Baffled by the Torture Debate
The question is utter nonsense. Shameful. Musings of fallenness. Self-indulgent with a cherry of political conservatism on top. No, it is not the question of how much you have wrapped under your Christmas tree (although perhaps that needs to be asked), but rather one I never thought to hear Christians ask.
I nearly promised myself to stay out of this one, and quite frankly have no knowledge of particulars, yet every day I hear of more brothers and sisters debating a question that ought not even be asked – and I can not keep silent. The question has so definitively been answered it ought not even be asked - NO, a Christian may not condone torture.
Before we answer just a few of the qualifications bandied about in this inane argument, let me make some of my own. Let’s qualify a Christian. Christians are:
- Individuals who have chosen to take up the cross of Christ quite literally – no longer living according to their own moral understanding but according to the truth of a living triune God.
- Individuals who acknowledge that a fallen world will create its own moral standards, and participate in discussions about those standards, but will ultimately be led by the Holy Spirit rather than the decisions of man.
- Individuals submitted to the body of Christ, God’s church.
While by no means comprehensive, these qualifications clearly denote a Christian, and clearly leave no room for the question of torture. Not because I say so.
Christ commands, “and as you wish others to do to you, do so to them, (Luke 6:33)” unapologetically dissonant from the questions I’ve been hearing about what constitutes torture. Absolutely know, discuss, and lend a Christian perspective and voice to the Geneva Convention, but we are not citizens of the world, we are citizens of God’s kingdom. So we adhere to:
The words of Christ: “But I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” Luke 6:27
The words of the apostle Paul: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” Romans 12:14
The declaration of creation: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27
Christ further decreed, “No one can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24),” and responded to the wiles of the devil with “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.” Locking arms with a political party, pundit, or platform over this matter enslaves the Christian, particularly when this stance has been made before – to call for Christ’s death: “It is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” John 11:50
To whom do we offer service when we reckon torture acceptable that innocent lives might be saved? Not Christ, but rather those that crucified Him.
Whom do we defile by bending our creative minds toward interrogation tools we would never allow used on ourselves, or heaven-forbid, our children? Not the terrorist, but the Creator-God.
Need I truly go on? Has the wool so thickly been draped over our eyes that we would rather debate merits, means, and measures of torture as methods by which we might be saved? Forgive us Father, for we know not what we are doing - nor apparently to whom we owe our salvation.
Fear for life and loved ones has given strength to our fallen natures, ensnaring precious brothers and sisters in the lie that torture may be defined/redefined/justified by a Christian. It can not. We are all created in the likeness of the living God, and we Christians are called to love as God loves, selflessly, extraordinarily, and sacrificially. Dear brothers and sisters, be reacquainted with the God who demands you die to self and live to Christ, resist the philosophies of the age, defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless – maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed, do not give in to fear but be strong and courageous. God is not mocked, we reap what we sow – sow justice, humility, and mercy – stand against the unjust scales of the day. Torture can never be an option for one bought by the shed blood of Christ.