Forgiveness actually reduces wrongdoing?

  • #1
Loren Booda
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Is there evidence to support the contention that evil can be overcome by grace and amnesty?
 

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  • #2
moving finger
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Is there evidence to support the contention that evil can be overcome by grace and amnesty?
Before we can answer this, we need to agree exactly what is meant by the word "evil" in this context... could you elaborate?

Best Regards

Moving Finger
 
  • #3
Loren Booda
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Here by "evil" I mean not in the supernatural sense, but as deeds of malevolence.
 
  • #4
arildno
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Well, I'm not sure.
But I do believe it eases the unhappiness of the victim in overcoming the stage of a hard knot of fear and hatred in the belly and "let go", so to speak.
 
  • #5
moving finger
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Here by "evil" I mean not in the supernatural sense, but as deeds of malevolence.
Then it depends on the underlying causes or reasons for malevolent behaviour, and the attitude of the malevolent agent towards his/her own behaviour.

For any particular instance of malevolence, we must ask "why is this agent acting in a malevolent manner"? It may be the case that the agent in question feels genuine remorse for his/her malevolent behaviour and will respond positively to an act of forgiveness.

The ultimate purpose of any remedial course action in the case of malevolent or criminal behaviour must be not revenge nor retribution, but simply to prevent similar further behaviour. If this can be accomplished through reason and rational behaviour, avoiding punishment or incarceration, then so much the better.

Best Regards

Moving Finger
 
  • #6
verty
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I think there is anecdotal evidence, because people typically resent being shown to be wrong. Having been shown to be wrong, they would likely avoid that person in the future or be more cautious about expressing their opinion.

However, I don't imagine sociopaths or serial killers (among others) can be turned.
 
  • #7
radou
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Is there evidence to support the contention that evil can be overcome by grace and amnesty?

An interesting thought. Probably there is something to it, since the fact that hatred's main fuel is hatred itself is a well known fact.
 
  • #8
baywax
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Is there evidence to support the contention that evil can be overcome by grace and amnesty?

The idea of teaching by example and its results constitutes the evidence that evil can be overcome by grace and amnesty.

Teaching by example of barbaric acts (death sentence, hanging, whipping, be-heading, keel-hauling) leads to more of those kinds of actions in the society that is governed by these viceral decrees.

edit, but the example of a few well meaning, graceful and forgiving law makers takes more than a generation to take hold and influence a larger population.
 
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  • #9
moving finger
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Teaching by example of barbaric acts (death sentence, hanging, whipping, be-heading, keel-hauling) leads to more of those kinds of actions in the society that is governed by these viceral decrees.
I'm not convinced that there is a clear case of cause and effect here - are these severe punishments in place because of the barbaric and lawless nature of some elements of society - or are some elements of society barbaric and lawless in nature because of the severe punishments which are in place? It's not that simple...

Take the gun law in the USA for example. Do people in the US feel they need to have the right to own firearms because US society is dangerous - or is US society dangerous because people feel the need to have the right to own firearms? This is undoubtedly a two-way process/relationship, each feeds on the other in a vicious circle. There is no simple one-way cause and effect relationship, but one certainly cannot break this vicious circle by clinging to ideas of punishment, retribution and revenge and denying the efficacy of forgiveness.

Best Regards

Moving Finger
 
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  • #10
baywax
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I'm not convinced that there is a clear case of cause and effect here - are these severe punishments in place because of the barbaric and lawless nature of some elements of society - or are some elements of society barbaric and lawless in nature because of the severe punishments which are in place? It's not that simple...

Take the gun law in the USA for example. Do people in the US feel they need to have the right to own firearms because US society is dangerous - or is US society dangerous because people feel the need to have the right to own firearms? This is undoubtedly a two-way process/relationship, each feeds on the other in a vicious circle. There is no simple one-way cause and effect relationship, but one certainly cannot break this vicious circle by clinging to ideas of punishment, retribution and revenge and denying the efficacy of forgiveness.

Best Regards

Moving Finger

If we look at the physiological and psychological causes of learned traits you'll see that the cause and effect are clearly defined. A society teaches the individual how to behave. In rare instances an individual will have influence on society. In the microcosim, the family authority teaches the subordinates (by example) how to behave, regardless of what the content of idealized written and verbal decrees are, the examples set are the behaviors that are mimiced.

