the consequences. Christ has instructed us to actively love all people, even those who are evil. We assume that torture would save thousands of lives. But what if rather than torturing this individual we loved him and preached Christ to him? Perhaps his heart would be converted and those thousands of lives would still be saved. We know that the truth and love of the gospel has power to save anyone. So my answer would be to trust in the spiritual power of love and the eternal power of the gospel rather than in the temporal power of torture and violence.

Ultimately, God will avenge the innocent and recompense the evildoer. I don't think we will be condemned on Judgment Day for trusting in the power of love and nonviolence rather than in the power of our own violent force.




Selam
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« Reply #43 on: June 05, 2013, 01:19:13 AM »

Perhaps you are correct.  We will see one day.  However, I believe that God will judge those that stood by while the innocent were slaughtered the same as He will judge those that slaughtered them.  That is the basic difference in philosophy that causes such a divergence in our opinions.


Dear Liza,

I wish everyone thought as deeply about and agonized as much over this issue as you have. I believe that it is evidence of true Christian character to be uncertain and wrestle with such complex issues of life and death, torture, human rights, etc. Some things are clearly wrong, like abortion. But examples like this one are much more complex. So, FWIW, I will offer my two cents:

I think the Christian act is to always err on the side of never actively harming or killing anyone. God is in sovereign control of the potentialities and the consequences. Christ has instructed us to actively love all people, even those who are evil. We assume that torture would save thousands of lives. But what if rather than torturing this individual we loved him and preached Christ to him? Perhaps his heart would be converted and those thousands of lives would still be saved. We know that the truth and love of the gospel has power to save anyone. So my answer would be to trust in the spiritual power of love and the eternal power of the gospel rather than in the temporal power of torture and violence.

Ultimately, God will avenge the innocent and recompense the evildoer. I don't think we will be condemned on Judgment Day for trusting in the power of love and nonviolence rather than in the power of our own violent force.

Just my thoughts.


Selam

...and therein lies the dilemma.

If it were merely "my" life on the line, that would be one thing.

But, this is thousands of lives.



Actually, this scenario is a present reality every day. Every day in America, thousands of innocent people are murdered. We have the ability to prevent their murders. It would seem obvious that the most certain way to prevent the murders of innocent unborn babies would be to kill the abortionists before they kill these babies. It is not our lives that are threatened, but the lives of thousands of innocent children. So, is it a Christian act to use violence to save these innocents? If not, then why would it be a Christian act to use violence in other situations?

There are nonviolent ways to intervene and save unborn lives. Nonviolent direct action may not seem as effective in saving lives as killing an abortionist would be; but as Christians our actions and beliefs should not be based upon pure pragmatism, but rather on Christian principle. The Gospel is not a pragmatic message. The Christian witness throughout history has always been mocked by the world as weak, naïve, and foolish. The Cross appeared to be the epitome of defeat, but in reality it was the supreme act of eternal victory.

So, we follow the Teachings of Our Lord and actively love even the wicked. And as I said before, we have no right to assume that violence and torture will be more effective than love and Christian witness. Will we trust in the power of the Gospel to transform minds and hearts, or will we trust in our own might and strength?

There is nothing idle about following Christ and loving our enemies. St. Moses the Ethiopian "allowed" his fellow monks to be killed along with himself because he refused to kill any longer. Was he condemned for apathy or idleness? Our Lord "allowed" His disciples to be tortured and killed because He refused to come down off the Cross and slay those who would kill His followers. But I dare not accuse Our Lord or the Saints of apathy, indifference, or idleness. God forbid!

One last thing to consider... Since the Incarnation of Our Lord, I can't think of a single instance in history where a thousand guilty people were killed without innocent people also being killed or injured in the process. The violence of man always leaves the blood of the innocent in its wake. Therefore, human violence is inherently unjust. So let us sheathe our swords and unleash our prayers. Let us agitate, confront, sacrifice, and actively love, but let us never torture or kill. Let us not assume that an infinite God can only work through our finite acts of violence. Instead, let us trust in the spiritual weapons that have been issued to us by our eternal Savior.  


Selam
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« Reply #44 on: June 05, 2013, 08:04:13 AM »

but I recognize that governments often have to do distasteful and disagreeable things in order to protect their citizenry.

of course. defend your class society built upon violence. get drunk in blood like everyone else. good to those that had their spirits deformed to save "thousands" and "millions".

Yeah. That is exactly what I was advocating.  Roll Eyes
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