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Stephen (aka Q)

In democracies such as the US and Israel who have used and continue to use non-life-threatening forms of torture as a matter of policy in limited to very limited cases.

How can you possibly state that the USA is practising torture in only "very limited" cases? Do you not understand how widespread the practice of torture has been since 9/11 — and how many innocent people have been tortured?

(I have referred you to that link in comments on earlier posts. As far as I know, you have never gone to the link and faced up to the data that it reports on.)

And how can you say that the USA is practising only non-life-threatening forms of torture? Do you not understand how many detainees have died while in US custody? One might also consider that some detainees have been utterly broken, psychologically — a state they are unlikely ever to recover from.

"During questioning, [Mr. Padilla] often exhibits facial tics, unusual eye movements and contortions of his body," Mr. Patel said. "The contortions are particularly poignant since he is usually manacled and bound by a belly chain when he has meetings with counsel.

Does such a state still qualify as "non-life-threatening"? I would say a broader definition of "life" is in order here.

Beyond these few remarks, John, you won't hear from me again. Feel free to say whatever you like about me in response to this comment.

I just don't have the stomach to continue this debate with you. It breaks my heart to read accounts of people tortured to death by the US government, which ought to be above such practices. And it breaks my heart to read posts by learned Christian leaders like yourself, defending the US government on this point.

I would have thought that a learned man would have absorbed the appropriate lessons from the shameful mistakes of the Church in previous generations. Clearly, I was naive.


Dear Stephen,

the links and quotes you provide do not prove that torture as defined by international law was and is a widespread practice sanctioned by the US government.

You need to go beyond op-ed pieces written by Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan, and Matt Yglesias who are not exactly known for accuracy, historical perspective, or a non-partisan approach. All three are famous Bush-wackers. That is fine, I've always enjoyed reading all three. But are you familiar with the arguments of Alan Dershowitz? I am not in agreement with his positions, but it is necessary to interact with them, and show why they are wrong.

I would then point you to Michael Ignatieff's famous essay "If Torture works..." (Prospect, April 2006, available online). He is a passionate proponent of human rights, but unlike the authors you cite, he is careful about definitions, does not demonize his opponents, and admits right off that torture is not a cut-and-dried issue.

For a careful defense of just war theory, and the sense in which that theory requires that the US presence in Iraq not be ended prematurely, I invite you to consider reading any one of a number of essays by Jean Bethke Elshtain or Michael Walzer. I can provide exact references if you wish.

Once in a while, Stephen, a politician will make broad-brushed claims as you do about US forces torturing detainees. One of them is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But no one takes those claims seriously, not even herself. Otherwise, we should have seen Congress pursuing the matter with all due diligence. Instead, she is in Baghdad on a visit, being told by her counterparts in the Iraqi government why her calls for a precipitous withdrawal are misplaced. She herself now supports the Iraqi government's efforts to attain security and stability in Iraq, to work towards national reconciliation, to impose law, and to move forward with economic and construction projects. Good for her. We are in an election cycle. Watch how every moves toward the center. In this case, that is where we belong anyway.


I wrote about torture (specifically water-boarding) and its relation to the principle upon which our government is founded awhile ago... The basis of that principle is thus:

In the conception of the government and law by which this nation was established, natural human right and liberty is antecedent. Government or law does not give us rights or liberties, but is instead created and bounded by our natural, pre-societal rights and liberties. Basic human needs cannot, therefore, be Constitutional entitlements, for the Constitution does not entitle us to anything. Rather, it acknowledges what we were already entitled by nature before government or law so that government and law do not trespass.
from a following post:

My post specifically on water-boarding/torture is here:

The argument I maintain is that according to the principle upon which our government stands, human beings have a natural and INALIENABLE right to maintain the state of life as nature gave it against any outside coercion or force. And since government-supported or sponsored torture is the purposed and willed subjugation and adulturation of a person's life to harm against their natural and inalienable right, it therefore contradicts the principle upton which our nation exists. It is, therefore, anti-Constitutional and cannot be supported by anyone who stands for this land (the US).


Thanks, slaveofone, for the links and a summary of your argument.

However, the state coerces all the time. It does so when I get a speeding ticket by forcing me to pay a fine; it does so when it throws me into prison or administers the death penalty if I kill someone; it does so in war. Natural and inalienable rights are forfeited under circumstances defined by law, and in still other situations, by extra-legal fiat (a muddy territory, but it exists).

