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Old 31st January 2021, 12:16 PM   #1
pgwenthold
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Forgiveness

Certain religions make a big deal out of the concept of "forgiveness." It's generally considered a virtue.

Their justification is that, hey, God has to forgive our sins (mistakes) because if he didn't, we would otherwise all deserve to fry in hell because no one is perfect, and so if he didn't forgive us, then there would be no hope for us.

I have to say, I don't get it. Can someone please explain to me the concept of "forgiveness" and why it is a good thing?

The problem with the God situation I gave above is that "frying in hell" is not necessarily a reasonable response for the magnitude of the sin. Even if God didn't forgive our sins, he wouldn't need to throw us in hell. He could just provide a proportional punishment.

It's even worse among people. If someone wrongs me, why should I forgive them? Why shouldn't I expect them to face consequences for their actions? Sure, if they have done so, I can say let bygones be bygones - you messed up, paid your dues as a result, ok move on. But that's not "forgiveness" as I understand it. If I get caught speeding and pay my fine, I'm not forgiven for having done it.

Maybe my understanding of it is wrong. In that case, can someone please explain the concept of forgiveness and why it should be considered a virtue?

And don't even get me started on "forgive and forget." You've done me wrong, why should I "forget" that you did that? Again, make the response proportional to the offense, but that doesn't mean you have to pretend it never happened.
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Old 31st January 2021, 12:24 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
Certain religions make a big deal out of the concept of "forgiveness." It's generally considered a virtue.

Their justification is that, hey, God has to forgive our sins (mistakes) because if he didn't, we would otherwise all deserve to fry in hell because no one is perfect, and so if he didn't forgive us, then there would be no hope for us.

I have to say, I don't get it. Can someone please explain to me the concept of "forgiveness" and why it is a good thing?

The problem with the God situation I gave above is that "frying in hell" is not necessarily a reasonable response for the magnitude of the sin. Even if God didn't forgive our sins, he wouldn't need to throw us in hell. He could just provide a proportional punishment.

It's even worse among people. If someone wrongs me, why should I forgive them? Why shouldn't I expect them to face consequences for their actions? Sure, if they have done so, I can say let bygones be bygones - you messed up, paid your dues as a result, ok move on. But that's not "forgiveness" as I understand it. If I get caught speeding and pay my fine, I'm not forgiven for having done it.

Maybe my understanding of it is wrong. In that case, can someone please explain the concept of forgiveness and why it should be considered a virtue?

And don't even get me started on "forgive and forget." You've done me wrong, why should I "forget" that you did that? Again, make the response proportional to the offense, but that doesn't mean you have to pretend it never happened.
I've heard it said that "Holding a grudge is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die".

Anger can be motivating. Knowing another person can be untrustworthy can be practical and trusting them again might be foolhardy.

If you're approaching this from a self-interest standpoint, holding onto anger past when it's needed to motivate you just increases the amount you're dwelling on negative emotions. And holding onto judgement beyond cases where it's a good rubric to predict future behavior is just robbing yourself of productive cooperation possibilities.

And if you're looking beyond the personal, a similar truth holds for society wide utility.

After the civil war, people on both sides continued to be a part of the same country. With government they both voted for and an economy that crossed that Mason Dixon line. The ongoing flourishing of the country and everyone in it would be served by cooperation.

I see forgiveness as a practical good.
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Old 31st January 2021, 12:55 PM   #3
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It's not easy to forgive when you have suffered deep pain. It is even more difficult to forgive when one has not done the necessary inner work to accept, let go and forgive. Also plenty of people are vindictive and vengeful.

So only certain people are able to quickly forgive.
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Old 31st January 2021, 01:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
I've heard it said that "Holding a grudge is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die".
So forgiveness is just "not holding a grudge"?

See what I said about "proportional consequences." If I get caught speeding, and I pay the fine, does the state "forgive me" for my offense? I wouldn't call that forgiveness, I'd call it, "Getting penalized for committing the offense." The state does not "hold a grudge" (except to the extent where I can have more severe consequences for being a repeat offender). But if I do not speed again, there is no problem. I've paid my fine and moved on. The state didn't forgive my offense, and has not forgotten, but does not hold a grudge, either.

