Wednesday, June 26, 2013


A Fictional Interview with the Creator
This fictional interview with the Creator is based on the tenet that critical thinking and questioning of assumptions is key to understanding our world. The interview is an attempt to break out of traditional thought patterns and to see events on Planet Earth from the perspective of an outsider, to see the big picture from the perspective of the Creator of the universe, nothing less. All the interviewer is working with is his imagination, his limited understanding of history and theology, a modicum of common sense, and the determination to think outside the cultural/religious box that he has been packaged in since youth.

Interviewer: Thank you for making yourself available for this interview. Is it ok to call you Creator?

Creator: I have been called a lot of things by humans on Planet Earth since they developed the faculty of speech – some good names and some not so complimentary. But Creator is one that I am most comfortable with.

Interviewer: Yes, the name Creator is clean cut, has no baggage, has no negative connotations, is all positive, and is a universally accepted way among humans to refer to you, even among those who call you God or Allah.

Creator: I am glad to hear you affirm that, though I would have to say that your choice of the words “universally accepted” is not entirely true, for, if my math is correct, about 2.5% of the 7 billion humans existing today do not acknowledge my existence as God, Allah, or Creator.

Interviewer: Well then, I am happy to be in the company of the 97.5%, and thank you again for your presence and readiness to answer a few questions.

Creator: I am very used to questions from humans on Planet Earth and trust you have come up with a few challenging ones.
Interviewer: As a member of the 97.5%, I know of your omniscience in that you know everything about everything from a to z without exception.  I have no trick questions, just questions seeking clarification on some issues. So here is my first question. Have you revealed to anyone on our planet at any time how you wish humans to live? If yes, when and to whom? If not, why not?

Creator: Those are two basic questions. With regard to the first question on revelation, the short answer is no. Never have I revealed to anyone on your planet how I wish humans to conduct their lives, despite claims of many to the contrary.  I have not made revelations to any of the founders of the many thousands of belief systems that currently exist on your planet, and not to any of the following founders of religious traditions with whom you may be familiar or are referenced in your history books:
Naram-Sin of Akkad, 22nd century BCE
Ur-Nammu, 21st century BCE
Abraham, Judaism, 2000-1800 BCE
Moses, Judaism, 12th century BCE
Zoroaster, Zoroastrianism, 11th.-9th century BCE
Laozi, Taoism, 7th century BCE
Siddharta Gautama Buddha, Buddhism, 5th. Century BCE
Confucius, Confucianism, 555-479 BCE
Pythagoras, Pythagorianism, 500 BCE
Aristotle, Aristotelianism 384-322 BCE
Epicurus, Epicureanism, 300 BCE
Zeno of Citium, Stoicism 333-264 BCE
Jesus of Nazareth, Christianity, 5/4 BCE - 30 CE
Paul of Tarsus, Pauline Christianity, 1st. century CE
Arius, Arianism, 250-336 CE
Pelagius, Pelagianism, 354-4330 CE
Nestoriusa, Nestorianism, 386-451 CE
Muhammad, Islam, 7th. century CE
Jan Hus, Hussitism, 1372-1415 CE
Guru Nanak Dev, Sikhism, 1494-1539 CE
Martin Luther, Lutheranism, 1483-1546 CE
Henry VII of England, Anglicanism 1491-1547 CE
John Calvin, Calvinism, 1509-1564 CE
Michael Servetus, Unitarianism, 1511-1553 CE
John Knox, Presbyterianism, 1510-1572 CE
Akbar the Great, Din-i-Ilahi, 1542-1605 CE
John Smith, Baptists. 1570-1612 CE
Avvakum, Russian Orthodox, 1620-1682 CE
Jakob Ammann, Amish, 1656-1730 CE
John Wesley, Methodism 1703-1791 CE
Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab, Wahhabism, 1703-1972 CE
Ann lee, Shakers, 1736-1784 CE
Allan Kardec, Spiritism 1804-1869, CE
Joseph Smith, JR., Mormonism, 1805-1844 CE
Bahaullah, Bahai, 1817-1892 CE
Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Science, 1821-1910 CE
Ellen G. White, Seventh-Day Adventist, 18217-1915 CE
Charles Fox Parham, Pentecostalism, 1873-1929 CE
L. Ron Hubbard, Church of Scientology, 1911-1986 CE
Yong Myung Moon, Unification Church, 1920 -  CE
Li Hongzhi, Falun Gong, 1951- CE
These are only some of the principal belief systems that are known to your history, not to mention the thousands of others known to me since humans started to think about me around two million years ago.

Interviewer: I thought you would never stop listing founders of belief systems, but did not want to interrupt. You must have a reason 
for presenting such a long list.