So I don't see how your argument holds up, unless you wish to argue that the state should under no conditions deprive someone of their natural and inalienable rights.


It seems you don't understand what the word "inalienable" means. Look it up. It also seems you don't understand what the state does when it administers justice versus torture. I have run across this confusion often. People tend to think that someone somehow loses their rights when they commit a crime. This is a fallacy. When someone commits a crime, they have trespassed on SOMEONE ELSE'S rights and because those rights are INALIENABLE, the violated right must be recompensed (justice). This does not mean the person who committed a crime has forfeited any of his/her own rights, it only means that he/she now owes someone else for the rights he/she violated and are responsible according to their own inalienable rights to pay to make it right. Someone getting the death penalty is not torture and is not a violation of their own inalienable and natural rights if they owe inalienable life itself to someone whom they took it from. That is the process of justice making to recompense for a specific wrong. But anyone, anywhere, who thinks someone can torture spits in the face of justice which demands recompense (like in the example of the person who is given the death penalty) for having violated a natural and inalienable right.


Thanks for carrying on the conversation, slaveofone.

Of course, I know full well what "inalienable" means. Excuse me if I nevertheless do not construe it in an absolute and literalistic sense. You apparently wish to claim that when a state imprisons someone and later administers the death penalty, the state does not deprive that person of his/her "inalienable rights" to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If that is your claim, I find it fantastic.

Alan Lenzi

>>I listen to friends within the armed and secret services and the police force when I want to understand the issues.<<

You must be incredibly well-connected.


It comes with the territory of being a pastor. Discussions with a retired CIA agent, an FBI agent who volunteered to go to Iraq, many servicemen and women, and police and parole officers have kept me grounded over the years. Generally speaking, I find them to be hopeful people, but not optimistic. I hope the distinction is not too opaque.

Peter Kirk

I am more or less with Stephen on this. You wrote:

I listen to friends within the armed and secret services and the police force when I want to understand the issues. I don’t pay attention to political hacks and other windbags.

In other words, you listen to the people putting one side of the argument and you don't even pay attention to the people on the other side. Is that a rational and scholarly approach?

You quote:

If you could bring about a universal and final beatitude for all beings by torturing one small child to death, would you think the price acceptable?

and respond:

The answer is clearly no.

Well, at least we agree here. But what if instead of one small child the one being tortured to death is an innocent civilian adult? Perhaps an adult suspected of something, but supposedly innocent until proved guilty? What is the difference? Is there some age limit at which it suddenly becomes acceptable to torture someone to death, not only for "a universal and final beatitude for all beings" but just for some information which (even if it can be trusted, which is not true of any information obtained under torture) just might save a few lives? What, in your opinion, is the minimum age limit which makes torture acceptable?


֓Thanks, Peter, for adding your thoughts here. You misunderstand me when I say I pay attention to people whose job it is to engage in war, to detain dangerous individuals and interrogate them in the hopes of averting further bloodshed, who are involved in armed standoffs, etc. You seem to assume that they are gung ho about what they do; believe me, they are not. They regard their actions as terrible necessities. Their gut response to people who think like you: walk in my shoes, and see how it feels.

Furthermore, they disagree among themselves about where the red lines are, whether they should ever be crossed, and if so, under what conditions. They are human beings like the rest of us, not demons, perverts (those that are need to be weeded out for the sake of everyone) or benighted idiots.

When you say you are with Stephen, that could mean a variety of things. Perhaps you mean to say that you share his pacifism-at-almost-any-cost, at least as an ideal for yourself, or perhaps for all Christians, and if possible, also for the state.

On other occasions, I've indicated my distaste for this stance. Those who hold it benefit in a thousand ways from the state's use of coercion in curbing evil, but turn around and tar those whose coerce others on their behalf as submoral creatures. If they were Christians, you've said before, they wouldn't do that. You would, however, allow them to use rubber bullets against those who have real ones. What nonsense.

I realize that you and Stephen find my willingness to countenance things like preemptive military action and harsh but non-life-threatening methods of interrogation repulsive. That hurts, but I can live with it. On the other hand, I must be honest and say that I find your willingness to let others do the dirty work for you repulsive. You have another alternative: the historic Anabaptist tradition, in which people love their enemies and anyone who does not think like them by separating themselves from them and their corrupt world.

