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Could a person deserve unending torture?

Yes
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No
42 (95.5%)
Possibly - explain below
2 (4.5%)

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Author Topic: Do you believe anyone could ever be deserving of a fate of unending torture?  (Read 2302 times)

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Offline J0SH

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I don't believe so myself. A punishment like this would only be done out of revenge, even if one of my own family members were tortured to death by a serial killer I don't think I could actually go so far as to torture them for an eternity had I had the capability to do so. I would, however, if I could, torture them in the same exact ways and for the same period of time they tortured my loved one, and then give them the release of death. I realize that seeking vengeance in this way would never change what happened, however it would give me satisfaction. I guess I couldn't say for certain what I would do unless something like this actually did happen and I had the power to do whatever I wanted to the perpetrator.  Anyways, what do you think? If the concept of an eternal never ending torture chamber such as Hell existed, would anyone deserve to go there? I don't think so myself, the punishment should fit the crime, and human beings are not capable of committing a crime of infinite nature, therefore an infinite punishment could never be justified.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Nope.

Nobody can really grasp how much "unending" really means.  I try to equate it to a "standard" human life of 70 years.

At the very, very least, the universe has existed for 6,000 years.  Let's assume that the world will end pretty soon, and let's assume that "endless" equates to as long again as has already existed, plus a little bit - for convenience, call it 7,000 years, because that gives a nice ratio to work with - 70:7,000.

So your total life (earthly plus eternal torture) is 7,000 years, which we will equate to a human lifespan of 70 years.  Imagine being tortured almost ALL your life, because of what you did for.....how long?  With this ratio, its what you did for the first 255 days of your life.  No matter what someone does for 8 months of their life, would we ever advocate torturing them for it for the next 70 years?

That's with a very SMALL eternity.  Consider eternity as somewhere nearer the actual lifespan of the universe so far - 14 billion years - and we are advocating torture for an entire life, for the actions they took for a period of - roughly - 10 seconds.

That's the timespan I consider.  "Is it acceptable to torture someone for their entire life, for things they did in a ten second period."

No.  No.  Never.  And I cannot envisage any crime that would justify such a sentence.

Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline kaziglu bey

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No. There is nothing that could ever justify infinite torture for finite offenses. Of course, Christians see no problem with this, since God can do whatever he wants and it is good, because whatever God does is good, even if it is evil, even if it is against his own commandments. It's an obvious scare tactic, meant to bring people into compliance with the Lord (or rather, his earthly representatives). Note that according to Paul and a large number of Christians, salvation is contingent ONLY on accepting Jesus as your savior. It doesn't matter if you killed people, raped children and ate baby sandwiches everyday. Doesn't matter if you went around kicking homeless people for fun, or blowing up doctors offices, or spent an entire lifetime preaching hatred of others. Doesn't matter if, in your spare time, you punch old ladies in the face, curb stomp kittens, and participate in kidnapping children for slavery. All you have to do is accept that human sacrifice is a cure for your non-existent illness, and you get eternal reward. Fail to do so, and you get eternal punishment. You are not being punished for being a sinner, you are being punished for refusing to submit to Big Brother. And then the Christians say that this horribly twisted and disgusting system is the basis of all morality and freedom. It's such a joke, that it isn't even funny.
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline Nick

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Do you mean like being forced to watch FOX News 24/7 forever?
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline screwtape

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Offline Traveler

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No. Absolutely not. In fact, I abhor torture. Even if I had someone like Hitler's fate in my hands, I might advocate death, but not torture.
If we ever travel thousands of light years to a planet inhabited by intelligent life, let's just make patterns in their crops and leave.

