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Comment by Glen Rosenberg on September 30, 2013 at 9:24am

Not sure whether humans are more cruel under the influence of indoctrination?

Have a gander at nazis, hate groups, cults, muslims and even the military. Ask yourself whether the indoctrinated adherents of human distortion would be capable of their atrocities in the absence of their indoctrination.

Some of the devices of torture predate christianity. But they were utilized to their cruel potential by christians. The picture depicts only a fraction of the devices of torture.There were also devices to dissuade sexual energy. Where christians lacked intelligence and imagination elsewhere they found expression in enforcing their credo through pain and intimidation. And whether you want to characterize punishments as secular or religious the fact remains that it was christians who meted out the punishments. Had the cruelty been inimical to the christian culture it would not have celebrated public torture and execution. And while ecclesiastical courts passed the buck by relaxing the defendant to the secular arm, they were in essence hiring the hitman and equally culpable.

I have read variously one to five hundred thousand women burned at the stake for sorcery. But that leaves entirely the jewish victims of the inquisition. Not going to elaborate other than to say that you have hit on a key consideration. POWER: Institutions and humans are best judged when they have the power. Islam today and Christianity yesteryear are all about preserving and expanding their power. Heresy, blasphemy, christian index, fatwa, auto da fe, alliance of church with  powerful interests, sharia law speak to the tolerance of religion for lack of conformity, contrary thinking and ideas. The greater the power of the religious institution the greater the viciousness and retaliation for any expression of dissent. The photo is symbolic and emblematic of the christian response to challenge.

Comment by Luara on September 30, 2013 at 8:14am

humans are far more cruel under the influence of indoctrination.

I don't know about that (evidence?) 

A lot of these horrible torture devices were used for law enforcement, basically.  To try to get information.  For example, the rack was used to extract the names of the conspirators to assassinate Emperor Nero from the freedwoman, Epicharis in 65 C.E. Or in the case of the milder ones like the pillory, to humiliate petty lawbreakers. 

And execution methods like crucifixion that were intended to cause (excruciating) pain were used by secular authorities.  The pain was likely intended to add to the intimidation of executions.

All sorts of cruelty can happen when people wish to preserve their power.  Or when they have prisoners of war and they want to extract information from them. 

The Inquisition is famous for its cruelty but this is because it so dramatically conflicts with the professed love and kindness of Christianity.  The Church may even have acted overall as a moderating influence in society.  According to a Jewish source about 30,000 people were burned by the Spanish Inquisition. (I chose a Jewish source because they'd be less likely to underestimate than the Catholic church). Probably not many compared to executions for nonreligious crimes, which were very common so far as I've heard.

The Church used the Inquisition to fight challenges to its power by "heretics". Secular tyrants also used torture and execution for the same reason - to fight challenges to their power.

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on September 29, 2013 at 9:17pm
Comment by Glen Rosenberg on September 29, 2013 at 9:13pm

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Lake_Titicaca_on...

Laura, humans are far more cruel under the influence of indoctrination. 

Comment by Loren Miller on September 29, 2013 at 7:29pm

Let's not forget the less obvious mechanisms, either ... like the Malleus Maleficarum, which you could say was the tool used to set up all the other tools shown above, though in that case aimed specifically and perniciously at women.  And of course, there's always the bible, which supposedly perfectly justified the users of all those toys.

If you wanted a new title, my suggestion would be: "Tools of Their Trade" ... or perhaps "Terror Tools of Their Trade."  Just a thought.

Comment by Luara on September 29, 2013 at 7:21pm

Torture was practiced by christians both in pursuit of their faith and as a means of punishment.

Yes, but that doesn't make those devices Christian inventions. I looked up one, the pillory, and found it was used as a punishment for petty crimes (theft, etc.). No idea whether the Church originated those things.
Perhaps the crueler ones were military inventions to be used on prisoners of war.
Lots of reasons for people to treat humans with inhumanity, not just religious sadism.

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on September 29, 2013 at 6:11pm

Torture was practiced by christians both in pursuit of their faith and as a means of punishment. It reflects on christians and on christianity. I have no objection to the caption. 

Comment by Bio Bill on September 29, 2013 at 5:53pm

thx

Comment by Luara on September 29, 2013 at 5:36pm

How about "where would Christianity be without ..."

Comment by Bio Bill on September 29, 2013 at 4:58pm

Please suggest a better title for this.

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