As for Ivan Karamazov's example, yes, if you wish, you can push it to its logical conclusion. Ivan certainly did; he looked at the world, saw all the atrocities that go on with God's permission, and declared that the only truly human response was to refuse to forgive God for the way things are. Basically, I think your position is identical, except that, so as not give up your faith in God, you vent your rage at the ways things are on the Tony Blairs and George Bushes of this world, whom you would like to see put on trial.

I expect to go on trial myself someday. The thought makes me cautious about judging those whom Paul calls ministers of God, avengers who execute wrath on evildoers (Romans 13:4). I assume they will be judged for it, though I am none too sure in what way. I do not believe I occupy a higher moral ground than they do because I have accepted to be a minister of God in another sense. The contrary may be true.

Peter Kirk

John, we must all go on trial some day, although the ultimate verdict is known for those of us in Christ.

But let's not confuse this issue with pacifism as a whole. Nor do I go the whole way with Ivan Karamazov, of course.

But my point is that the people that you listen to, although of course finding torture repulsive (anyone who didn't would be a monster) nevertheless have a vested interest in continuing the policy. You need to listen also to those who have no vested interests, and those whose interests are in different directions, like the victims.

Your approach is like only listening to those who have a vested interest in selling more fossil fuels on issues of whether it is good for our planet to cut down on our consumption of them. Well, of course you do that as well.


My, Peter, you are full of cheer and unfounded accusations today. Your efforts to create guilt by association are transparent. You are also oblivious to your own vested interests.

We all have them, and we need to be aware of them. You seem unaware of yours.

Peter Kirk

John, perhaps you could enlighten me as to what you consider to be my vested interests. I am not dependent on anyone to pay for my research or give me permission for morally dubious acts. I can take a few more unfounded accusations from you in the hope of getting to the bottom of why you are so insistent on listening just one side of both of these issues.


Is is really true, Peter, that you think everyone except yourself has vested interests?

It is a well-known fact of the sociology of knowledge that people tend to stick to their points of view in the teeth of tremendous cognitive dissonance. That's because our points of view, our judgments, are dearer to us than how much money we have in the bank.

On the two issues at hand, I take positions which, were you to defend them in polite society, would earn you a heap of ridicule. Are you unaware then that you have a lot to lose by switching to positions like mine?

Plenty of smart and well-informed people tell me in private that they agree with me on the need for the state to use force or with respect to the hype around global warming. But they refrain from agreeing publicly, and I don't blame them. The thought police are active in academia and the church. The pressure to conform is strong.

We've discussed the question of legitimate and illegitimate uses of violence before, haven't we? Our biggest disagreement concerns the value of thinking through the positions taken by believers in the past. You show little or no interest in understanding the views of Augustine, Ambrose, Luther, and Calvin on this or other matters. The historic Anabaptist position does not interest you either. Like Henry Ford, you think history is bunk.

I think you are doing yourself a disservice by your attitude.

Peter Kirk

Is is really true, Peter, that you think everyone except yourself has vested interests?

No, John, I do not deny having vested interests. I just don't know what they are, so would appreciate some enlightenment for you. And I don't claim that everyone has, only that the military and law enforcement people have a vested interest in torture, and oil company employees have a vested interest in rejecting pleas use less oil.

If I did agree with your viewpoint, I would not be afraid to say so. You will see from my blog that I have taken and strongly defended a number of unpopular views.

I do not think history is bunk. I have a lot of respect for the Reformers but do not treat them as infallible authorities. You are simply caricaturing my position.

What is the point of me continuing to read your blog? You don't seem interested in discussing real issues any more. You just start on personal attacks on anyone who dares to disagree with you.



I'm happy to have you comment here, but don't expect me to agree with you all the time.

you say:

I have a lot of respect for the Reformers but do not treat them as infallible authorities.

You leave out the Fathers - I listed Augustine and Ambrose, those held in the highest esteem by the Reformers. On the subject of war and peace, in any case, you have not demonstrated respect for the positions of the Fathers or the Reformers. If the respect you claim to have had any substance, we might have a civil conversation on the topic. My positions, as you must know, are not far from theirs.

As far as I can see, like many others who think like you, you invent a Christian position on war and peace out of thin air which happens to coincide with a BBC mindset in almost all particulars. Funny that.