Offline J0SH

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No. Absolutely not. In fact, I abhor torture. Even if I had someone like Hitler's fate in my hands, I might advocate death, but not torture.
Even if one of your own loved relatives were mercilessly tortured at the hands of a psychopath you would not seek vengeance and do to them what they did to your loved one? I admire you greatly, I quote Gandhi in my signature but I do not follow his beliefs on forgiveness, even though I wish I had the capacity for forgiveness he had. He said that it takes a strong man to forgive others, while those who cannot forgive are weak. ...Or something like that. I wish I could be more like him... and you.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 11:12:01 AM by J0SH »
"When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called religion."  -Robert M. Pirsig
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Offline Traveler

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I don't know if I could forgive them, but I could not torture them. To me, even having a "good" reason, it would be a case of "two wrongs don't make a right."
If we ever travel thousands of light years to a planet inhabited by intelligent life, let's just make patterns in their crops and leave.

Offline Astreja

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Absolutely not.  No exceptions.

And I think that one should be very, very wary of anyone who thinks that infinite torture could be an acceptable response.
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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I wouldn't want to be the person I would have to be to torture others. For even just a minute, let alone eternity.

Any god who is causing torture or is fine with torture is lying about that love thingy. If there is a god, either he allows torture or he loves me. There is no possibility of anyone, even an omnipotent sky-daddy, doing both successfully.

kaziglu bey has it exactly right. It is a control device. The fear factor is intended to make sure others play nice. Or at least an attempt to cause such an outcome. And unlike me, who could never play such a game, religious leaders seem to adore themselves because they can.

The only thing such people know about morality is how to spell it. Their claim of superiority in that department is as false as the bible itself.
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Offline Tykster

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I'm going to buck the trend here and say, yes, but only to people who advocate this ridiculous idea in the first place. You make your bed etc....
rhocam ~ I guess there are several trillion cells in a man, and one in an amoeba, so to be generous, lets say that there were a billion. That is one every fifteen years. So in my lifetime I should have seen two evolutionary changes.

Offline sun_king

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Yes, the person who schemed the unending torture plan should be put through it once just to see if he/she still wants to implement the scheme.[1]
If someone deserves it, it would be the biblegod, for crimes against humanity.
 1. Since its unending, there is no option for the person to change his/her mind. This takes care of the eternal hellfire design. It's a cunning trap!

Offline Tonus

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I think that the only reason anyone accepts the concept of eternal torment for wrongdoers is because we don't have to face it.  Not the torment, just the concept.  Hell is somewhere else, and we don't get to peek through a window into it.  For us, it exists only so long as we are thinking about it.  And if we stick to the superficial and emotional appeal of the concept, it seems just.  Oh, Adolf Hitler is writhing in torment forever and ever?  Sounds about right!  Then we turn our attention to a spreadsheet or lunch or TV, and Hitler isn't being tormented anymore.

Ask anyone who believes in a fiery hell of eternal torment to visualize the following:

Somewhere in Hell, Adolf Hitler is writhing it unbearable pain, screaming for the sweet release of death which will never come.  He is shrieking his apologies for every last act of wrongdoing that he can remember, all the way down to the time he took an extra slice of pie from the icebox.  Fire burns his flesh, whips dig into muscle, cudgels crush his bones.  And it just won't stop, and god he wishes it would just stop please stop no more no more i'm so sorry...

Just a few yards away, another sinner suffers the very same fate.  Incredible pain wracks her body from end to end, every nerve screaming in sheer agony as cruel and vile injuries are inflicted upon her body, over and over and over.  She would repent for her wrongdoing, but all she knows is a swirl of pain.  So much pain.  Foever and ever, it will never stop.  What's her story?

She was abandoned as a child, and raised by a man who sexually and emotionally abused her for years.  As a teenager, she turned to drugs to cope with her emotional pain, as well as the physical pain inflicted by her abusive boyfriend.  Finally, unable to see a way out, she killed herself.

That's Hell.  Proof of a loving and just god.  Makes sense.

Online One Above All

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Infinite punishment or reward for finite actions is stupid.
IMO, death isn't an acceptable punishment either.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline muchlove

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Note that according to Paul and a large number of Christians, salvation is contingent ONLY on accepting Jesus as your savior

I think this would be a pretty serious misrepresentation of Paul's viewpoint...but, if you wanted to come discuss this particular topic over in "the shelter" with me, we could discuss this point in more detail.  I don't want to derail this thread.

