Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What Does the Bible Say About Torture?

The President of the United States and his crew have worked to create varying laws and regulations that allow them to get around Geneva Convention laws that prevent people from torturing P.O.W's. There are many cases of this, and I'm not going to go into them all, but here is one example for you from The Washington Post.

Bush said on March 23, 2003, "I expect them to be treated, the POWs, I expect to be treated humanely, just like we’re treating the prisoners that
we have captured humanely. If not, the people who mistreat the prisoners will be treated as war criminals.”
Then, on April 5, 2003, he said, “...the citizens of Iraq are coming to know what kind of people we have sent to liberate them. American forces and our allies are treating innocent civilians with kindness and showing proper respect to the soldiers who surrender. The people of the United States are proud of the honorable conduct of our military. And I am proud to lead such brave and decent Americans.” After Abu Graib and other incidents, the likes of which were covered up much better than the former, this quote seems pretty ironic.

The point of all this is that our supposedly God-loving president is using torture as a means to reach his goal. This can't possibly coexist with a Christian belief system, can it? Well of course it can. In fact, the bible is riddled with examples of how and when to torture people.

"The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly." ~ Proverbs 20:3

In this example, we see that beating someone until their wounds are blue (badly bruised) is good simply to keep a person from doing bad things. That's pretty straight forward, right? Again in Proverbs, we find more reasons to beat people.

"A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes." ~ Proverbs 18:6

"A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back." ~ Proverbs 26:3

Now, why are these people being beaten? Because they are fools. Well if someone can be beaten because they are a fool, surely someone can be beaten if they are a criminal. Here is it, right from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

"And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number." ~ Deuteronomy 25:2

Clearly, it is okay to beat someone if it is judged they are worthy of it. Well how do we know if a person is "worthy to be beaten?" People get to decide. How nice. This fits perfectly into Bush's plan. The people that decide were called "Judges," and they were appointed by God. Of course, I am sure Bush imagines himself to be a Judge.

"Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." ~ Proverbs 23: 13-14

This teaches us to torture our children. Notice that the bible tells us they will not die from our beatings, so beat them until you are done. They may be brain damaged, but it is okay since they won't go to hell. Maybe this passage is where we get the term, "Beat the hell out soandso."

Well so far I've just dealt with the Old Testament. There are countless graphic explanations of torture in the Old Testament, so feel free to educate yourself on those. It's kind of hard to read the Old Testament and not run into these examples, so I won't get into them all here. There are literally dozens of examples where god or his servants maim, harass, and physically obliterate those that oppose them.

Well what does Jesus, the all-caring and kind peace-bringer say about torture? Well, in one passage, a group of devils beg him not to torture them. Jesus never says that he won't do it, so take that for what it is worth.

"And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not." ~ Mark 5:7

"And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" ~ Matthew 8:29

My quotes are normally all from the King Jame's version of the bible; however, the words for "torment" in these passages actually literally translates into "torture." In modern translations, such as the New International Version and the New Living Translation, the word torture is used as it should be.

"They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?” ~ Matthew 8:29 (NLT)

It is even clearer here that God has an "appointed time" for torture. The devils are simply wondering if Jesus came to get the beatin' on earlier than they had planned.

"And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him." ~ Matthew 18:34

Here Jesus is telling a story about a king that is angry with his people. Again, the word used for "tormentors" is more correctly translated to "torturers" in the more modern translations. Well what is the point of this story Jesus tells? He says in the next passage.

"So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses." ~ Matthew 18:35

Yep, if we do not forgive others, god will treat us like the king in the story did, that is, god will torture us. We are to live by following god's examples, right? In this case, it is clear that torture is okay.

One of the "best" passages on the example of god's love for his created people is found in revelation.

"And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them." ~ Revelation 9: 5-6

Here, god is making life so terrible that people will wish they could die. They are in the kind of pain one feels when they are stung by a scorpion. These people will try to escape this horrible torture by ending their lives, but god will make it so that they live forever.

How nice.

Of course, we are all familiar with the bible's best example of torture, and that is again reserved specially for god to use to torture the people he supposedly created. This torture is, of course, Hell. In Hell, there will be everlasting smoke and brimstone, fire, darkness, and "gnashing of teeth." You can read more about this wonderful place in Matthew 13:41-42, Mark 9:43-48, Luke 16:22-24, and Revelation 14:10-11, to name a few. Note that these are all from the supposedly "nice" and "kind" New Testament. A popular Christian defense to people that question the cruelty of their religion is to claim that "those horrible things happen only in the Old Testament. Since Jesus came and forgave mankind, things aren't like they used to be."

I beg to differ. It's even worse now, in my opinion, because Jesus masqueraded as a kind and caring person. At least in the Old Testament, people knew god was a cruel and vindictive sonofabitch. Now he glad-hands everyone just before he tortures you for all eternity.

So there you go...God, The Ultimate Torturer!

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