Torture

Torture. We’ve all watched TV shows or movies that have the soldier, cop, superhero, underdog or you-name-it torturing somebody to prevent some catastrophe. It almost always works, the good guys usually win and they wouldn’t have if the hero hadn’t tortured the villain to save the child or whatnot. My question is, is this right? Is this ethical? Moral? Does the end justify the means? I don’t know. I’m tempted to say yes, of course. If that cop hadn’t tortured that kidnapper’s accomplice then that little girl would have disappeared forever. Or would she? Could the cop have found a better way? Maybe not he had a short amount of time left. If you’ve ever watched 24 you’ve seen Jack Bauer torture just about everybody he’s come across just to find the bomb or whatever that day’s problem was, but could a more skilled detective have figured it out? Is this right? Was Jack justified in torturing these people? I mean they seemed like some pretty bad guys and the information gathered from them did somehow help prevent something terrible from happening. Many people would say yes, he saved many innocent lives from being ended and all he had to do was endanger the life of one not-so-innocent person, plus it’s not like he killed the guy.
24My perspective, as a Christian is that it’s not okay. Every person is made in the image of God, right? Which would mean even the bad guys. So in my Christian worldview I’d have to say no. It’s never ok to torture a person. I suppose someone could argue that it’s self-defense or in defense of the innocent and there is a verse saying that it’s ok to defend yourself and your family. Does that include torture? I don’t think so, although I find myself very conflicted on the subject. I feel that as long as we believe that even the “bad” people are in the image of God, then we can’t torture them. God will provide a different way for the innocent to be saved so long as it is in His plan.
Putting aside my Christian worldview for a few minutes I find that a little bit of torture to somebody obviously guilty to save multiple or even one innocent life… well that seems perfectly justified. You’re not killing the person and all you’re doing is getting lifesaving information. How bad could that really be? It seems like it could be justified. Means to an end, right? I guess you could say I’m conflicted. The Christian side of me says absolutely not. However, it still seems like one guilty person, tortured but not killed to save people… well that seems justified and moral. My final answer is that no, it’s not okay. The Christian in me trumps all else. So it’s not okay, although I understand why people would think that it is.
Other things to read on the subject:
http://www.unmondetortionnaire.com/Rejecting-torture-a-christian#lire
http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2009/05/02/waterboarding-does-the-end-justify-the-means/
http://blog.thehumanist.org/2009/05/religious-views-on-torture/