Creator: Yes. I wanted to impress upon you that throughout the short 5,000 or so years of known recorded human history very many separate and distinct belief systems came into existence, with all the founders claiming to one degree or another that I moved them directly or through an angel or in a dream or vision to establish a religion.  I wanted to share with you the big picture of belief systems.
I wish to state categorically that I never was and am not now directly involved with any of the belief systems that I mentioned or with any belief system of humans. It seems to me that the urge or calling to start a religion is similar in some respects to the urge or calling to establish political/civic or humanitarian organizations such as the Red Cross/Red Crescent, CARE, League of Women Voters, Save the Children, Peace Corps, League of Nations, Relief International- all with the aim of solving problems and helping humans.

Interviewer: Wow! You floor me! Are you saying that the Christian belief system that was handed on to me by my parents and my Irish culture and the belief systems that has been so faithfully handed down to all believers of the different belief systems from generation to generation are all wrong and do not have your blessing?

Creator: “All Wrong” is too sweeping a characterization and is not correct. All belief systems are good in so far as they attempt to understand my creation, the role of humans in it, and how humans should relate to one another, and to all of creation. When they do that, they are also striving to relate to me and have my blessing. What is wrong is when a belief system is presented as coming directly from me and hence is the right and only way to believe and to act. This leads only to divisions within the human family and sets one belief system or religious tradition against others causing all kinds of problems including deeply rooted prejudices and religious wars.

Interviewer: Dare I ask you to tell me why you have not revealed to humans how you want them to believe and to live. I fail to see why you keep us confused and in the dark? A revelation from you would solve so many problems! After all, you are omnipotent, and nothing is impossible to you.

Creator: You are persistent. But before I answer you, let me make a couple of points. You say that I am omnipotent. Then, you got to ask, why would an all powerful, omnipotent Creator intervene in human history (only in recent times according to your history) with revelations that have been largely failures, for the vast majority of humans do not believe in any single belief system or claimed revelation. Surely, if I took the trouble to give humans religious truth, I owe it to my omniscience to present it in such a way that it would be clear and unequivocal to all peoples of all nations and all cultures. Obviously that is not the case, so it has not happened. And anyway why would the Creator of all humans want to play favorites like a tribal deity and give a revelation to some and not to others. That is not, as you would say, in my DNA, as all humans are equally important to me. All belief systems are merely human attempts to understand me and my relationship with humans. And that is all good. What is bad is when a belief system or religion becomes extremist, claiming that its way is the Creator’s way and all other belief systems are wrong. What is wrong is when a belief system puts its doctrine or dogma above human experience and above human reason, when it puts its organization above people and beyond questioning as humans have experienced time and time again with belief system abuses and cover ups, stoning to death and even burning at the stake for those who act counter to its teachings and question or challenge its dogmas and not relent.
I wish to make another point: humans have speculated on how best to relate to me and to one another from the time they first developed the faculty to think. And there is a rich depository of religious insight to be found in belief systems. Absent any revelation from me, all belief systems are on the same level playing field, all striving to understand the divine. In such an environment, all belief systems should be motivated to stop their arguments of who has the truth and who is going to heaven and to hell for that only foments intolerance, hatred, and division, and sets one group against another, and come together and join hands, minds, hearts, and resources in a common effort to learn from each other and build upon one another’s insights so as to promote a deeper understanding of the divine; proclaim that all humans of all faiths and of no faith are brothers and sisters of a common Creator, traveling together through space and time on a shared spaceship - Planet Earth - with a common destiny; work relentlessly to reduce conflict and tension among religions and among nations and cultures; lead humans across the planet in working together to eliminate prejudice, poverty, disease, and war; and lead all humans in working to achieve an improved quality of life for all on the planet. That is what all belief systems should be doing, not spending resources to convert others to their way of believing and acting.
Now to answer your question as to why I have not revealed to humans what to believe and how to conduct their lives. In all matters pertaining to life on Planet Earth, I have left it up to humans to figure things out for themselves. In the pursuit of knowledge in medicine, astronomy and space, physics, biology, chemistry, geology, etc., I have left it up to humans to study, explore, discover, and grow in the understanding of their planet and the universe. The same is also true in matters of religion. The quest of knowledge and understanding of creation and of the Creator is a challenge that enriches human existence and I am not about to take it away anytime soon.

Interviewer: You bend my ear a lot! But am I right in thinking that you require of me a conversion and a recovery from long-term addiction to indoctrination in the firm belief that my belief system is correct to the exclusion of all others? You seem to be nudging me toward a multi-religion understanding and acceptance as the norm, just as I have come to accept a multi-cultural planet. You seem to be gently demanding of me a new faith in you as Creator and a new resolve to grow in understanding of you through the study of your creation.

Creator: That is indeed the best way to be at one with me is to be at one with my creation. But do not reject totally the belief system that your parents handed on to you. There is much good to be found in your traditional belief system as in all others. I would like to see you work to purge your belief system of extremist views and beliefs, to develop in your community an understanding of all belief systems, mindful that adherents of those other systems are also my children striving to understand my creation and me. And I would like you and all humans to reach across belief systems, share your insights into the divine, and pool your resources in support of programs to better the quality of life on your planet.

