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:
- "In the case of the Amish school killer, he targeted the weakest people he could find who he knew would not fight back."
- "Passive solutions in response to violent actions can often bring more violence, not less."
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.