If someone wrongs you, pays their (proportional) debt, and you harbor a grudge or anger, then that isn't a problem of lack of forgiveness, it's that you haven't accepted their payment. That could be because their payment was insufficient ("I said I was sorry!") or that your expectations are too high.

But why shouldn't there be the expectation of consequences?
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Old 31st January 2021, 01:02 PM   #5
pgwenthold
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
It's not easy to forgive when you have suffered deep pain. It is even more difficult to forgive when one has not done the necessary inner work to accept, let go and forgive. Also plenty of people are vindictive and vengeful.
You say this as if it is a bad thing.

Why shouldn't one be vengeful against someone who wronged you?

Again, it's not the vengence that it is the problem. The question is whether it is proportional.
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Old 31st January 2021, 01:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
So forgiveness is just "not holding a grudge"?

See what I said about "proportional consequences." If I get caught speeding, and I pay the fine, does the state "forgive me" for my offense? I wouldn't call that forgiveness, I'd call it, "Getting penalized for committing the offense." The state does not "hold a grudge" (except to the extent where I can have more severe consequences for being a repeat offender). But if I do not speed again, there is no problem. I've paid my fine and moved on. The state didn't forgive my offense, and has not forgotten, but does not hold a grudge, either.

If someone wrongs you, pays their (proportional) debt, and you harbor a grudge or anger, then that isn't a problem of lack of forgiveness, it's that you haven't accepted their payment. That could be because their payment was insufficient ("I said I was sorry!") or that your expectations are too high.

But why shouldn't there be the expectation of consequences?
I'd say "forgiveness" means something so incredibly different if you're referring to a state or an person, that it's equivocation to try to apply much to both.
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Old 31st January 2021, 01:21 PM   #7
pgwenthold
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
I'd say "forgiveness" means something so incredibly different if you're referring to a state or an person, that it's equivocation to try to apply much to both.
OK, so explain what forgiveness means.

I still don't get it.
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Old 31st January 2021, 01:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
You say this as if it is a bad thing.

Why shouldn't one be vengeful against someone who wronged you?

Again, it's not the vengence that it is the problem. The question is whether it is proportional.
I don't completely understand your question. But this what I think.

Punishing our children for wrongdoings or keeping criminals in jails is not the same thing as vengeance. This is done mainly to prevent people from doing wrong things in the future by making them accountable for their actions.

IMHO vengeance is usually evil since you want to do a harm to a person who did harm to you long ago even if he no longer does it. This is like "eye for eye" principle from the Old Testament. Also in most cases vengeance is not even rational, since you gain nothing from it (besides satisfying your anger and offence).
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Old 31st January 2021, 01:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
I don't completely understand your question. But this what I think.

Punishing our children for wrongdoings or keeping criminals in jails is not the same thing as vengeance.
What's the difference?

Is punishment not avenging an action?
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Old 31st January 2021, 01:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
OK, so explain what forgiveness means.

I still don't get it.
On a person to person basis, like I said above, I think it has two parts.

1) Letting go of the anger you hold towards someone for their past actions.
2) Some degree of restored trust to allow you to continue to funtion together.

It is NOT necessary that forgiveness come in lieu of punishment, repentance or a concrete show of change. It's still caled forgiveness if it's withheld until after consequences have been established.
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Old 31st January 2021, 01:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
What's the difference?

Is punishment not avenging an action?
There is some overlap in their effect but the motivations behind them aren't necessarily the same. Revenge comes as a response to grievance. It's an emotional thing, and often can be destructive. Punishment, on the other hand, can pursue good goals by making people accountable for their actions, it is often the "lesser of two evils".
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Old 31st January 2021, 02:05 PM   #12
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Interesting study: The Dark Side of Forgiveness
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Old 31st January 2021, 02:16 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
So forgiveness is just "not holding a grudge"?
In the emotional sense, from person to person, yes, it means not having a grudge anymore after you did before.

The word can also be used for official business where emotions aren't involved, such as forgiving a debt, meaning the person who owed money doesn't owe it anymore.

What both uses have in common is that someone or some organization who might be expected to want payment/punishment doesn't do so anymore when the payment/punishment still hasn't happened.

Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
...If I get caught speeding, and I pay the fine, does the state "forgive me" for my offense? I wouldn't call that forgiveness, I'd call it, "Getting penalized for committing the offense."
Forgiving in that context would mean not making you pay.

Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
If someone wrongs you, pays their (proportional) debt, and you harbor a grudge or anger, then that isn't a problem of lack of forgiveness, it's that you haven't accepted their payment.
Same thing. That's what forgiveness is: no longer wanting the payment or consequences. If you still do want that, then you haven't forgiven. Whether you should or shouldn't is a separate question from whether you do or don't, but just focusing on the do/don't and not letting the should/shouldn't cloud the issue, the definition is pretty simple & straightforward: if you do, you haven't forgiven, because if you don't, then that's forgiveness.

Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
But why shouldn't there be the expectation of consequences?
Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
Why shouldn't one be vengeful against someone who wronged you?
Maybe sometimes you should. Maybe sometimes you shouldn't. But those don't affect the meaning of the word for what you should/shouldn't do. There's a word for that thing, and it means what it means, whether you should do it or not.
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Old 31st January 2021, 02:26 PM   #14
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I always thought the important part of forgiveness is that the recipient is pentinent? You know, cops to the wrongdoing and makes what ammends they can, then the forgiveness clears the slate of any balance
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Old 31st January 2021, 02:33 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
Certain religions make a big deal out of the concept of "forgiveness." It's generally considered a virtue.

Their justification is that, hey, God has to forgive our sins (mistakes) because if he didn't, we would otherwise all deserve to fry in hell because no one is perfect, and so if he didn't forgive us, then there would be no hope for us.

I have to say, I don't get it. Can someone please explain to me the concept of "forgiveness" and why it is a good thing?

The problem with the God situation I gave above is that "frying in hell" is not necessarily a reasonable response for the magnitude of the sin. Even if God didn't forgive our sins, he wouldn't need to throw us in hell. He could just provide a proportional punishment.

It's even worse among people. If someone wrongs me, why should I forgive them? Why shouldn't I expect them to face consequences for their actions? Sure, if they have done so, I can say let bygones be bygones - you messed up, paid your dues as a result, ok move on. But that's not "forgiveness" as I understand it. If I get caught speeding and pay my fine, I'm not forgiven for having done it.

Maybe my understanding of it is wrong. In that case, can someone please explain the concept of forgiveness and why it should be considered a virtue?

And don't even get me started on "forgive and forget." You've done me wrong, why should I "forget" that you did that? Again, make the response proportional to the offense, but that doesn't mean you have to pretend it never happened.
The Christian God can forgive even the unforgivable. You cannot. Even in your own inner reality, you are not a god. Even in your own inner reality, you are not in control. What is in control? The base instincts of your animal brain chemistry.
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Old 31st January 2021, 03:44 PM   #16
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I think there's a difference between forgiveness and acceptance. My uncle once did something classless and selfish, and my grandmother never "forgave" him for it. It wasn't that she was pissed off over the incident itself (although she was at the time), it was that by doing what he did he revealed himself to be selfish and petty. That was what my grandmother didn't like about him, and of course she couldn't "forgive" him for a state of being he made no effort to change. Forgiving people for unpleasant actions is one thing, deciding to accept that they are a certain way and will never change is something else.
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Old 31st January 2021, 06:27 PM   #17
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My late religious brother did a few things I was not comfortable with. Didn't seem to bother him though. I guess he felt comfortable with the thought that God had forgiven him even if those effected hadn't.
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Old 1st February 2021, 02:05 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
Certain religions make a big deal out of the concept of "forgiveness." It's generally considered a virtue.
That's because it's in the bible. God will judge you by your own rules and if you won't forgive somebody then God won't forgive you.

Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
I have to say, I don't get it. Can someone please explain to me the concept of "forgiveness" and why it is a good thing?
It's only a good thing if you are seeking God's forgiveness. If you don't believe in a God then any forgiveness/punishment is simply weighing the individual good against the collective good.
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Old 1st February 2021, 07:05 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
Certain religions make a big deal out of the concept of "forgiveness." It's generally considered a virtue.

Their justification is that, hey, God has to forgive our sins (mistakes) because if he didn't, we would otherwise all deserve to fry in hell because no one is perfect, and so if he didn't forgive us, then there would be no hope for us.

I have to say, I don't get it. Can someone please explain to me the concept of "forgiveness" and why it is a good thing?

The problem with the God situation I gave above is that "frying in hell" is not necessarily a reasonable response for the magnitude of the sin. Even if God didn't forgive our sins, he wouldn't need to throw us in hell. He could just provide a proportional punishment.