Gun laws stem from a chaotic and violent past. Pioneering a vast continent required the use of guns. There were competing civilizations and individuals to wipe out, and "ferocious" animals to kill. This was the cause of the right to bear arms. Today the evolution of that past approach to colonization is evident on macro and mico scales. Gangs, militants and self-professed vigilanties have their root in this past. Political and covert international influences are governed by the mechanisms taught by the forefathers of colonization. It seems clear to me that leading by example is by far the most effective teaching method.

edit, what seems odd is that the consequences of using violence as a method of punishment and/or colonization are useless as a foundation for a progressive and harmonic society. As you say, forgiveness, tolerance and compassion create the type of foundation upon which progress and harmony thrive. Its interesting to note that America's "welcome arms" to the world's refugees and immigrants are the same arms that are covered in the blood of the American Natives, African Slaves and exploited foreign nationals. This dicotomy shows up as an even divide among voters and as a schizophrenic approach to foreign policies.
 
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  • #11
Loren Booda
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Well put, until the misuse of the word "schizophrenic," which actually describes sufferers who even nowadays are shackled, abused, abandoned and humiliated due their no-fault illness. Here in the U.S. they are given the "freedom to be psychotic."
 
  • #12
baywax
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Well put, until the misuse of the word "schizophrenic," which actually describes sufferers who even nowadays are shackled, abused, abandoned and humiliated due their no-fault illness. Here in the U.S. they are given the "freedom to be psychotic."

My apologies to those who might be suffering due to a diagnosis or an actual condition of schizophrenia. I could simply use a word like dicotomy or "two faced" or dual purposed but when you see "peace" enforced with "force" I guess it would be more like a dissonant practise or simply put, deceptive.

(sticking with my hypothesis) the actions of today's leaders are the result of the examples set by yesterday's icons of authority.
 
  • #13
moving finger
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If we look at the physiological and psychological causes of learned traits you'll see that the cause and effect are clearly defined. A society teaches the individual how to behave. In rare instances an individual will have influence on society. In the microcosim, the family authority teaches the subordinates (by example) how to behave, regardless of what the content of idealized written and verbal decrees are, the examples set are the behaviors that are mimiced.
I humbly suggest it's not as clearly "one-way" as you would perhaps like to think. Society is nothing more nor less than a collection of individuals, to suggest that society "causes" individuals to act in a certain way, and at the same time deny that individuals can have any effect on that society, would be erroneous.

It seems clear to me that leading by example is by far the most effective teaching method.
And such a method is efficacious if and only if individuals can affect society, in addition to society affecting individuals - precisely my point. There is no simple "one-way" cause and effect relationship, there are causes and effects both ways.

Returning to the OP - forgiveness is effective only when there is remorse and a willingness and ability to act correctly in future. If a wrong-doer is genuinely remorseful (ie recognises that what he/she did was wrong), and is willing and able to act correctly in future, then forgiveness is an efficacious course of action. However, if there is no remorse, or if the wrong-doer has no intention of acting (or is unable to act) correctly in future, then forgiveness alone would be misguided.

MF
 
  • #14
Solidly-here
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"evil can be overcome by grace and amnesty?"

The word "overcoming" sounds like there is a war going on.

But, evil can be met with grace and amnesty.
This will tend to minimize further evil.

And to moving finger: "forgiveness is effective only when there is remorse and a willingness and ability to act correctly in future."

In one sense, maybe.
The way I view forgiveness is: I don't want to keep holding on to a Grudge.
If someone injures me (or my feelings), I will sit with that injury, until I forgive him.
My hating him ONLY affects me. He feels nothing, yet I sit there filled with hatred.
I am losing, and he is STILL winning, and still hurting me.

There's a story I heard: Two men were Prisoners of War. They were tortured often.
They met 20 years later at a reunion. The first guy asked: "Do you STILL hate our captors?"
The other guy growled: "Yes, I will hate them forever."
The first guy said: "Well, then they've still got you imprisoned, don't they?"

I forgive myself for allowing myself to put up with the crap that the other person did to me.
I could have avoided it (or handled it better) . . . but I didn't.
So, being a kind guy, I will forgive myself for being upset by the event.
 