Offline Bluecolour

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Possibly. If one person tortured another for eternity I think the punishment would fit the crime.  :)

Offline carstensenscott

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The crux of the problem is that of the offender not turning from his/her ways. If they never in their lifetime make right his/her actions (in real life), they will "forever" (in real life) be tortured by the guilt of the offense. Even a sociopath has effects of guilt, tearing a hole in them psychologically. There is no judgement from outside.

That is the problem with us. We have gone so far from self accountability that we dislocate our sense of moral obligation from the life we are living. Counting on "the blood" to absolve all faults. It makes it too easy to be a scumbag who attends church every week, flushing the weeks murders, rapes, pillages, abuses..etc in to oblivion. 

So...NO. Absurd.

Offline Schizoid

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The prevailing Christian concept of hell is pretty much understood now as it has developed over the last 2000 years, but what was hell understood to be by the Jews of the  first century, those who supposedly heard Jesus and the apostles teach?

What empirical proof is there of the existence of hell or is this like arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?  If I said that god sent me to another dimension would I be expected to provide some proof or would my claim need to be accepted by faith since it was, after all, god who sent me?  Or does this only apply to claims made thousands of years ago?

Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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No I don't think you can reconcile the belief of "God is love" with eternal torture.
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Offline muchlove

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That is the problem with us. We have gone so far from self accountability that we dislocate our sense of moral obligation from the life we are living. Counting on "the blood" to absolve all faults. It makes it too easy to be a scumbag who attends church every week, flushing the weeks murders, rapes, pillages, abuses..etc in to oblivion. 

Not quite.  Those things you mention (murders, rapes, pillages, abuses, to name a few) Paul regularly, in almost every letter he writes, says those who continue to practice them will not taste the Kingdom of God.  I won't derail this thread, we have a "belief" thread over in "the shelter" where we are talking about this very thing.  Faith/obedience are tightly coupled.  This is consistent from the teaching of Jesus, to almost every apostle who is credited with writing in the New Testament.  Matthew 7, John 14, the book of 1 John, 2 Peter, James, almost all of Paul's epistles, etc. speak to this very concept.  Any Christian who would continue to live in such lawlessness (sin) would be in danger of the same fire of hell as any "unbeliever".  I won't derail this thread any longer, I just wanted to clarify that.  If you want to discuss it further with me, come over to that thread and we can discuss it in more detail.  But this misconception that is often spread by some theists and atheists alike is a grand misrepresentation of the gospel.

Offline carstensenscott

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Paul regularly, in almost every letter he writes, says those who continue to practice them will not taste the Kingdom of God
You miss the point that there has to be a carrot of everlasting life in order for them to operate as a morally acceptable human being on this earth. Fail.

Offline muchlove

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Paul regularly, in almost every letter he writes, says those who continue to practice them will not taste the Kingdom of God
You miss the point that there has to be a carrot of everlasting life in order for them to operate as a morally acceptable human being on this earth. Fail.

Not at all, I'm simply responding to the idea presented in the quote I highlighted.  There are many who stand up and make grand claims that Christianity says someone can believe in Jesus, and then live however they want without consequence.  That is the "fail" as far as I am concerned.  As I said, if you disagree with that, come over to the other thread and we can discuss it.

Offline shnozzola

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   Now, Muchlove, we're speaking lately of "bad" Christians that accept Jesus and always go to church as a fail.   Of course we need to define bad - how 'bout one rape, learning "good" deeds later?   The levels of good and bad with the level of accepting  Christ becomes ludicrous.    In the view of christianity, it must come down to only the acceptance of the father, the son, and the holy spirit.  Christians will be the first to say they continue to sin, and still have forgiven human failing, correct?
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Offline muchlove

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   Now, Muchlove, we're speaking lately of "bad" Christians that accept Jesus and always go to church as a fail.   Of course we need to define bad - how 'bout one rape, learning "good" deeds later?   The levels of good and bad with the level of accepting  Christ becomes ludicrous.    In the view of christianity, it must come down to only the acceptance of the father, the son, and the holy spirit.  Christians will be the first to say they continue to sin, and still have forgiven human failing, correct?