It's even worse among people. If someone wrongs me, why should I forgive them? Why shouldn't I expect them to face consequences for their actions? Sure, if they have done so, I can say let bygones be bygones - you messed up, paid your dues as a result, ok move on. But that's not "forgiveness" as I understand it. If I get caught speeding and pay my fine, I'm not forgiven for having done it.

Maybe my understanding of it is wrong. In that case, can someone please explain the concept of forgiveness and why it should be considered a virtue?

And don't even get me started on "forgive and forget." You've done me wrong, why should I "forget" that you did that? Again, make the response proportional to the offense, but that doesn't mean you have to pretend it never happened.
Maybe we could try this the other way around: what are the benefits of *not* forgiving? How do the grudges you hold make you and your life better?

As others have explained: forgiveness doesn't mean not imposing consequences or pretending the past never happened; it means accepting the need to move on, especially in a world where the person who wronged you continues to be present.

Suppose somebody does something that hurts you somehow. Also suppose that, for whatever reason, that the person in question is not one you can easily remove from your day-to-day life indefinitely.

What sort of relationship do you want to have with that person moving forward? Do you want to be pointedly ignoring that person, or spitting at them forever? Getting angry at them for having the temerity to persist in your environment? Saying nasty things to or about them at every chance? Remembering and talking about nothing concerning that person except the wrong they did you? Does that sound like an outcome you want? Does that sound like a righteous outcome? If the answer to any of the above questions is "no", then forgiveness has value: it offers us an alternative to either "canceling" someone or remaining fruitlessly (and in some cases toxically) resentful of their continued existence.

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Old 1st February 2021, 07:40 AM   #20
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This is so weird.

If someone's wronged you, then get your facts right, back them up. Then go out and confront the ******* that's wronged you, and/or tell everyone who would be interested as well as everyone who might rightly be concerned about what did happen, taking care to back up everything you're saying. Further, take recourse to the law, if there's something illegal going on there.

I'm assuming you don't just want to let it go. If you did, then the question wouldn't have arisen. Had "forgiveness" been spontaneous, either from the largeness of your heart, or from how relatively petty was the transgression, then you wouldn't have been cogitating about whether to forgive, you'd just have done it. So we can take it, I think, that this is something big, so far as you are concerned.

See the thing to the end, then move on. End of story.

-------------------------
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If you're "moving on" simply because there isn't anything much you can do about what happened to you, why then while it might be best to make your peace with the situation, that's just compromise, that's just making peace with the situation, that isn't forgiveness at all.

---------
---------

As for the religious gobbledygook about forgiveness? Why bother with that? Dump that in the same bin you dump the rest of that kind of nonsense.

That blesseth him who gives and him who taketh business is bull. If you've been wronged, then eye for an eye does blesseth you and make you feel good. If it comes naturally, then forgiving also blesseth you and maketh you feeleth good. If it doesn't come naturally, then making your peace with what cannot be helped feels better than not making your peace with it, but that isn't forgiveness at all, per se.

-----
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I mean, sorry, what's not to understand? This is religious dictums we're talking about, right? That kind of thing is far more likely to be entirely nonsensical than not.
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Old 1st February 2021, 10:25 AM   #21
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Ok, but Life is short and the best revenge is living well. If someone wrongs you and your personal party rolls along like you didn't even notice, isn't that the most disheartening thing you could lay on the wrongdoer? Degree of damage being a factor, of course.
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Old 1st February 2021, 11:24 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
As for the religious gobbledygook about forgiveness? Why bother with that? Dump that in the same bin you dump the rest of that kind of nonsense.
I doubt that the OP posted this in the religious section because they didn't want to include a religious perspective.
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Old 1st February 2021, 11:34 AM   #23
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What makes humans different from other animals is our inherent knowledge of good and evil. Now Martin Luther believed every man has a choice. Each man rides either the beast of good or the beast of evil [according to him]. Calvin took if further and came up with the concept of predestination. In other words, those chosen by God have a duty to live as righteous a life as possible to qualify as a saint. The evil doers and non-chosen do not matter as they just die.

