Sunday, October 22, 2006

Religious Ideas on Forgiveness and God

While I was enjoying subtropical bliss Helen Smith, PhD posted some excellent thoughts regarding the Amish Killings. I wanted to bring your attention to it. She discusses the concept of forgiveness. Her title: Is Passivity and Forgiveness an Aphrodisiac for Murderers?

Let's just say that the post got comments. A lot of them. They are well worth reading, because they lay out the logical fallacy in pacifism. They also lay out the different notions of forgiveness.

Here are the questions Dr. Helen brings to the fore:

  1. "In the case of the Amish school killer, he targeted the weakest people he could find who he knew would not fight back."
  2. "Passive solutions in response to violent actions can often bring more violence, not less."
This is how Dr. Helen concludes:
But passivity is most alluring to the most "humanitarian" among us, as with it, comes a very seductive psychological satisfaction--little call for responsibility and accountability, while feeling morally superior--even if it means that the next murderer will flourish in our midst.
I'm all for forgiveness--the Christian concept of forgiveness is 70x7 and is not lost on me. Then there is "turn the other cheek". But what, exactly, did Christ mean? The answer to this question fundamentally changes your view of war, peace, and righteous killing (which would not be construed as murder).

I feel that forced forgiveness is a feel-good hammer to hang over the heads of wronged Christian people. In multiple situations where justice could be done, especially within the church, the injustice is excused in deference to an easier, sophomoric notion of forgiveness that lets everyone off the hook except the victim. (The Catholic Priest scandal would be Exhibit "A".) Very often, the crime is committed by a person in authority who exploits an underling, a child, someone helpless. In fact, the church is the perfect place to find victims for those so inclined. Just like the Amish are the perfect community to exploit.

This world, I might point out, is not God's world. Christians have duel citizenship. They must make their way in a fallen world with Christ's ideals. They are also to be part of their society--"when in Rome". Not too many years ago, I was pacifist and also anti-death penalty. (The second belief was a phase, I had been pro-death penalty before and changed my mind.)

Today, my mind on this topic has changed. A world without ammo leads to Hitlers ruling the world. There is no moral defense for not fighting the tyrannies of this world with every fiber of our being.

There is a time to forgive. There is a time to fight. These notions are not mutually exclusive.


Matthew said...

Great post sis. I think that the key to being passive is to be strong. I often will take a passive approach, but that no longer applies when someone is in danger. While we were in Chattanooga, a guy walked up to us near our vehicle. I was getting something out of the car for Amanda and she was waiting for me with a girlfriend. Well, the dude was drunk and babbling about something, well at some point, he started getting more aggressive and ultimately started cussing. Well, passive became active and I quickly let the dude know that he needed to move along. When he continued to take an aggressive tone, I let him know more strongly that I expected him to be gone from my presence immediately. He moved along and we were done.

Point of that story is, we could have been willy nilly and who knows where this guy would have gone. Once he was pretty certain that additional comments were gonna get his ass kicked, he moved on down the road.

There is a time to threaten a beating, and a time to deliver a beating, but most of the time, we can live peacefully. When a person enters a location with a firearm, it is time to take action and put a stop to the agression.

Problem is, our "leaders" and "protectors" tell us to cooperate with these nut jobs. Even if the kids in question weren't Amish. We tell women to cooperate with crazy guys in parking lots with guns. Why? So they can be raped and maybe let go so they can live a damaged life? Run like hell and hope he is a bad shot.

Anonymous said...

Predators and Prey.

When everyone around you is trying to outdo each other being Better Prey, THAT is the time to become the Predator. Whether "SIEG HEIL!", "ALLAHU AKBAR!" or a Jurassic Park velociraptor's attack scream, it all means the same thing: "I'M TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN! KILL AND FEED! KILL AND FEED!"