Shnozzola, come over to the belief thread where we are actually discussing this very thing and we can talk about these points in more detail.  As for me, I have to exit for the evening.  But, as soon as I can I will return to discuss some of these ideas in more detail.

Offline The Gawd

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Honestly I wouldnt even make someone, for an hour, read that thread where Wayne is talking for like 40 pages. THAT is torture.

Offline wright

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No. I might be angry or vengeful enough to wish someone death, but not eternal agony. And the one being punished in such a manner would soon be insane from unceasing pain and stress; their very identity washed away. So what would be the point, if the subject of such punishment can't even comprehend why it's happening anymore?

Honestly I wouldnt even make someone, for an hour, read that thread where Wayne is talking for like 40 pages. THAT is torture.

To be fair, Wayne only came into that discussion after the first twenty pages or so. But yeah, he's basically been repeating himself since soon after that.
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Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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To the question in the OP: No.  Not even for those who advocate eternal torture.  Not even for biblegod if he existed.  It's unthinkable for any and all under any and all circumstances.  Death is enough.  Everything ends with death.  (even for those that suffer because of evil deeds or lost loved ones.  They will die too)

Offline Noman Peopled

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Huh. Well, at least whoever voted for "possibly" is no longer alone after I voted ;)

Assuming the possibility of such a thing as unending torture one must also assume that unending life is possible, and from that, the possibility of an unending life consisting of unending atrocities. Therefore, yes, in principle an immortal human would have the opportunity to continuously deserve torture.
If this seems like an insanely absurd corner case hypothetical, it's because it is. But the question itself entertains this absurdity, so I did so in my answer. In all cases in which the transgressions of an individual are finite, the individual does not deserve anything but finite retribution.
Another possibility would necessitate the perfect assessment of a human mind and ascertaining beyond any doubt that the person in question is not only planning such a thing but unless prevented from doing so will wo it, for malicious reasons. Additionally, there must be no way of changing that person's mind short of starting from scratch.

And I say retribution for a reason. It is tempting to say and perfectly reciprocal (of course) that someone who has blinded someone should in turn be blinded as well, that someone who raped deserves to experience being raped, that the most adequate response to murder is murder.
However, there is sociological interest in punishment beyond satisfying a need for such retributive fairness. There are consequences, for instance, to prohibiting torture under any and all circumstances with the exception of administering it to torturers. A perhaps more intuitive - and somewhat classic - example is that a person who is known to have murdered has little to lose if the penalty is death anyway.
In short, what a person deserves and how they should be punished do not necessarily overlap.
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Offline Seppuku

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No. Not even the most cruel and horrific people to have ever lived. Why? Because there will become a point when they've suffered equal to that of the suffering caused, assuming you could measure it like that. And then it just multiplies and multiplies and multiplies and gets to the point where the pain they causes is a mere speck compared to the pain they've suffered and then it continues to multiply because it will never ever end.

So even if you could justify torturing somebody, it would be impossible to justify eternal torture and I think OAA says it right, infinite punishment for finite actions.

Personally, I don't think torture is justifiable. Yes, people should be punished, but what is torture going to do? All it really does is satisfy a person's bloody catharsis and just means somebody else is being cruel. I think the point of being in a moral society is to not lower yourselves, even out of anger, grief or vengeance. Essentially that's all torture is, an act of vengeance. The point of punishment is to deter crime or a person's actions and if you look at our history, threats of violence and torture hasn't been much of a deterrent - even the eternal torture advertised by the Church. Personally I think the better way to prevent crime is to tackle it at the source and prevent the things that cause people to commit those crimes...but you'll never get a 100% success rate. But as a society we seem to pay more for keeping people in prison than actually attempting to prevent it.
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