The word stauros in classical Greek simply means an upright stake or post, not a cross. So keeping to the literal meaning of the word in the Greek scriptures we translate it as such.
COMMENT: The problem that the JWs have with it is that they think that the cross is a pagan symbol.
ME: It’s not the fact that we think that the cross is a pagan symbol (which it was going back to Nimrod and Ancient Babylon) it’s the glorying and turning the instrument of Capital punishment that Jesus innocently suffered upon into a symbol for people to Venerate. Wether a stake or a cross neither should be venerated and the fact that it was a symbol that goes back to Babylon just shows how wrong it is. Nowhere do the Scriptures suggest that a Christian’s worship should include the use of a likeness of the instrument used to kill our Lord Jesus. Could you imagine any of Jesus apostles or disciples after seeing Jesus horrific death carving up the instrument there Lord was just killed on, venerating it and using it as part of their Worship to God.
We also know how God Views things.
Hebrews 6:6 but have fallen away, it is impossible to revive them again to repentance, because they nail the Son of God to the stake again for themselves and expose him to public shame.
Exodus 20:4 You must not make for yourself a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.5 You must not bow down to them nor be enticed to serve them, for I, Jehovah your God, am a God who requires exclusive devotion.
Jeremiah 10:3 For the customs of the peoples are a delusion. It is just a tree of the forest that is cut down,
Worked by the hands of the craftsman with his tool. 4 They adorn it with silver and gold And fasten it with hammer and nails so that it will not fall over.5 Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, they cannot speak; They have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not fear them, for they can do no harm, Nor can they do any good.
Also check out Isaiah 44:14-20 and Isaiah 46:5-7. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor.
COMMENT: Insistence on the 'torture stake' is not particularly important in itself.
ME: Very true, as Jehovah’s Witnesses it is of no importance, what’s important to us is that Jesus gave his perfect life so that we may have our sins blotted out and gain life by exercising faith in the ransom sacrifice he provided.
COMMENT: but it is a prominent reminder of their distinctiveness, and of the error into which they think others have fallen.
ME: no we just for-go tradition and translate the word stauros to its real meaning which is an upright stake not a cross.
COMMENT: A very good answer, especially for that last section pointing out that the Witnesses apply no particular theological meaning to the "torture stake" (an awkward translation, I think everyone agrees).
ME: OK lets trust other people and not think for ourselves. Majority Rules :P.
COMMENT: I'd like to remark that the linguistic arguments of Jehovah's witnesses are based on the fact that is not certain if Jesus died either on a (single) torture stake or a (tradinally shaped) cross. Rather they feel the language used in the NT is not sufficiently clear on this point. Therefore they stick with the basic meaning of the NT word (stauros) as a 'torture stake'. By translating it with a 'cross', they feel they risk adding something to the word which might not be intended by the original authors in the first century.
ME: Totally agree.
COMMENT: Denial of the cross goes hand in hand with the denial of Christ.