So, how to keep on the straight and narrow path of goodness? You have to get rid f the burden of hatred and ill will towards others (cf 'forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us'). Christians ask God for forgiveness because they have chosen good over evil and want to follow that path consciously.
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Old 2nd February 2021, 05:58 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Ok, but Life is short and the best revenge is living well. If someone wrongs you and your personal party rolls along like you didn't even notice, isn't that the most disheartening thing you could lay on the wrongdoer? Degree of damage being a factor, of course.

Most "wrongdoers" don't care one way or the other. Why would they? Some swindler that's swindled you, is after what they can get out of it. Whether you fold up in a heap after that, or bounce back and thrive and prosper, most won't give two pins, except in as much as they might target you again if you happen to be some naive forgiving mark.

Except, I guess, some very twisted relationship, that is of a very personal nature, where the aim of the "wrongdoer" is to actually cause you pain. That kind of twisted situation, okay, I agree, your "living well" might be an apt answer to them. Even then, no reason why that "living well" shouldn't be accompanied by titting their tat back, proportionately of course: that would be two separate "answers", each of them individually entirely apt. I don't see why the one needs preclude the other.




Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
I doubt that the OP posted this in the religious section because they didn't want to include a religious perspective.

You mean, how do the religious themselves see this? Surely that kind of perspective is little use to an atheist, unless of course you're trying to psycho-analyze, to understand, some theist, either because you're writing a novel or because you want to get in their pants? (Kidding, there could be any number of valid reasons to "understand" some religious person's POV.)

Well, to do that you'll probably have to bid goodbye to reason. I guess the easiest answer is, God wants you to do it, ergo doing it is good, and not doing it is bad and in fact a sin, and therefore you do it? You don't need very complicated reasons to support a religious idea -- although, in practice, since people are complicated, the de facto reason could be complicated. On the other hand, de facto, no two people are alike, so every religious person might well have their own complex idiosyncratic reason that is a mish mash of very many things.

The reasonable person, who isn't given to these fairy tales, probably doesn't have to bother with all that, at all. Not for themselves, at least. Like I said, they may well want to to figure out how some theist's mind ticks, but that's a more personal and individual thing, and will probably vary from person to person.
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Old 2nd February 2021, 07:30 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Most "wrongdoers" don't care one way or the other. Why would they? Some swindler that's swindled you, is after what they can get out of it. Whether you fold up in a heap after that, or bounce back and thrive and prosper, most won't give two pins, except in as much as they might target you again if you happen to be some naive forgiving mark.

Except, I guess, some very twisted relationship, that is of a very personal nature, where the aim of the "wrongdoer" is to actually cause you pain. That kind of twisted situation, okay, I agree, your "living well" might be an apt answer to them. Even then, no reason why that "living well" shouldn't be accompanied by titting their tat back, proportionately of course: that would be two separate "answers", each of them individually entirely apt. I don't see why the one needs preclude the other.







You mean, how do the religious themselves see this? Surely that kind of perspective is little use to an atheist, unless of course you're trying to psycho-analyze, to understand, some theist, either because you're writing a novel or because you want to get in their pants? (Kidding, there could be any number of valid reasons to "understand" some religious person's POV.)

Well, to do that you'll probably have to bid goodbye to reason. I guess the easiest answer is, God wants you to do it, ergo doing it is good, and not doing it is bad and in fact a sin, and therefore you do it? You don't need very complicated reasons to support a religious idea -- although, in practice, since people are complicated, the de facto reason could be complicated. On the other hand, de facto, no two people are alike, so every religious person might well have their own complex idiosyncratic reason that is a mish mash of very many things.

The reasonable person, who isn't given to these fairy tales, probably doesn't have to bother with all that, at all. Not for themselves, at least. Like I said, they may well want to to figure out how some theist's mind ticks, but that's a more personal and individual thing, and will probably vary from person to person.
What if the wrongdoer is a spouse who cheated and wants to make things right? Or a child who carelessly broke something irreplaceable. Does your forgiveness meter work differently if you care about the person? I think that's what religions push, to love your neighbor and think of them as family, even when they wrong you.
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Old 2nd February 2021, 10:10 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
What if the wrongdoer is a spouse who cheated and wants to make things right? Or a child who carelessly broke something irreplaceable. Does your forgiveness meter work differently if you care about the person? I think that's what religions push, to love your neighbor and think of them as family, even when they wrong you.