It would be easy for you to prove me wrong. Build your case from the Old and New Testaments and subsequent Christian thought. But I don't see you doing that.

I'm sorry if you don't think I discuss real issues any more. With all due respect, I think you misstate the problem you are having: on certain issues that mean a lot to both of us, we disagree. You don't mind expressing your disagreement with me in the strongest possible terms, but if do the same in your regard, that's the end of it.

For my part, I'm not going to let our disagreements stop me from reading your blog.

Peter Kirk

John, I don't mind strong disagreements. But I would prefer they don't become personal.

I deliberately didn't say I had a lot of respect for the Fathers you named. I consider Augustine responsible for most of the theological distortions of the last 16 centuries. The Reformers did well when they went back to the Bible but went wrong when they relied on Augustine.

My position on war and peace depends neither on Augustine nor the BBC but on Jesus' teaching. I accept that different interpretations are possible. But I choose to differ from Augustine in how I interpret this while being more or less in agreement with significant strands of Christian thought over many centuries.

Mike Aubrey

John, thanks for pointing back to this post. I had read it in google reader when you first wrote it, but never say the comments.

But I must say that I'm inclined toward Peter's view rather than yours.



I'm not surprised by that. I don't see you signing up any time soon to participate in your country's efforts in Afghanistan either.

Beyond the motivations I have already given, I see things differently for two principal reasons:

(1) My inability to get past the moral dilemma we are all up against, regardless of our opinions on what constitutes torture and when and if it is ever permissible - the dilemma Dahlia Ravikovitch summed up so well in her poem I just posted:

(2) I am a pastor and am asked by young people going off to war to pray for them before and while they are there. In my experience, they are humble people with a strong sense of right and wrong, sometimes recently acquired. The last person I prayed with before she headed off to basic training, not a member of my congregation but a friend of a member, was, she told me, a drug dealer in her teens. Now she, all of 20 years old, had held down a job for a year straight and gotten her life together. Her boyfriend, with tattoos up and down his arms, a Catholic since he made the sign of the Cross as we approached the altar in the sanctuary for prayer, came along for the sendoff.

I care a great deal more about what people in the line of fire, people who themselves stand a chance of suffering torture, think the red lines are, when it comes to interrogation techniques, than I do about my own views on the matter, or those of lawyers and posturing couch-potato moralists.

As should be very well-known, people in the armed forces, intelligence, and special ops, are divided on all the key issues. It might be worthwhile to explore those divisions before we explore our own.

Mission 2

I agree with what you wrote about torture. While I think its use should be very limited, I understand it as a necessary evil at certain times.
Governments like the United States' are often between a rock and hard place when it comes to matters of war because its citizens expect a quick and decisive war, yet also expect things like torture to not occur. Also, if a window of Mosque is broken, people get up in arms about it. I'm not saying "Go in and blow stuff up. Just get it done." I'm just saying that people should understand the situation our military is in in the Middle East. Everyone wants us to win, yet not to hurt anyone it seems like.

Breaker Morant 5

I found this article to be very interesting. The topic of torture can become an intense debate with both sides making their cases. I agree with what the post says about denouncing torture, “I think it is very important to denounce the use of torture.” I disagree with the next statement however, “At the same time, possible exceptions to the general rule must also be laid down.” While it is easy to say that in times of war we must use desperate measures like torture. But if torture is acceptable sometimes, then killing and other acts can be said to be necessary at times. I don’t think any form of violence should ever be part of a solution.


I want to underscore what Breaker (above) just wrote. For this reason: If you think it's "ok" to ever torture, then it leads to the next question: "Who will do the torturing?" Will you do it?

The one who would willingly torture is not one I would willingly endorse! And the one who is "unwilling" to torture, upon that one I would never inflict the role of torturer. Never!

Torture not only harms the one tortured. It harms those who torture.

I have given a great deal of thought to this topic. But honestly, it was so, so, so painful for me to "think myself" into the "relationship" which I call "the terrible intimacy of torture" that I simply cannot go there anymore:

May peace be upon us all. In every place. And in particular in those places of horror where some are tortured. Especially those places where children are tortured.

breaker morant 2

I found this article particularly intriguing. Mostly because of people's comments about it, but violence and torture are complex topics that most people don't sit down and really think about. What makes one violent? Who puts violent ideas in ones mind? Why would someone be violent and torture someone/something? The thought that violence and torture are becoming a part of our everyday lives is disturbing and implies that some violence, in certain forms, is ok. When in all actuality, it's not.

