Friday, May 06, 2011

The Death of Osama

Christian philosophers (myself included) comment on the death of Osama.

1 comment:

Michael Baldwin said...

Hm, interesting thoughts. I agree with everything that you said, Professor Groothuis.
Do you agree with what Craig Mitchell said about the torture of terrorists and how he got there?
I thought his reasoning was rushed to say the least, if not outright fallacious.
He said "Proverbs explains that fools should be beaten. As such...torture for terrorists is justified."
This is slightly worrying, firstly because I just don't see how that follows. Though he didn't evidence his claim, I'm guessing he's referring to Proverbs 19:29 which says, "Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools."

So he takes this verse to tell us that the role of the state includes beating/whipping fools and preparing penalties for those who mock.
Would be interesting to see if other Christians would agree that in the 21st century we should make punishments ready for those who mock others.

Also, he said, "Their rights are not superior to those whom they have killed". Unfortunately this is simply neo-con rhetoric constructing nothing more than straw men.
Please do show me the people who say that Bin Laden's rights are superior to the people he killed. I would love to meet them!

Of course, no one argues such an absurd proposition, and the argument against torture is not based on any such reasoning. It is based on the fact that very few, if any at all, of those who are tortured have been convicted of any crimes but are shipped to these secret prisons based on the kind of intelligence that told us Iraq had WMDs!!

Where do we draw the line between civilians who haven't been subjected to any due process of law being kidnapped and tortured by secret police based on mere suspicions on the one hand, and torturing similarly untried terrorists on the other?
Would it be ok to torture a terrorist's family member if it meant that they would give us some information?
Also, I'm worried that a utilitarian type calculus is being used by Christians to justify torture. Maybe not by Craig Mitchell- I can't tell because he didn't really spell out his steps of reasoning- but I have certainly heard others using it. I know that utilitarianism is a purposefully secular theory of ethics which is extremely unbiblical.