A few weeks ago the Watchtower study condemned the teaching of hellfire, among other things, because some religions have used the hellfire doctrine as a justification for torture:
The false teaching of hellfire has been used to justify torture, including the burning at the stake of those who opposed church teachings. According to a book on the Spanish Inquisition, some of those responsible for this cruelty may have believed that they were only giving heretics “a taste of what perpetual hellfire would be like” so that they would repent before dying and be saved from hellfire.
It occurs to me that JWs justify disfellowshipping on a similar basis. They claim that shunning causes individuals to change their ways, return to Jehovah, and ultimately survive Armageddon. They would argue that even if shunning is painful (really it is psychological torture, if we are being honest about it) that the pain is worth it if it saves the person from dying at Armageddon. I don’t have any Watchtower quotes but I am sure I have read such sentiments expressed in the Watchtower.
So if Christendom is condemned for having used hellfire to justify physical torture, doesn’t Watchtower stand condemned for using Armageddon to justify the psychological torture of disfellowshipping and shunning? Is that a fair comparison to make? A big difference, of course, is that Christendom stopped justifying torture centuries ago, whereas Watchtower continues to promote psychological torture.