Shawshank 1

Oh, sons and daughters of man what has lead you so astray in your own minds. You take the beautiful gift of free thinking for such ugly things as attempting to justify torturing and murdering each other. The Lord has said vengeance is mine, but how you flee from trusting in His vengeance which is true and just and instead trust in your own antics that might lead you into being the one His vengeance might rain upon. Oh, how high minded are we to try and justify hurting one of God’s creations. Was not the commandment of thou shall not kill, clear enough, or are we in need of clarification that comes in the way of chastisement? It is when we fix our hearts, and minds on God that we truly will no longer long for hurting each other, but rather giving glory and justifying what is true in His eyes. Let us put off these thoughts that come like tidal waves to us to kill and destroy, and let us fill our hearts, and thoughts on following the words of Christ when He says, “What you do onto the least of them, you do onto me.”


Shawshank 1,

Based on your understanding of the message of Jesus, do you believe it is possible for a Christian to be a soldier or a police officer? Is it possible for a Christian to be a commander-in-chief, someone like the President of the United States who rains down destruction from the sky and takes out targets, including whoever happens to be with them at the time?

Shawshank 1


I think it is possible to be many things including some of the things you mentioned, but in my opinion it is hard to co-sign being a solider for a country. Being a solider requries an individual to take orders and possibly kill someone because of the whim of another humanbeing who may not be lead by God. We will all have to answer for all the things we did in this life and I do not belive the excuse that someone told me to will be an acceptable answer.
If we look at the original meaning of our traditional reasoning for the police was when they were called peacemakers (however it is interesting there is a gun with the same name). If a police officer works towards instituting peace by protecting those that are unable to protect themselves, then that is beautiful and in line with the protection that God does call us to do.
With regards to the commander-in-chief, I would love the day a person steps into office and is a person of God that is unwaivering in their stance for God. The problem that leads a president to raining down bombs from the sky is that he/she is so easily swayed by the whims of others and not lead by God. I raise a question back to you with regards to this. If a president decided to focus on God and not on telling other countries they have to be a democracy and pushing other American values on them, would he still need to worry about being attacked and in turn having to rain down destruction?


Hi Shawshank 1,

This is a timely and interesting discussion. Thank you for sticking to your positions and clarifying them.

There are many Christians and many Jews in the command structure of the armed forces, and in their rank and file. There are many believers in police forces; many police forces are trained to shoot to kill if an individual poses a clear and imminent threat to the life of others.

Perhaps I misunderstand, but I see you claiming that these believers have it wrong. They would not put themselves in the position they are in if they were true believers.

By extension, Christians should not have a job within the judicial system, since it backs up the monopoly on legitimate violence of the armed forces, the police, and the system of detention with penalties including capital punishment for those who kill, rape, or otherwise maim others.

There are strands of Christianity which have long held to said positions: the historic peace churches such as the Amish and the Mennonites. Very consciously, they separate themselves from the world as much as possible. These strands of Christianity are consistent and affirm that Christians can be neither soldiers nor police officers nor judges (magistrates) nor commander-in-chiefs.

The alternative to Christian pacifism is known as just war theory. Ambrose, one of the most formative figures of 4th cent Christianity, espoused this view:

fortitude which in war preserves the country from the barbarians, or helps the infirm at home, or defends one's neighbor's from robbers, is full of justice. . . . He who does not repel an injury done to his fellow, if he is able to do so, is as much at fault as he who commits the injury.

De officis, 1.27.129; 1.36.179.

The Bible contains many passages that justify the use of violence in order to combat violence, both in the New and Old Testaments (see Romans 13).

Jesus did not expect the Roman centurion to give up his profession, and advised his disciples to obey rather than rebel against the Roman occupier ("if he [a Roman soldier] strikes you on one cheek; offer him the other").

A President like Barack Obama (who recounts his conversion to Christ in his book "The Audacity of Hope") justifies the targeted killing of people like Osama bin Laden on the grounds that, if he were to fail to do so, he would put the lives of many innocent people at risk.

How would you respond to that line of argument?