Interviewer: You are not talking like the Creator that I grew up with, and what you are saying will take time to sink in and more time to put into effect, for what you are asking is nothing short of a revolution in thought and action in all belief systems. I am not sure that humans are capable of such change, at least not at this time.

Creator: You underestimate the ability of your fellow humans to adapt to change.  Humans have made multiple major adjustments over the centuries in their understanding of creation and of the Creator.

Interviewer: I am moving on to another topic. You mentioned a moment ago that all belief systems should be motivated to stop their arguments of who has the truth and who is going to heaven and to hell. Are there such destinations for humans as hell and heaven?

Creator: Bold but fair questions. First, is there such a destination as hell? I do not have to tell you that religious literature and sermons and even secular human literature (Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy comes to mind) seems to be obsessed with the concept of the eternal damnation of humans in hell fire. And if you are to believe the various accounts, I am credited with creating hell and casting unfortunate souls into it to suffer for eternity. Since hell is the worst kind of torture imaginable as it never ceases for it goes on and on for billions of years and then more billions for eternity. Since only I have the power to create such a horrible torture chamber, and only I have the authority to sentence humans to hell and keep them there for eternity, that makes me the worst kind of torturer imaginable. That is not the kind of Creator that instills confidence in intelligent human beings that the fate of all humans on Planet Earth is in good hands. 
I am very aware that torture has been very much part of the human story on your planet from time immemorial and persists to this day. Almost all human cultures, political and religious, on the planet and their ruling bodies have practiced torture of one kind or another.  I saw somewhere the claim of a study by a human research group that over half of the nation states on Planet Earth (97 nation states) currently practice some form of torture. Torture is an exercise of enormous power over others, and power is deeply seductive to many people on your planet. That is why, as the history of torture on your planet has shown, there is an inherent, institutional receptivity on the part of military, police, correctional institutions, and even religious institutions on Planet Earth to the use of torture. This permits the culture of torture to grow and become accepted particularly in times of crisis, revolution, war, and threats of terrorism. In such an environment, where torture is an obsession, it is easily transferred to belief systems, and we find the Bible and the Quran attributing the creation of hell to God and Allah. This attribution makes God and Allah, the paragons of virtue in the Christian and Muslim belief systems, torturers of the worst kind. Unfortunately, this is a case of humans fashioning their Gods in their own likeness. And I take this opportunity to state emphatically that there is no such destination as hell, not in my creation, and I ask that all religious literature and religious sermons be purged of all references to hell’s existence as real. The concept of hell and eternal punishment is repugnant to my very being.

Interviewer: What a relief! Thank you for that clarification. I cannot wait to so inform my bible class. Now, what do you have to say about the existence of heaven?

Creator: The same belief systems that attribute the creation of hell to me also attribute to me the creation of heaven. One as it were begets the other. And people have allowed their imaginations to run wild in picturing heaven in all kinds of fanciful images. And religious literature and sermons have built up people’s expectations. And I do not want to encourage such imaginings and the hopes built upon them. A study of creation reveals that all forms of life on earth, be it plant, animal, or human comes into existence, lives, and dies, but continues to exist in some form. It is all a natural process – reaching your fulfillment as a human being – and is not a supernatural process. Humans are Planet Earth’s highest form of life, but they are not and do not become supernatural beings, and attributing supernatural qualities to them is misleading to all concerned.

Interviewer: You tiptoed rather gently around that one somewhat like some Earth politicians that I know. You will not find me rushing to share that answer with my bible class. For my part, I would rather leave their fanciful images of heaven undisturbed. I have a follow-on question. Do you have an army of angels to fight the powers of evil?  And was there a great battle in heaven between good and bad angels?

Creator: You already stated that I am all-powerful, you used the word “omnipotent”, so why would I need an army of any kind? I am not like some Planet Earth strong men, who surround themselves with the trappings of power-armies and secret police. As for the great battle in heaven, humans love stories of great battles, epic struggles with winners and losers. And if human history does not satisfy the appetite for such stories and there are many epic struggles as your history books attest, humans invent them. I am thinking of star wars-a cyclical struggle between good and evil. For the next time we meet, I hope you do a little research on the origin of the story of the heavenly battle between good and bad angels. I give you an assist-the story did not come from me.

Interviewer: I accept the assignment. Let us move on. Are there intelligent creatures on other planets like Earth?

Creator: As you are aware, humans are growing in their understanding of my creation daily. Your astronomers and astrophysicists have made great strides in exploring my universe, but they are only lifting the veil of understanding inch by inch and have a long, long way to go in seeing what is out there beyond what they have discovered. I do not have to tell you that my universe is vast and complex, and as your scientists are learning, there are very many planets-in the billions-and it is an exciting human challenge to find out what kind of life inhabits them.