  • #15
moving finger
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And to moving finger: "forgiveness is effective only when there is remorse and a willingness and ability to act correctly in future."

In one sense, maybe.
The way I view forgiveness is: I don't want to keep holding on to a Grudge.
If someone injures me (or my feelings), I will sit with that injury, until I forgive him.
My hating him ONLY affects me. He feels nothing, yet I sit there filled with hatred.
I am losing, and he is STILL winning, and still hurting me.

There's a story I heard: Two men were Prisoners of War. They were tortured often.
They met 20 years later at a reunion. The first guy asked: "Do you STILL hate our captors?"
The other guy growled: "Yes, I will hate them forever."
The first guy said: "Well, then they've still got you imprisoned, don't they?"

I forgive myself for allowing myself to put up with the crap that the other person did to me.
I could have avoided it (or handled it better) . . . but I didn't.
So, being a kind guy, I will forgive myself for being upset by the event.
I believe this illustrates the notion that the course of "not forgiving" someone whilst at the same time "not taking any action about it" is a useless and possibly self-harming course. If I am to take the course of "not forgiving" some person for an act in the past, then my course is useful if and only if it leads to some action or behaviour of mine which is in line with such non-forgiveness. Such an action or behaviour could be (for example) acting to punish that person, to incarcerate that person, or to change that person's behaviour.

Combining "non-forgiveness" with an act which is compatible with that non-forgiveness is therefore often completely efficacious.

On the other, simply forgiving someone who has committed a wrongful act, knowing that that person shows no remorse and has no intention of acting differently in future, would be inefficacious and therefore a mistake.
 
  • #16
baywax
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Here by "evil" I mean not in the supernatural sense, but as deeds of malevolence.

Deeds of malevolence can only continue with a certain amount of forgiveness occurring amongst those perpetrating the malevolence.

If the perps were to practise malevolence on each other the malevolence would end in a short period of time because the source would be extinquished. So, in this light, the malevolence is dependent upon a system of tolerance and forgiveness.

This shows the power of tolerance and balance. The malevolence is dependent upon ethical behavior within its ranks but does not practise it beyond a defined boundary.

According to an unwritten law, at some point when the unethical behavior reaches an unbalanced proportion within a social system, the malevolence will be arrested by a turn of the tide. The mechanism that arrests it may be forgiveness and may be the malevolent role model that has been modeled by the perps.

edit. I think its a case of which role model demostrates the most likelyhood of offering a survival model. If the role of forgiveness and tolerance demostrates an ability to create an enjoyable and long lived survivability, then it will attract the majority of people. If malevolence offers a similar survivability mechanism, it will be used as a role model.

But, as I pointed out, it is by the power of tolerance within the ranks of malevolent perpetrators that they are able to survive as a unit. This bodes well for the status of forgiveness and tolerance.
 
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  • #17
moving finger
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Deeds of malevolence can only continue with a certain amount of forgiveness occurring amongst those perpetrating the malevolence.

If the perps were to practise malevolence on each other the malevolence would end in a short period of time because the source would be extinquished. So, in this light, the malevolence is dependent upon a system of tolerance and forgiveness.
This however does not apply in a system where the perpetrators of malevolence are in the minority and most of the victoms of that malevolence are the innocent majority (as is the case in most real societies). In this case, malevolence is not "dependent upon a system of tolerance and forgiveness".
 
  • #18
baywax
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This however does not apply in a system where the perpetrators of malevolence are in the minority and most of the victoms of that malevolence are the innocent majority (as is the case in most real societies). In this case, malevolence is not "dependent upon a system of tolerance and forgiveness".

The Nazi SS showed forgiveness and tolerance toward their leader's (Hitler's) jewish anscestry, his diminutive stature and his unreasonable and unstrategic commands that were highly influenced by the syphilis he had contracted. Without that sense of forgiving and tolerance within the ranks of this malevolent political party there would probably have been a different outcome and perhaps no Nazi party to speak of.

The same can be said of the attitudes between SS officers. There had to be a degree of tolerance and forgiving of individual differences shown there to facilitate the malevolent method of reaching the 3rd Reicht's goals of totalitarianism.

Forgiveness and tolerance appear to hold an essential role in any social system. Without them the systems breakdown rapidly.

