Monday, December 19, 2005

The Truth About Torture?: A Christian Ethics Symposium

“Torture is not always impermissible,” argues Charles Krauthammer in “The Truth About Torture", his provocative essay in The Weekly Standard. “However rare the cases, there are circumstances in which, by any rational moral calculus, torture not only would be permissible but would be required (to acquire life-saving information). And once you've established the principle, to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, all that's left to haggle about is the price. In the case of torture, that means that the argument is not whether torture is ever permissible, but when--i.e., under what obviously stringent circumstances: how big, how imminent, how preventable the ticking time bomb.”

The “truth” about torture is an issue being widely addressed throughout the country, yet the Christian intellectual community has been relatively silent on this important issue. In order to help inform the Church and the wider culture on this issue and to help provide clarification on the principles involved in judging this practice, Joe Carter and I are hosting an online symposium in which we asked several leading Christian ethicists and opinion journalists to respond to Dr. Krauthammer’s article. Although not everyone we invited was able to contribute, we are fortunate to have received responses from Albert Mohler, Richard John Neuhaus, Darrell Cole, John Jefferson Davis, Daniel Heimbach, Mark Liderbach, and Robert Vischer.

We hope that these thought-provoking essays will generate even more reflection and critical analysis within the Christian blogosphere. If you post a comment or response on your blog, send Joe an email at which includes the name of your blog and the URL and we'll add it on the symposium’s main page.