Interviewer: I know. As you already told me, you do not want to rob us of the excitement of discovery. Are humans advancing socially, politically, intellectually, culturally, and morally? In other words, is civilization on Planet Earth on a trajectory of continuous improvement?

Creator: Implicit in your question is the optimistic perspective that humans on Planet Earth are advancing toward a global community of shared visions and shared quality of life. That is my hope, but humans have much work to do to get there. I am not in the business of predicting the future. The future on Earth is entirely in the hands of humankind. That is why every human should take an active role in political, economic, social, intellectual, moral, and religious processes. Change for the better comes about through all of these processes, and good people must get involved. Not to get involved is to forego the opportunity to bring about change for the better. However, if the past on Planet Earth is a prologue to the future, humans can expect a very bumpy road ahead. The trajectory up or down is not always in a straight line.  

Interviewer: So you approve of the current popular uprisings in the Middle East, Occupy Wall Street, and Occupy Moscow. Do you agree with Time magazine in making the “protester” the planet’s person of the year for 2011?

Creator: Not so fast with conclusions. I am not approving particular political or social movements. But I do approve of the involvement of all humans in just, peaceful activities  (self-immolation and suicide missions are not activities that I approve) in the development of humanity’s future. The more involvement of more people, the better off the human condition.  And if Time Magazine’s choice of person of the year increases awareness of the need for involvement, it is a good decision.

Interviewer: You seem to throw a little cold water on my optimism for our civilization’s continued improvement. Would you care to comment on how our current civilization measures up against past civilizations on the planet?

Creator: Sorry to dampen your enthusiasm. I too share your optimism, but it must be tempered with realism. Planet Earth’s current civilization has made great strides forward in some areas such as technology, but in other areas has fallen backwards. One yardstick I have for evaluating Planet Earth civilizations is the number of premature violent human deaths brought about by the civilization’s wars, technology, life styles, and violence of individual humans on other individuals. Your current civilization far exceeds all prior civilizations in that respect. Humans need to reflect on the horrifying number of premature deaths caused by World War II- in excess of 60 million, and by genocides-also in the tens of millions. But the planet’s human carnage is not limited to wars and genocides. The traffic deaths on the planet’s roadways exceed one million annually with an additional 50 million injured, and deaths from small firearms owned by civilians cause an estimated half a million deaths annually. These devastating statistics put a big question mark after your civilization as to whether it is advancing or declining.

Interviewer: You use statistics quite a bit. Are you a mathematician? Is mathematics your language?

Creator: I am intimately aware of the physical properties of the universe I created such as space, time, matter, motion, mass, light and energy and the power of mathematics in aiding humans in unraveling and describing the universe’s mysteries. But I am not a mathematician in the human sense of the term just as I am not an astronomer or an astrophysicist though I know everything that is to be known about celestial bodies and systems.

Interviewer: I thought I should throw that question at you since a recent book asked the question, is God a Mathematician? I read about the book in a few book reviews, but have not read it.  But one question I always wanted to ask you is about your direct involvement in peoples’ lives. Do you intervene in human affairs on the individual, national, or planet-wide levels to bring about change, to heal individuals or communities, and to ward off disaster?

Creator: I am very much interested in what happens on Planet Earth as it is part of my creation, and I am very much interested in the lives of individual humans, human families, and the larger human communities. That interest is unlimited. But as I said in answering a prior question, I do not micromanage any part of my creation. With regard to science and all areas involving understanding of your planet and the universe and managing human affairs, I have left it to humans, be it nations, communities or individuals, to work things out for themselves. You only have to look at the last 60 years or so of the happenings on Planet Earth to understand that I do not intervene in human affairs to micromanage events, great or small. Consider the major catastrophic events to devastate parts of your planet in its recent history. I did not intervene in any of them, including:
  • World War II, the deadliest military conflict in the history of the planet, which caused the death of 60 million people (an estimate of Earth historians), over 2.5% of the world’s population, and brought about the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime. 
  •  The drop of the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, killing 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki, with roughly half of the deaths in each city occurring on the first day.
  • The terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center twin towers in Manhattan, New York, on September 11, 2001, resulting in the death of 2,996 people, including the 19 aircraft hijackers
  • The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis in Japan in March 2011 that washed away entire villages, causing 20, 000 deaths.
  • The multiple earthquakes around the planet with whole villages buried alive.
  • The genocides by Mao Ze-Dong in China-killing 50 million people, by Josef Stalin in Russia-killing 23 million, by Pol Pot in Cambodia-with 1,700,000 deaths, and by Idi Amin in Uganda-with 300.000 killings, etc., etc.    
The numbers I attribute to all these man-made and natural disasters are the numbers given by your planet’s historians and statisticians.  The list of genocides is much longer than the few I mentioned. It may be difficult for you to reconcile this non-intervention with a caring, loving, and deeply interested Creator, but non-interference has been my modus operandi from the beginning of my creation.