Therefore I would recommend that tolerance be used as a component that will not only quell malevolence but serve as a mechanism of behavior modification in the case of reforming the malevolent personality. It acts as a strong role model that is, if not consciously familiar, unconsciously accepted as an essential part of survival.
 
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  • #19
moving finger
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The Nazi SS showed forgiveness and tolerance toward their leader's (Hitler's) jewish anscestry, his diminutive stature and his unreasonable and unstrategic commands that were highly influenced by the syphilis he had contracted. Without that sense of forgiving and tolerance within the ranks of this malevolent political party there would probably have been a different outcome and perhaps no Nazi party to speak of.
It seems there is some confusion in this example about what exactly is being "forgiven". The topic of this thread is whether forgiveness of malevolent behaviour is effectual or not - in the example you give the Nazi party members were not forgiving Hitler for his malevolence, they were (according to you) forgiving him for his ancestry, stature and medical condition - which is not really relevant to the topic.

Forgiveness and tolerance appear to hold an essential role in any social system. Without them the systems breakdown rapidly.
Agreed the social system itself might break down, but it does not follow from this that any malevolence which is present within such a social system (especially if that malevolence is prevalent amongst a small minority of the members of that system) is in any way directly dependent on such forgiveness or tolerance.

Therefore I would recommend that tolerance be used as a component that will not only quell malevolence but serve as a mechanism of behavior modification in the case of reforming the malevolent personality. It acts as a strong role model that is, if not consciously familiar, unconsciously accepted as an essential part of survival.
I don't see how your "therefore" follows - you seem to be arguing on the one hand that malevolence feeds off forgiveness and tolerance, and on the other that forgiveness and tolerance quells malevolence?

I'll return to my earlier conclusion that forgiveness in the face of malevolence is effective if and only if there is remorse and/or willingness to alter future behaviour on the part of the perpetrator of that malevolence. Otherwise it's ineffective.
 
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  • #20
baywax
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It seems there is some confusion in this example about what exactly is being "forgiven". The topic of this thread is whether forgiveness of malevolent behaviour is effectual or not - in the example you give the Nazi party members were not forgiving Hitler for his malevolence, they were (according to you) forgiving him for his ancestry, stature and medical condition - which is not really relevant to the topic.


Agreed the social system itself might break down, but it does not follow from this that any malevolence which is present within such a social system (especially if that malevolence is prevalent amongst a small minority of the members of that system) is in any way directly dependent on such forgiveness or tolerance.


I don't see how your "therefore" follows - you seem to be arguing on the one hand that malevolence feeds off forgiveness and tolerance, and on the other that forgiveness and tolerance quells malevolence?

I'll return to my earlier conclusion that forgiveness in the face of malevolence is effective if and only if there is remorse and/or willingness to alter future behaviour on the part of the perpetrator of that malevolence. Otherwise it's ineffective.

The main point of what I've written, using the Nazis as example, is that tolerance and forgiving are inherent in every social system. Without them a system breaks down. The same is true in structural engineering, no tolerance - no structure. It was with that demonstration that I was able to conclude that when forgiveness and tolerance are applied toward modifying the behavior of a malevolent individual, forgiveness and tolerance has a 100% chance of being effective ("reaching" the individual) because it will be recognized (consciously or unconsciously) as a mechanism that leads toward the survival of that malevolent individual. And most individuals want to survive. When the individual is malevolent in a suicidal manner a different approach will probably be required.

edit: forgiveness (and the tolerance it requires) provides a universal role model that works toward the behavior modification of a malevolent individual. It is 100 percent recognizable as a means of survival (and if the perp doesn't survive, they can't change their behavior). Yet, as moving finger says, willingness plays a certain part in the modification of the malevolent behavior of an individual.
However, there is no better role model than forgiveness because any other role model will simply support the malevolent individual's earlier attitudes of indifference, violence, non-compassion and so on and so forth.
 
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  • #21
Huckleberry
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I'm not sure if forgiveness helps the wrongdoer, but I know it helps me when someone does something I consider wrong. If I can reconcile the evil act within myself then I don't have to express it towards others, thus reducing evil. If I can be sympathetic rather than vengeful then nobody else has to get hurt.

