An Instrument of Torture

An Instrument of Torture August 8, 2009

Wouldn’t it be really strange if people adored and fawned over an instrument of torture? If they talked about “the glory of the guillotine”? Perhaps even wore little gold guillotines around their necks?

And yet it seems completely normal when it is a cross — a horrible, bloody, barbaric instrument of death. Richard Dawkins makes note of this in The God Delusion:

It is, when you think about it, remarkable that a religion should adopt an instrument of torture and execution as its sacred symbol, often worn around the neck. Lenny Bruce rightly quipped that “If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.” (p. 285)

It might actually be worse if Christians focused on the resurrection as their symbol, though — being harder to represent, they might be wearing a large golden stone around their necks.


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