Why are frequent churchgoers more likely to support torture?

There’s a topic from CNN’s Jack Cafferty here and I suspect Dopers will provide the best feedback. The Pew study he references is here.

So let’s debate it a bit here and then contribute over there.

I think it has to do with a black & white “good vs. evil” paradigm, they feel that it’s okay to torture “evil” people.

I’d be interested what the research would have found if they were asked if it’s okay for our enemies to do the same torture to us.

As best I can tell, the survey is comparing only White members of all religious groups to nonbelievers of all races. The results might be different if Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American Christians had been counted the result might have different. I’ve never understood why pollsters frequently seem to think that non-whites shouldn’t be allowed to speak in their polls.

ITR, I think you’re reading it wrong. There is a section spelling out White this, and non-Hispanic the other, but below that it is merely breaking between Attends Church and Doesn’t Attend Church (for sake of brevity) with no mention of the ethnicity of any of the goes or non-goers.

I could be reading it wrong too, I suppose, but apart from the Why Do I Care What Only Whites Think section I thought it was pretty clear.

Actually, it’s churchgoing that seems to be the statistic in question, rather than belief, per se.

I think generally when it happens it’s more from an urge to control as many variables as possible. If what you’re trying to study is not race, then making sure all your data comes from one race means you don’t then have to go into it to further seperate or account for any differences arising from that. And the majority of the U.S. is white, so if you want to go with the largest possible sample controlling for race, it does make sense to go for white respondents. There’s more of them.

Of course, there’s still problems with this, but I don’t think a desire on the part of pollsters to not allowing non-whites to speak in their polls is one of them.

At the Dallas Morning News Religion Blog, this story was posted, and the comments there I think are revealing. From the religious believers:

If those quotations are at all in concord with the views of the group surveyed, then I’d say the answer is that the group tended to approve of torture because they were unable - at least here - to grasp the distinction between ‘suspect’ and ‘terrorist’.

We’re white, we’re evil
[The Brain]We’re going to take over the world.[/The Brain]

Oh well, just another to add to my list of excuses for avoiding church - not like I need one.

It seems to me to be another case where there is a disconnect between what Christ said and what Christians believe:

How do they fit that into their literal reading of the Bible?

God has obviously blessed America (it says so right here on my dollar) and terrorists harming the blessed country are an affront to God (i.e., EVIL). They deserve what they get and we are justified in taking any action to protect and preserve our children and the authority of God in the face of evil. DUH!



I expect it’s because frequent churchgoers are more intensely religious, and Christianity is a fundamentally hateful and sadistic religion, despite all the revisionist rhetoric about peace and love. It got into the position it is today due to the willingness of it’s followers to torture and slaughter and destroy. “We are the Chosen People, and the unbelievers are monsters who will be tortured forever” is not the sort of worldview that produces mercy and compassion.

I don’t practice my somewhat Christian view of the world, but the New Testament is anything but “revisionist history”, and those are the books that people that believe need to live by, and discard the Old Testament out of hand.

What part of Jesus’ teachings is evil?

Hell, a lot of chuches have as a centerpiece a huge statue of a guy being tortured.

Jesus and what he said are largely irrelevant. I am speaking of Christianity - the beliefs held by Christians - not Jesus.

As a liberal pinko apatheist I was actually a little shocked and saddened by the numbers. 54 % of churchgoers support torture as opposed to 42 % of the non goers. This suggests that Christians are only 12% more dickish that the general population and that seems low. I’d like to see the data correlated for different characteristics, like education levels, urbanity, income levels and what not. I would venture a guess its the ignorant, fundie toothless cousin-f***ers that are buffing the churchgoers numbers, but that could just be my blind ignorant bigotry speaking.

Der Trihs, I’m sick to death of seeing you do this over and over and over again. So:

It’s = “It is”

Its = the possessive case, as in “belonging to it”

Memory aid: We don’t write “Hi’s” or “Her’s” (At least I hope you don’t) so why would one write “It’s” for the possessive case?

Now go and sin no more!

(And to stay on topic, the community mood in my area (devout Calvinists) is that we’re not torturing enough of them long enough or severely enough. Christ’s mercy is for fellow true Christians, not the unbelieving damned.)

You know, I have a lot of sympathy for your perspective. As a Christian (and mostly a regular churchgoer) myself, I cringe at some of the horseshit heaped out there by people who claim to be following Jesus. But can I point out that there are a lot of active Christians who do not buy into what you castigate. Our message tends to get drowned out by the batshit insane types and the demogogues, but we do try to convey what we understood Jesus to have called us to do. I’ve let this slide repeatedly because I know where you’re coming from, but with a President in office who represents people like me and Siege and some of the others who are Christians and liberals orr moderates, can I ask you to at least acknowledge that the Religious Right does not have a monopoly on the term, and that some of us who agree with you on most issues are doing it out of, among other reasons, loyalty to J.C.?

I think it’s because acclimatization to a churchgoing environment somewhat inherently acclimatizes you to listening to and accepting the statements of people who are 1) in positions of authority, and 2) who you believe are in the same ‘camp’ as you. Additionally you are led to be used to the idea that people in positions of authority have good reasons for what they’re doing, even if to the layman their ways are mysterious.

God-fearing republican politicians will tend to fall into the set of ‘accepted leaders’, and so when they say that torture is justified and necessary, that will have some weight…and there will be reduced doubt that the methods by which they select their torture victims are less than perfect.

Yeah, but they weren’t trying to get him to talk, but to shut him up.

I agree with beggert2, and would posit that regular churchgoers contain a larger proportion of people with Authoritarian personality (compared with non-churchgoers. Note that I’m not saying that all churchgoers have Authoritarian personality - just that there is a larger proportion among regular churchgoers.

Authoritarian personalities have traits of

cite from wikipedia

These are just the type of people to think that if an authority figure (republicans) says it, then it must be OK.

I would also guess that these people are overrepresented in the current Republican membership.

I am amazed that there is a proportion of Christians that fit this description (although certainly not all - Hello Polycarp!)

From comments written by some self-professed Christians, I really wonder if
a) they listen at all when they go to church
b) they have even a passing familiarity with the new testament
c) they are vaguely aware of the words of Jesus
d) their church sermons have ever touched on the true meaning of Christianity
e) have they ever heard of the quote written by Giles earlier in this thread? Do they know what it means? It’s not in a strange or obscure part of the Bible.