Christianity is torture
Crucifixions vs. mediaeval tortures, who wins?
The other day I was watching a series on the Discovery Channel about various torture and execution devices from a number of different era.
The first featured ancient devices (including wicker men) but focused on crucifixion. The show mentioned that crucifixion was extra horrible and painful due, strangely, to the way the victims are stretched out on the crucifix, which causes compression of the diaphragm. This encouraged victims to try to push up with their legs and create room for their lungs to breathe, but that only put more pressure on the ankle nails; hence victims control their own intense pain. Pretty neat.
But the followup mediaeval show had much more crazy stuff, including iron maidens, racks, pears1, and thumb/head screws. These are dementedly thoughtful and intentionally painful, and the show didn't even mention some of the even more painful methods.
Crucifixion does have advantages in that it is pretty much a 'fire and forget' device. That said, the extra effort the mediaeval devices required enabled executioners to play on the minds of their victims, letting them anticipate the agony, thus making the torture that much worse. This isn't to deny that crucufixion wasn't horribly painful - it certainly was - yet when you hear most Christians talk about it, crucifxion usually "the most horrible, painful punishment" that humans have ever devised. Why is it that so many Christians deny the even more painful later inventions?
I have two guesses:
1) Christians always like to make their god-related stuff superlative - God is unstoppable; omnipotent-scient-benevolent; loves us like a parent, but to a greater greater extent than any parent, etc. So they make it sound like Christ's crucifixion has to be the most painful thing ever.
2) They ignore the mediaeval execution devices because these were the creation of other Christians. So they are conveniently neglected.
I have a third guess that, depending on how you look at it, is either less or more charitable: they simply don't know much about mediaeval torture. Maybe they just aren't as twisted as guys like me, who love this stuff (and gave a speech about it during a grade 8 public speaking contest).
1Sadly, the mediaeval pears are not thought to be able to break jaws or kill people; they are merely painful gagging devices.