Interviewer: Since you do not intervene in human affairs at any level, is there any purpose in prayer and pleading with you for involvement?

Creator: Prayer and meditation are very beneficial exercises for humans. They demand an attitude of humility, reverence, and awe with respect to creation and the Creator. They presuppose quiet times for reflection and growth in understanding the needs of the planet and what are the best courses of action to improve the quality of life for all its inhabitants. They require quiet times for reflection on appropriate individual and organizational roles; for understanding relationships with other humans, particularly other humans in need; for understanding organizations in society, relationships among belief systems, and in understanding relationships of individual nations to all other nations.

Interviewer: Could you comment on prayer directly to you?

Creator: when individuals or groups direct prayer to me, it is too often asking for intervention in some crisis or other, as you put it, pleading for involvement. When humans reflect on their relationship with me as their Creator, they should understand that I do not, contrary to popular opinion, intervene in their lives or any human affairs. I am not in the miracle business and never have been. To regard me as a dispenser of miracles is to look on me as a petty tribal deity handing out favors to some and not to others. And with regard to individual petitions for involvement in personal matters, since I do not get directly involved in major disasters with large scale loss of life and suffering, would it make human sense for me to get involved in individual lives and individual suffering? I stress that human common sense is a good barometer of the rightness and wrongness of various aspects of political, social or religious systems.  It can happen that some aspects of these systems may be beyond human understanding in particular instances, but nothing that is good on Planet Earth should be contrary to human reason. If something is in direct conflict with human reason that is a red flag that something is amiss.  Always keep in the forefront of your thinking that I do not get involved in micromanaging any aspects of my creation.
However, let me stress that prayer is important.  And I very much welcome humans reflecting on their relationship with me in prayer for it is a grounding in the reality of who they are and who I am, and any activity that grounds people in reality is good. Also keep in mind that prayer needs not to be always directed to me. Thinking about and prayerfully wishing well to family, friends, neighbors, and to those in need or suffering disasters across the planet, is very supportive, comforting, and directly helpful and does not have to come through me. Many people practice this with expressions of concern, sympathy, and support, and that is very good.

Interviewer: I think I have taken up enough of your time and want to thank you for your candid and enlightening answers. You have given me much to reflect on, and as I think deeper on what you have said, I would hope to be able to get back with you for further clarifications.

Creator: For my part, I appreciated the challenging questions, and trust my responses met the needs of your inquiring mind. I encourage you and all humans to continue questioning everything that seems to be contrary to human reason. I endowed all humans with the faculty to think and it gives me great pleasure to see them use it and grow in evidence-based understanding of their planet. Taking time to reflect and question the status quo is the root cause of advances in all branches of science and in all human endeavors, including advances in religion and in understanding your Creator. As one of your automobile commercials puts it-if someone did not challenge the status quo, we would still consider Planet Earth to be flat. I encourage the use of all your gifts but particularly your ability to reason. And remember, I keep an open door policy, and you are always welcome.

Interviewer: I will come a-knocking. AdiĆ³s.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blog 2. Torture on Planet Earth: A Zy Uzip Report

Senegal Hand-Carved Thinker. (Contours Look Female)
The Thinking Post. If you wish to contribute a blog and do not wish  to put your name to the blog for whatever reason, please use the name of Zy Uzip as an alternative. If you use Zy Uzip as your nom de plume, allow me to introduce you to your literary double.

Zy Uzip’s Background in Her Own Words. My name is Zy Uzip-that is the closest I can get phonetically in the English language to my given name. I am a reporter from a planet in a neighboring star system. That makes me an alien on planet Earth, known as Planet-Uzat1479 back home. I am in disguise as a human female in her late fifties for my stay on Earth. That way my presence and conduct, while somewhat eccentric, may be less noticeable and less threatening in a male dominated planet. I have observed that there are some eccentric middle-aged women on the planet. So I fit in. My assignment is to report back to my planet on the goings-on on sister planet Earth. I plan to make reports regularly, until I am recalled, or given another assignment.

I have been here on planet Earth for the past three years quietly observing, listening, and when possible interviewing the Earth’s political, religious, and cultural leaders, as well as browsing Google and the Internet. I have learned much from political and religious speeches and discourses, continuous newscasts, talk shows, cultural events, scientific symposiums, discussions at the United Nations, sermons in churches, mosques, and synagogues, and lifestyle observations. I have studied Earthling’s medical practices, college campuses, educational systems, belief systems, value systems, art, and creativity.

I have visited many of what Earth people designate as “trouble spots”- Iraq, Darfur, Pakistan, the West Bank, Afghanistan, Chechnya (I tried but did not succeed in visiting North Korea because the current ruler has decreed that his nation is closed to the rest of the people on the planet), and some of the planet’s “bright spots”-Northern Ireland, South Africa, (East) Germany, China, the Baltic states.