Heh, I don't know who gave me a PhD in Forgiveness, that I should keep pontificating so, but hell, this seems so entirely straightforward:

First, only a fool would think of those who are not family as family, and those who are not friends as friends. Whether that foolishness traces to religiosity and crazy religious doctrine, or to general slow-witted gullibility, foolish is exactly what that is. That kind of thing is surefire recipe to being scammed, repeatedly. That thing they say, Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me?

What when you're dealing not with some rando that's wronged you, but someone really close, say a spouse, a girlfriend, or a very close friend? Again, if forgiveness comes spontaneously, because of the inherent largeness of your heart, or because the transgression is trivial, then that's that, no need to overthink this. Otherwise, only a fool, blinkered with emotion, forgives repeatedly and unequivocally. Should there be repentance, should there be actual change, then sure, absolutely: otherwise, again, that kind of free-flowing forgiveness for repeated and non-trivial transgressions is open invitation for people to walk all over you. A relationship based on that kind of thing is the exact opposite of healthy.

And a child? Hey, a child is different. They're not an adult. There's nothing to "forgive" per se. No forgiveness involved, at all, where a child is concerned; merely proper guidance, sometimes strictness and more often understanding and acceptance, but where's the question of "forgiving" a child? Unless that "child" is actually a son or daughter that's a mature adult, in which case see the above paragraph: the same thing applies.
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Old 2nd February 2021, 10:24 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Heh, I don't know who gave me a PhD in Forgiveness, that I should keep pontificating so, but hell, this seems so entirely straightforward:

First, only a fool would think of those who are not family as family, and those who are not friends as friends. Whether that foolishness traces to religiosity and crazy religious doctrine, or to general slow-witted gullibility, foolish is exactly what that is. That kind of thing is surefire recipe to being scammed, repeatedly. That thing they say, Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me?

What when you're dealing not with some rando that's wronged you, but someone really close, say a spouse, a girlfriend, or a very close friend? Again, if forgiveness comes spontaneously, because of the inherent largeness of your heart, or because the transgression is trivial, then that's that, no need to overthink this. Otherwise, only a fool, blinkered with emotion, forgives repeatedly and unequivocally. Should there be repentance, should there be actual change, then sure, absolutely: otherwise, again, that kind of free-flowing forgiveness for repeated and non-trivial transgressions is open invitation for people to walk all over you. A relationship based on that kind of thing is the exact opposite of healthy.

And a child? Hey, a child is different. They're not an adult. There's nothing to "forgive" per se. No forgiveness involved, at all, where a child is concerned; merely proper guidance, sometimes strictness and more often understanding and acceptance, but where's the question of "forgiving" a child? Unless that "child" is actually a son or daughter that's a mature adult, in which case see the above paragraph: the same thing applies.
I think that is the OP's answer, in a neat phrase. Religions push that largeness of heart pretty strongly. Christians like to call each other (and non-xians, sometimes) 'brother' to reinforce this.

Me personally, I'm inclined to let a lot go. I don't need the whole Hatfield and McCoy vibe running my life. But I get your point about not being walked over. I think it boils down to ongoing problems versus problems that are over with. I'll forgive just about anything that doesn't have ongoing damages.
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Old 2nd February 2021, 10:50 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
I think that is the OP's answer, in a neat phrase. Religions push that largeness of heart pretty strongly. Christians like to call each other (and non-xians, sometimes) 'brother' to reinforce this.

Me personally, I'm inclined to let a lot go. I don't need the whole Hatfield and McCoy vibe running my life. But I get your point about not being walked over. I think it boils down to ongoing problems versus problems that are over with. I'll forgive just about anything that doesn't have ongoing damages.

My point is, it cannot be "pushed". If it's "pushed", then it isn't spontaneous, then it's strategy and/or pretense, in which case, see my previous posts, and especially the one immediately preceding.

For small, trivial things, forgiveness might come naturally. It would be dysfunctional to deliberately go against your instincts and get vindictive. And of course, what is "trivial" will vary from person to person, depending on their circumstances and their temperament ("the largeness of their heart").

Calling someone your brother, as Christians do, as other religious folks like Muslims also do, doesn't actually make them brotherly. Sure, a friend can actually be closer to you than an actual sibling, that happens all the time: but again, that happens spontaneously, and it's silly to pretend some rando is your brother, or your friend, just because he happens to be your (literal or figurative) neighbor.



eta:

Quote:
Me personally, I'm inclined to let a lot go. I don't need the whole Hatfield and McCoy vibe running my life. But I get your point about not being walked over. I think it boils down to ongoing problems versus problems that are over with. I'll forgive just about anything that doesn't have ongoing damages.

