I find torture to be a horrible abomination. The idea of other people even being capable of deliberately hurting fellow human beings is mind boggling to me. And upon further reflection, maybe that is part of the problem. Maybe they no longer or never thought of them AS human beings.
I find it difficult just fishing a sliver out of my child's finger, and the idea of deliberately hurting another is utterly repugnant to me. Torture is something that has given me nightmares since I was a little kid when I first watched Jesus of Nazareth as a tv movie. I can only imagine the psychological damage inflicted on young people by Mel Gibson's S&M piece the Passion of the Christ. And anyone with that movie in their favorites has issues in my book.
Unfortunately for me, my mind is drawn to torture, it captures images and bits and pieces of information on it and I find it nearly impossible to purge them from my mind. When I am least expecting them, memories of these little bits and pieces that I have picked up over the years float to the surface and my mind will turn them over and over. Because I know this about myself, I tend to avoid adding anything new to the pot. I know enough about it to know that I really don't need fresh pieces to .... well.... torture myself with... if you will. So this post for me, walks a pretty fine line.
It's not just about torture, though that is, of course, part of it. It is the idea of God's sacrifice of his son Jesus and specifically the nature of that sacrifice that I've been thinking about lately.
It is a subject that has been dealt with on other websites and was even brought up in a recent discussion with Jason & Trevor here on my blog. It is also one that I have not really addressed fully as an atheist.
The first place that really got me thinking about the details of God's sacrifice was Russel's Teapot an online cartoon.
Ah yes God's amazing sacrifice of his beloved son via crucifixion (a miserable death indeed, I don't think anyone would argue that). Poor git was beaten with a whip, smacked around, spit on, had a crown of thorns smashed onto his head, forced into heavy labor after all of this, and then nailed up on a cross where he then died.
But here's the real kicker... when did he die? Oh yes.. later that day!!!! So... his misery didn't last for several days, certainly not years, but rather hours.
One of the things that has recently started to bother me is the constant harping that crucifixion is the most excruciating way to die. That somehow no one else in all of history died a more painful death then the son of God.
Which.... being the type of person who can remember details of torture included in movies years after watching them, I'd have to say, "Nup! Not the worst way to go." In fact a quick google search produced this website. While I've been working on this post, the website has been open in a tab for two days now. 55 Hours to Live...It's a Slow Death. It deals with the Spanish Inquisition and details the fact that some of the heretics were kept in prison for decades and tortured the entire time by religious people doing it to save their immortal soul.
It would be nice to think that stuff like that only happened in our distant past and that we've evolved beyond that sort of behavior. Unfortunately there are organizations like Amnesty International needed even today to deal with egregious human rights violations...crimes against humanity.
This "ultimate" sacrifice was done to save sinners from a hell that GOD created knowing full well to the last soul how many people would end up spending eternity frying in it's depths.
The hell meant to punish us for a sin that God KNEW was going to happen, and yet still he planted the tree, still allowed the snake to talk to Eve. In fact God knew there was going to be a problem back when he created Lucifer in the first place. And yet, he still proceeded. WHY?????
Now according to some traditions Jesus actually descended into hell for 3 days and experienced the utter torment awaiting the unrepentant there following final judgment (Or however the hell it is supposed to play out in "the end"). Three days? Three whole days???? Ohhhhhhhhhh big deal. What about those who will be condemned to burn for an eternity???
And Jesus has been sitting up in paradise for 1970 odd years now. So what exactly was the sacrifice again????
Special thanks to Normal Bob Smith for the use of his fabulous cartoons from his series "Satan's Salvation".