I have studied planet Earth’s history (at least hitting the high points) and have attempted to get my arms around such things as tribalism, early civilizations, discoveries, slavery, colonization, wars, reformation, enlightenment, and freedom movements, including the current struggle for freedom in Iran. I have also studied franchise movements, civil rights movements, exploration of outer space, and movements to abolish nuclear weapons, illiteracy, hunger, and disease from the planet.

I feel that being from another planet gives me a measure of objectivity in my reporting and the experience above gives me what The Thinking Post likes to call a large picture perspective.  I am sharing these reports with the people of planet Earth by placing the reports on The Thinking Post. I do this for two reasons.  Firstly, to get feedback on my reports and hopefully restore balance where my reports stray from objectivity. After all, I am an alien with limited understanding of my report topics. Secondly, to invite my Earth readers to put themselves in my shoes, project themselves outside their planet, outside their normal patterns of thinking, and view their planet as it were from the outside, and see what they come up with. That briefly is my bag – a large picture perspective from the outside.

Torture on Planet Earth: a Zy Uzip Report

Though recently in hot debate across planet Earth, torture is not new to the planet. It is seemingly as old as the planet’s recorded human history. But recent accusations that the United States, the planet’s most powerful nation state, has indulged in torture, has raised the topic to the forefront of planet-wide dialog. 

Within five months of leaving office, former United States President George Walter Bush and former Vice President Dick Chaney admitted publicly that they approved of water-boarding (regarded by most people as torture), this despite the fact that the United States is a signee of the United Nations Convention prohibiting torture. President Bush defended his decision to permit the use of torture on terror suspects in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 coordinated suicide terrorist attacks by saying: “I vowed to take whatever steps were necessary to protect you”. The attacks killed 2,974 people, including 19 hijackers of the commercial passenger jet airlines used to fly into and reduce to rubble the Twin Towers (110 stories each) of the World Trade Center in New York City. These devastating attacks shocked people across the planet and triggered two wars on the planet, still ongoing.

Definition of Torture. Before we go any further, allow me to define what I am writing to you about. What is torture?

I give you an authoritative definition as found in Article 1 of the United Nations’  Convention Against Torture ( the United Nations is an organization of 192 independent states on Earth formed in 1945 to promote peace and security on the planet):
“Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions”.

I present this definition in the interest of clarity, because the boundaries between torture and, what some consider, legitimate interrogation techniques, have not been universally accepted on planet earth. This is particularly true with regard to psychological torture. Among some Earthlings, such techniques remain controversial.

Torture in the Earth’s Recorded History. Torture has seemingly been part of the human story on the planet from the beginning of recorded time. Torture has been used by governments and their surrogates including the military, the police, the “secret police”, and correctional institutions as a means of effecting political control, intimidation, extracting information, obtaining the names of accomplices in crime, re-educating people, instilling fear and achieving obedience from populations. In addition to state-sponsored torture, groups and individuals have inflicted torture on others for similar reasons or merely for personal, sadistic gratification.

Almost all human cultures on the planet and their ruling bodies practiced torture. In the Americas, torture and human sacrifice were part of religious rituals of the ancient Mayan, Aztec, and Incan societies. The judges of ancient Babylon decreed punishments that included cutting off feet, lips and noses, and gouging out eyes. The Assyrian King, Ashurbanipal, who reigned from 668 to 627 BCE (formerly BC), cut open the bellies of his opponents as if they were young rams. The Romans, the Assyrians, and the Egyptians used torture routinely in interrogations and as part of their systems of justice. For centuries, a slave’s testimony was admissible in a court of law only if extracted by torture, on the assumption that slaves could not be trusted to reveal the truth voluntarily. The Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar, boasted that he tortured and killed 1,192,000 of his enemies during his 10-year reign. The Roman Emperor Caligula had noblemen who fell out of favor sawed in half.

In the Medieval Inquisition, which began in 1252 CE (formerly AD) and ended in 1816 CE, torture was sanctioned by the Catholic Church (a leading religion on the planet) and by kings, queens, princes and their governments. Many of the most brutal tortures were inflicted upon devout heretics by even more “devout” priests and friars. Countless women were accused of being witches and were tortured and burned to death. In Colonial America, women were sentenced to the stocks (an instrument of punishment consisting of a wooden framework with holes for securing the ankles and the wrists, used to expose an offender to public derision). Wooden clips were placed on their tongues for the crime of talking too much. I am glad that I came to Earth later in its cultural development, otherwise my disguise as a woman might not have been the best of ideas.

In more recent times, Adolf Hitler established concentration camps throughout Germany and subject countries in the 1930s and 1940s. These camps included whipping posts, torture rooms, and gas chambers, mass graves, and ovens to burn the remains of victims. Throughout the 20th century, Communist countries established labor camps where political dissidents were subjected to forced labor, deprivations, torture, and death. During World War II, in Germany and Japan, medical torture was practiced by medical doctors to assess what victims could endure and to determine the best torture methods to extract information. Joseph Mengele and Shiro Ishii were two of the more infamous practitioners of medical torture. Torture methods used to interrogate enemies of the state in the Soviet Union included the drug, Aminazin, a drug that causes its victim to grow intensely hyperactive and uncontrollably restless.