Whatever works for you, and not for me to say that isn't the right thing for you.

But say some friend's swindled you in the past, right? It's all over and done with, now. So, do you forgive? Do you trust them again? If nothing has changed, the friend hasn't repented and hasn't turned over a new leaf, then if your forgiveness amounts to trusting them again, as if nothing has happened, then that's open invitation to being swindled again. And if you stay on your guard, if you take measures to protect yourself, either by not dealing with them or by taking extra-careful precautions, why then in practice you haven't forgiven them at all, right?

I don't think "forgive and forget" is very good advice, not unless it's for things that are too trivial to bother with.

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Old 2nd February 2021, 12:13 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
My point is, it cannot be "pushed". If it's "pushed", then it isn't spontaneous, then it's strategy and/or pretense, in which case, see my previous posts, and especially the one immediately preceding.
They 'push' for becoming a different kind of person, not to be phony. As in revamping the whole way you live. That's kind of their thing, rebirth. I'm not advocating it, just trying to answer the OP question.

Quote:
For small, trivial things, forgiveness might come naturally. It would be dysfunctional to deliberately go against your instincts and get vindictive. And of course, what is "trivial" will vary from person to person, depending on their circumstances and their temperament ("the largeness of their heart").

Calling someone your brother, as Christians do, as other religious folks like Muslims also do, doesn't actually make them brotherly. Sure, a friend can actually be closer to you than an actual sibling, that happens all the time: but again, that happens spontaneously, and it's silly to pretend some rando is your brother, or your friend, just because he happens to be your (literal or figurative) neighbor.
But that's exactly what they teach: randos are your brothers, too. The parable of the Good Samaritan lays that out pretty clearly.

Quote:
Whatever works for you, and not for me to say that isn't the right thing for you.

But say some friend's swindled you in the past, right? It's all over and done with, now. So, do you forgive? Do you trust them again? If nothing has changed, the friend hasn't repented and hasn't turned over a new leaf, then if your forgiveness amounts to trusting them again, as if nothing has happened, then that's open invitation to being swindled again. And if you stay on your guard, if you take measures to protect yourself, either by not dealing with them or by taking extra-careful precautions, why then in practice you haven't forgiven them at all, right?

I don't think "forgive and forget" is very good advice, not unless it's for things that are too trivial to bother with.
Why do you think forgive must be paired with forget? I forgive hommies who have done me bad, but I don't forget or give them the opportunity again. It's just who they are. Forgiveness is one thing, rebuilding trust and selective amnesia seem like unrelated topics.
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Old 2nd February 2021, 12:35 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
They 'push' for becoming a different kind of person, not to be phony. As in revamping the whole way you live. That's kind of their thing, rebirth. I'm not advocating it, just trying to answer the OP question.



But that's exactly what they teach: randos are your brothers, too. The parable of the Good Samaritan lays that out pretty clearly.



Why do you think forgive must be paired with forget? I forgive hommies who have done me bad, but I don't forget or give them the opportunity again. It's just who they are. Forgiveness is one thing, rebuilding trust and selective amnesia seem like unrelated topics.


OK, not to beat this to death, it's not like I'm world expert on forgiveness, no reason for me to monopolize this thread with freeform self-appointed expert-speak. And you've got some good points there, sure.

Let me, in this last post from me in this thread, touch on this one thing, because, basis what you've said earlier, this seems kind of curious. As you see this, how does the following work?


(a) You brought up the cheating spouse earlier. So, what on earth might it be like to forgive that spouse, but "don't forget or give them the opportunity again"?


(b) For that matter, how might this work for anyone at all? What, in your view, would be the difference between forgiving and not forgetting, and not forgiving, in general (and not just the spouse thing)?
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Old 2nd February 2021, 01:44 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
I have to say, I don't get it. Can someone please explain to me the concept of "forgiveness" and why it is a good thing?
It's about blood feuds. Personal injustice done to avenge past injustice, which only serve to spawn future injustices avenging it as well. 90% of all ancient laws boil down to "can we knock it off with the damn blood feuds already?"
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Old 2nd February 2021, 01:58 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
OK, not to beat this to death, it's not like I'm world expert on forgiveness, no reason for me to monopolize this thread with freeform self-appointed expert-speak. And you've got some good points there, sure.