Shawshank 1

John FH,

Your response was well thought and written, but the area in which we converse has a small line that still finds us in disagreement. I do not feel like Christians need to completely separate from the words as some sects do; however I do find a problem with taking a life of someone when the individual sending you to do this may or may not of heard from God that lead them to this decision. As you found and used appropriately, there are many of wonderful and thought provoking words that have been written by man to justify why we do something without conversing or feeling the need to seek God’s guidance, but in its essence it shows more and more how man is using its own intelligence to (intentionally or unintentionally) separate from the word of God.
We have all been granted with free will, but it is that very will that we will have to give an account for. Do we think it will be acceptable to stand before God and give an account separate from the word quoting others values and norms? Do we think that God, who displays His character throughout the Bible as a jealous God, will allow us to use our own reasoning as an idol, and the very reason we chose not to seek him? I say no to both of these questions. Now I know you might say, well how are we making our decisions idols? I respond with, when our own desires and motives are different from those of what God desires for us, and we choose to do them because of our reasoning then it has become an idol in our lives. God states in the book of Isaiah that our thoughts are not His thoughts, nor our ways His way, because His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than our ways.
I do believe a person can be in the positions we talked about in this blog. However, it comes down to when they are told to kill in the name of America or another country are we still so high minded that we still believe that America is led by God? I will not deny that we are a country of very eloquent speakers and writers, and our words can compel (President Obama’s words are a great example) others to action, but it still is on any person who calls themselves a follower of God to decipher what is truly from God and what is of man and then decide.


Hi Shawshank Redemption 1,

What you are pleading for is room for freedom of conscience. Once such freedom is granted, the next question is: how much room?

Am I free to kill someone in self-defense? In the United States, yes, under defined circumstances; in the UK, no, as I understand it.

Is an individual free, when there is a draft, to refuse to take up arms for reasons of conscience? Yes, in a few countries, including the United States, but again, under defined circumstances. During the Vietnam War, reasons of conscience included belonging to "a sect" like the Mennonites, but not the kind of reasons you evince above.

A friend of mine who was a grad student while I was in high school spent years in prison during and after the Vietnam War because, though he was a Mennonite, he refused to declare before the draft board that he objected to war because he was a Mennonite. I object, he said, because I am a follower of Jesus Christ. He was sent to jail, with his wife and five kids left to fend for themselves (not a problem, since Mennonites are like one big family). The silver lining: while in jail, he learned Hebrew and Greek by correspondence, and went on to become a professor and noted scholar.

Of course, the US now has a volunteer army, which means that we have politicians and ordinary people singing the high praises of our troops, people however who would be aghast if their own sons and daughters joined the war effort.

Doing away with the draft creates as many problems as it solves.

Shawshank 1

John FH,
Your friend was courageous for standing on the very beliefs in his God. I believe that when looking at the situation it is not on the freedom of conscience, but rather the freedom to be true to a God first and country second, instead of vice versa.
The only problem with doing away with the draft is a problem for the government, because they will not have people to die for what the congress or president believe in. That by itself might lead to greater peace and people all over the world more unified.

Chariots of Fire 1

I believe that torture is never acceptable. It is inhumane to torture someone. It’s one thing to go to war and kill people in battle; it’s another to go and torture someone. Even if it is to gain information, it’s still wrong. I don’t understand how people can do that to another person; don’t they have a heart? They are putting them through physical and mental anguish that isn’t necessary; half of the time they end up dying anyway from the injuries or end up getting killed by the torturers.

Breaker Morant 1

Torture and violence are two very bold topics. I like the point that was made about a solider. Is it wrong for them to carry a gun and to consider themselves someone who doesn't promote violence?

Violence is a continuous problem. For example, many kids are acting violent towards other kids whether it is through bullying, verbal abuse, internet abuse, or some other form. But did any of us every stop to think that we could have been either one of the producers or consumers to this type of violence? Just something to think about...

If you ask me, all violence is wrong, but I also feel that everyone has been apart of violence in some way. It can vary in range from a small amount, like verbal abuse, or something big like war. Which leads me to disagree with the statement made above, “At the same time, possible exceptions to the general rule must also be laid down.” If this was true we would have to make exceptions to everything. That would make bullying in schools ok, verbal abuse towards other people ok, and all of war violence ok too.