At the risk of turning your stomachs, I have picked what I consider the six most cruel and abhorrent methods of torture inflicted upon humans by other humans on the planet. They are all revoltingly horrible, but number six is by light years the worst.

1). Slow slicing of the human body with an extremely sharp knife, beginning with ears, nose, tongue, fingers, toes, belly, thighs, buttocks, shoulders, etc. –the entire process of up to 3,600 cuts lasted several days. This torture was used In China from about 900 CE to its abolition in 1905 CE.

2). Impalement, whereby a person is pierced with a long stake going through the rectum up through the mouth and then planted upright in the ground. This was practiced in Asia and Europe throughout the Middle Ages, from 500 CE to 1600 CE, an entire millennium.

3). The breaking wheel, used in France and Germany in the Middle Ages, whereby a person was placed on a cartwheel with limbs stretched out along the spokes, and with the wheel slowly revolving the victims bones were broken with an iron hammer, and the victim was left on the wheel for days until shock and dehydration caused death. This torture was abolished in 1827 CE.

4). The bamboo treatment, whereby a person was stripped naked and suspended between two trees, back to the ground, with growing bamboo chutes that were sharpened placed at the person’s back. Bamboo chutes grow up to five feet in one day, forcing their way up and through the human body. Chinese warlords felt for centuries that this was their best method of extracting information.

5). Slowly peeling the skin of a person’s body from head to foot, then smearing the peeled body with a substance to attract rodents to feast on the person’s flesh.

This is very grisly stuff.

I cannot but conclude that torture is deeply embedded in the planet’s human culture. To underscore this fact, I put the question to myself: What do the most popular guides to human behavior on the planet, the Judeo-Christian Bible and the Muslim Qur’an, have to say about torture?

A lot. Earthlings can go to their favorite research engine on the Internet and type in “Torture in the Bible” and “Torture in the Qur’an” to see what is presented.

From my reading of the passages in the Bible and the Qur’an that deal with the concept of torture, both the Bible and the Qur’an in many instances prescribe, promote, and condone torture. Judeo, Christian, and Islamic apologists try to explain away such passages, but they fail to confront the clear meaning of the passages head-on.  I forward these downloads with my report, so you be the judge.

Both the Bible and the Qur’an have a lot to say about the horrendous and most unique form of human torture – the burning in hell fire for all eternity. This torture is presented by both holy books as the will of God and the will of Allah, and this mother of all tortures is not addressed by the apologists at all. This leads to the most horrendous torture of all:
6). The worst torture. I have identified burning in hell fire for all eternity as the sixth and by far the worst form of torture known to earthlings.

How Widespread is Torture Across the Planet and which Earthlings are the Worst Tortures?  Modern sensibilities on the planet have been shaped by profound rejection of the worst forms of torture outlined above and by the crimes against humanity committed by Germany, Italy, and Japan in the Second World War from 1939 to 1945 and by Communist countries during the last century.

Even so, despite near universal condemnation of the practice as repugnant, abhorrent, and immoral, and the existence of treaty provisions that forbid torture, many states and individuals still engage in it. According to some estimates, over half of the nation states on the planet (97 nation states) currently practice some form of torture.  These states either practice torture in silence (official denial), in semi-silence (known but not discussed or spoken about openly), or openly acknowledged to instill fear and obedience. In researching this topic, I came across an article in the New Scientist, a prestigious British magazine that concluded that the systematic torture of individuals for political reasons is a growing technology that incorporates the latest advances in physics, electronics, biochemistry, behavioral psychology, and pharmacology; and that the governments of some nations hire specifically trained scientists to set up and manage torture programs.

Earthlings’ rationale for employing torture is tenuous, at best. Some modern writers on the planet such as Alan M. Dershowitz, Mirko Bagaric, and others argue that following the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks on prominent United States landmarks, terrorists pose such an extreme threat that governments should be permitted to use some degree of torture to elicit information that saves innocent lives.  To support their thinking that torture can be warranted in extreme emergencies, they present the ticking bomb scenario. This scenario asks what to do with a captured terrorist who has placed a nuclear bomb in a populated area. If the terrorist is subjected to torture, he could explain where the bomb is and how to defuse it. Hence, they argue that, in this circumstance, torture, the lesser of two evils, is justified.

Others argue that there is simply no scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of torture. They point out that torture victims usually tell their torturers what they want to hear, and are happy to implicate innocent people to bring an end to their agony. Hence, torture is likely to elicit unreliable information.

Napoleon Bonaparte, a French Emperor, stated in 1798: “The barbarous custom of having men beaten, who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile."