Let me, in this last post from me in this thread, touch on this one thing, because, basis what you've said earlier, this seems kind of curious. As you see this, how does the following work?


(a) You brought up the cheating spouse earlier. So, what on earth might it be like to forgive that spouse, but "don't forget or give them the opportunity again"?


(b) For that matter, how might this work for anyone at all? What, in your view, would be the difference between forgiving and not forgetting, and not forgiving, in general (and not just the spouse thing)?
For both: you can forgive ie not hold a grudge, but still remember that this person has betrayal in their blood, so they are not given blind trust moving onward.

Say one of my home boys burned me on a job, overbilled or cut corners or something. Either he came clean or got caught, said he was in desperate financial straights or whatever. When the dust settles, if I am confident it is not an ongoing problem (or he just felt bad enough), we can keep working together, but his billing will be scrutinized and workmanship double checked for a while. No hard feelings, but no benefit of the doubt, either.

Eta: had to remove stupid smiley face up top
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Old 2nd February 2021, 03:07 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
You mean, how do the religious themselves see this? Surely that kind of perspective is little use to an atheist, . . . .
I already addressed this aspect above (see post #18 above).

The fact remains that there is no point in posting this question in a religion section if you are not interested in the religious POV.
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Old 2nd February 2021, 03:26 PM   #34
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I forgive myself for not forgiving nor forgetting the wrongs others have done against me. This doesn’t mean I have hateful, vindictive, vengeful and angry emotions towards these people.
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Old 2nd February 2021, 03:49 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
I forgive myself for not forgiving nor forgetting the wrongs others have done against me. This doesn’t mean I have hateful, vindictive, vengeful and angry emotions towards these people.
And I forgive you for that. Are we having a regular kumbaya circle jerk or what?
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Old 2nd February 2021, 04:06 PM   #36
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Forgiveness is, essentially, an internal letting go of the anger you feel towards another who has wronged you.

In a religious context, your sin angers god. In order to be in a state of grace, you need god to forgive you -to let go of his anger towards you.

It's no different than relations with your significant other: if you wrong your spouse, they are mad at you and you can't get into heaven (wink wink) if they are mad at you.
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Old 2nd February 2021, 04:20 PM   #37
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Saying “I forgive you” is essentially saying “I’m better than you”.

Why would be people want to be insulted?
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Old 2nd February 2021, 04:21 PM   #38
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And to add to the religious angle a little: I've never understood the Christian denominations that preach about Salvation by Faith Alone -that you are saved/forgiven if you simply accept Christ as your savior. I think the Catholic version where you have to confess your sins and then do pennance makes more sense. I think the Buddhist/Hindu version where you incur karmic debt that you must pay off in the next incarnation also makes more sense.

I don't mean "makes more sense," in that it's any kind of reflection of reality, I just mean that it more closely aligns with what I understand forgiveness to mean. I mean, it makes no sense that god would be angry with you for sinning but gives you a pass because you profess acceptance of Christ as savior. Just as it would make no sense to forgive my wife for cheating on me just because she says she loves me.
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Old 2nd February 2021, 04:41 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
Just as it would make no sense to forgive my wife for cheating on me just because she says she loves me.
You don't think that regularly happens?
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Old 2nd February 2021, 04:41 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
And to add to the religious angle a little: I've never understood the Christian denominations that preach about Salvation by Faith Alone -that you are saved/forgiven if you simply accept Christ as your savior. I think the Catholic version where you have to confess your sins and then do pennance makes more sense. I think the Buddhist/Hindu version where you incur karmic debt that you must pay off in the next incarnation also makes more sense.

I don't mean "makes more sense," in that it's any kind of reflection of reality, I just mean that it more closely aligns with what I understand forgiveness to mean. I mean, it makes no sense that god would be angry with you for sinning but gives you a pass because you profess acceptance of Christ as savior. Just as it would make no sense to forgive my wife for cheating on me just because she says she loves me.
My understanding is that this is the 'if' part of an if/then.

Jesus said somewhere in there, if you love me, keep my commandments. Its that second part, the 'then' thing, that gets swept under the rug.
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