True Grit 4

I personally believe that war is an awful thing, and should be avoided at all costs, but will it ever be completely abolished from the world we live in? Odds are, it won't. I too am intrigued by the notion of whether or not a soldier can be considered a "keeper of the peace" so to speak if he's carrying around a rifle? Or can President Obama be considered "christian" for authorizing troop surges or attacks on terrorists. That really falls under the "an eye for an eye" debate.
War has become so commonplace in our society that you hear about it in different places all of the time. How many times do you turn on a Football or Baseball game and hear "The Titans BATTLE the Falcons next!" or "Its a DUEL in the Desert as Arizona takes on Arizona State"? Not exactly a terrible way to put things when it comes to Sports or anything of the like, but it shows we refer to and hear about war and battles and violence so much in our everyday life we often don't realize it.


I very much agree with Breaker Morant 1's comment about how all violence is wrong. When you make exceptions then you leave it open for interpretation on what is okay as an exception. The same issue occurs in the Bill of Rights when interpreting the right to bear arms. In my mind, guns should altogether be outlawed. If there are no guns, then there is no need to protect yourself with a gun. This would cut down on a significant amount of violence. Granted, there are still other forms of violence with knives and verbal insults.

Nell 2

I think war and torture are bad things, but sometimes they are needed to escape from a situation. If there were wars our history would be extremely different and just in the history of our country many of us would still be oppressed by the British, French, and Dutch. However, torture is taking it to the next level. As we have also talked about slavery and race within our country, I am reminded about learning regarding lynching's in America. Groups of white men would hang, beat and even burn African American free men for alleged crimes such as raping white women. Several of the alleged crimes were simply not true and were made up. Instead of these men and few women actually getting the chance to go to court and prove their innocence, white men took the law into their own hands and tortured these men. This is another very ugly aspect of our countries history but the fact of the matter is that it existed just like violence of war and torture did in the Bible. I think the Bible is written to show us lessons, both obvious and not so obvious. I think that violence is used in the Bible not just to be in the Bible, but so we have faith in God, trust Him, and are somewhat afraid of Him.

The Truman Show 3

I would agree that torture, although an awful thing, may be required on occasion to gain vital information to save lives. Though I must argue that information gained through a torture style interrogation is not always accurate information. People will tell lies, or admit to things they didn't do just to end their torture. Likewise, just because someone is understood to know vital information, does not mean that they do. Now going a little off topic, I strongly disagree with TheMission4's stance on guns. As a deer hunter, if you take away guns, you kill an entire industry, lifestyle, and sport. I'm sure there are plenty more valid arguments against guns, however, guns are part of American culture and always will be.

True Grit 12

While I admittedly do not have a strong opinion here, mostly because I am uneducated on this topic, I do feel the need to agree with the idea of "An eye for an eye." Unjustified torture should surely be harshly condemned, however, in the few instances where the person being tortured in turn had tortured or killed many innocents him or herself, and if the torture saves other lives in the process, it seems as though the idea of humanity comes into question. Every person who is born comes into this world with a set of rights, one example being the right to not be treated harshly or tortured. However, when that person chooses to violate another's rights, are they giving up their own at the same time?

praying with Loir

This is a tough topic. Having been in two conflicts in the past, my views are probably quite different than most. While I believe torture is unjustifiable even in times of war, we first have to define torture. I think it will have different meanings to many. Some will say that detainees stacked in a pyramid, or forced to sit or stand for long periods of time is torture. I believe said examples are uncomfortable or humiliating, but not torturous. For me, having bamboo inserted under finger nails is torture. Being suspended from the ground by your hands is torture. My definition of torture would have to involve great pain with the possibility of death. Electric shock, starvation or fluid depredation, water boarding, even mock execution would qualify.
In my heart, I believe lives have been saved by some acts that no one is proud of. I also believe that when it comes down to saving lives, some of the lines blur. Do I think it is “right”? NO. Do I think it is necessary? Well, maybe. As you stated, “War is hell”.

Praying with Loir 5

last post was Praying with Loir 5

The Truman Show 5

This topic is all about a person’s question of their personal morality. Torture is an extremely effective tool in War and interrogation. When one seeks to find a means to justify torture, they nee not look any further than the world they are living in. To survive in this world we live in so some “red lines” need to be crossed. In the text
“If you could bring about a universal and final beatitude for all beings by torturing one small child to death, would you think the price acceptable”?
How is the life of one person supposed to justify the pain and death of millions. Thought the thought of torturing a small child to death is an idea that on would ever indulge. The big picture is if one life can save millions, it would be immoral to reject this idea.

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