Major General Geoffrey D. Miller, an American commander in charge of detentions and interrogations in Iraq, pointed out that after coercive practices were banned, interrogations saw an increase of 50% higher value intelligence. Despite many claims by government officials and others, nobody has presented a single documented example of lives saved as a result of torture.

Torture is an exercise of enormous power over others, and power is deeply seductive to many people on Earth. That is why, as the history of torture on the planet has shown, there is an inherent, institutional receptivity on the part of military, police, and correctional institutions on Earth to the use of torture. This permits the culture of torture to grow and become accepted in times of crisis, revolution, war, and threats of terrorism. To legalize torture in such extreme situations is akin to legalizing and institutionalizing slavery in similar circumstances. That, torture prohibitionists point out, is totally inconsistent with liberal democracy on the planet. Despite near universal condemnation in recent years on the planet, torture remains a contentious issue for ethics, philosophy, law, and governance.

Torture has been endemic on planet Earth from the advent of humans up to the present. It is seemingly part of the human condition, a serious flaw in the human psyche.  It is like a disease that keeps re-occurring and popping up unexpectedly across the planet. I have concluded that torture, like many human traits, illnesses and diseases, might be traced to specific human genes. Around 23,000 genes are found in human deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms (and some viruses) on Earth. Earthlings compare their DNA to a set of blueprints or a recipe, and it is what makes humans what they are.

Out of curiosity, I have asked people to identify whom they consider to be the worst torturer in the their history or in their literature. Most identified more recent torturers: Adolph Hitler, dictator of the European State of Germany, whose surrogates tortured and gassed 6 million Jews and others in the 1930s and 1940s; Joseph Stalin, Russian revolutionary and ruler of the Soviet Union and head of the Communist Party from 1929 to 1953. Stalin was one of the bloodiest despots in the planet’s modern history. His rule was a "holocaust by terror" that victimized the population of Russia for twenty-five years, causing the death of an estimated 20+ million of his own people; Marquis DeSade, French aristocrat who lived from 1740 to 1814 and whose writings gave rise to the term sadism (enjoyment of cruelty) in the English langauge; Idi Amin, brutal ruler of the African State of Uganda in the 1970s, whose eight-year reign of terror encompassed torture and killing of an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 Ugandans. He was known to randomly kidnap young women and girls for sexual indulgence; and Mao Zedong, ruler of China from 1949 to 1976, who forced millions of Chinese to live in rural communes and work in agriculture, launched an economic program known as the “Great Leap Forward” that led to the death of an estimated 20 million Chinese, jailed and murdered political rivals, established himself as a cult figure with statutes of himself in most public places, and occupied the neighboring country of Tibet, brutally crushing all opposition.

Who Stands out as The Worst Torturers? No Earthling I spoke to identified who I consider to be the worst torturers. To my mind, the title of worst torturer goes to twocharacters in the planet’s literature. They tie for this dubious distinction. All other torturers pale in contrast. These characters in human literature are the God of Jews and Christians and the Allah of Muslims.

These two characters, according to the Bible and the Qur’an, created a state or place of everlasting torment and condemn creatures of their own creation to eternal torment. This is far out crazy stuff even for a planet with a history of wild and crazy torturers. Some Earthlings attempt to explain to me that evil people bring the horrible torture of the burning of hell fire for eternity on themselves. But no matter what evil some humans on the planet earth commit, the torture of hell fire for eternity is inflicted upon them by God and Allah, and by nobody else. Nobody else to my knowledge has that kind of power.

It is God and Allah, whom many Earthlings revere as the epitome of virtue and goodness, who devised the torture chamber of hell, cast the victims into the eternal fire, and hold them there in torment forever. God and Allah, traditionally acknowledged as the paragons of virtue, are the torturers. No humans are capable of inflicting such punishment. All torture by humans mercifully ends after a relatively short period of time, either by cessation of the torture or by death. But the torture of hell, unmercifully, never ends. 

Such torture boggles my mind. I like to think that this is merely literature, fictional literature. Only the human imagination could think of such torture and try to pass it off as real. I like to think that this is Earthlings fashioning their Gods in their own image, which, if true, underscores what I said above, that torture is a serious flaw in the human psyche. And millions, even billions, of people on Earth accept the unending torture of hell fire without question. That sends ripples of repulsion to the core of my alien mind, and draws up serious questions about the level of civilization that people on Earth have attained.

By believing in the existence of the torture chamber of hell, Christians, Jews, and Muslims and all others sharing that belief, support, accept, or acquiesce in the righteousness of torture in certain circumstances. That is a major problem for the United Nations and groups such as the World Organization Against Torture, and Amnesty International, attempting to banish torture on the planet.

As an outsider, I do not presume to tell Jews, Christians, and Muslims what to believe in, but a belief system with a torturer-in-chief as its God or Allah needs some adjustment, to say the least.

Inputs, expansions, adjustments, counterpoints, rebuttals, etc. to the above are very welcome. 
Zy Uzip