Perhaps the evildoer has had many experiences of vengeance wrongfully enacted upon him, which is why he acts vengefully towards others. His empathy for others is lacking because little was shown to him.

[Most of the posts here seem to indicate forgiveness as a method to somehow improve the perpetrator of the evil act. I've not seen that often in my experience and can't recall any instance where I have forgiven someone for their benifit. I forgive so that I can deal with the situation and move on with my life. To assume that someone else will be enlightened by my acts of grace seems a bit arrogant to me. I would hope that is the case, but that is not necessarily true.]
 
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  • #22
Huckleberry
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I don't see any necessary connection between tolerance and forgiveness. What one permits is not the same as what one pardons, and vice versa.
 
  • #23
baywax
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I don't see any necessary connection between tolerance and forgiveness. What one permits is not the same as what one pardons, and vice versa.

Permission and pardon are not necessarily "connected" to forgiveness either. Forgiveness is the result of a tolerant attitude toward a past deed. There can be no forgiveness without a tolerance of the motivations and actions that have taken place.
 
  • #24
moving finger
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The main point of what I've written, using the Nazis as example, is that tolerance and forgiving are inherent in every social system. Without them a system breaks down. The same is true in structural engineering, no tolerance - no structure.
This may be true - but how is this relevant to the question of whether forgiveness of malevolence in particular is effectual or not? Simply because forgiveness is an inherent part of most stable social structures, it does not follow from this that the forgiveness of each and every act is effectual.

It was with that demonstration that I was able to conclude that when forgiveness and tolerance are applied toward modifying the behavior of a malevolent individual, forgiveness and tolerance has a 100% chance of being effective ("reaching" the individual) because it will be recognized (consciously or unconsciously) as a mechanism that leads toward the survival of that malevolent individual.
I don't believe you have shown this.
 
  • #25
Huckleberry
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Permission and pardon are not necessarily "connected" to forgiveness either. Forgiveness is the result of a tolerant attitude toward a past deed. There can be no forgiveness without a tolerance of the motivations and actions that have taken place.
If I was married and my wife cheated on me I would not tolerate that, but I could forgive it eventually. The relationship would probably be over, but hopefully I would bear her no ill will.

If I was being treated unfairly at work but could not find a job elsewhere I could tolerate it, but could not forgive it as long as the behavior continued.

I see forgive and pardon as synonynyms, just as I see tolerate and permit as synonyms. I took them straight out of the thesaurus because I liked the assonance.

The way I see it, forgiveness is not necessary for evildoers to function as a group. They only need to tolerate each other to fulfill a common goal. They can take comfort in a group for support and protection. They also have to be cautious of their group. Without a minimum level of respect and usefulness to the group they will lose the support and protection and possibly become a victim of the group based on the severity of their evildoings. Most people who do wrong scorn forgiveness. It isn't necessary in a society of such people.
 
  • #26
baywax
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If I was married and my wife cheated on me I would not tolerate that, but I could forgive it eventually. The relationship would probably be over, but hopefully I would bear her no ill will.

If I was being treated unfairly at work but could not find a job elsewhere I could tolerate it, but could not forgive it as long as the behavior continued.

I see forgive and pardon as synonynyms, just as I see tolerate and permit as synonyms. I took them straight out of the thesaurus because I liked the assonance.

The way I see it, forgiveness is not necessary for evildoers to function as a group. They only need to tolerate each other to fulfill a common goal. They can take comfort in a group for support and protection. They also have to be cautious of their group. Without a minimum level of respect and usefulness to the group they will lose the support and protection and possibly become a victim of the group based on the severity of their evildoings. Most people who do wrong scorn forgiveness. It isn't necessary in a society of such people.

Can anyone show me a case of forgiveness that was enacted out of intolerance?
 
  • #27
baywax
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This may be true - but how is this relevant to the question of whether forgiveness of malevolence in particular is effectual or not? Simply because forgiveness is an inherent part of most stable social structures, it does not follow from this that the forgiveness of each and every act is effectual.

Obviously there will be varying degrees of malevolence and forgiveness. If your wife threw your IPOD in the garborator you might be able to forgive her easier than if she stuffed your hand in the garborator.


The thread is titled "wrong doing actually reduced by forgiveness"?

My answer is: Forgiveness provides a consciously and unconsiously recognizable role model that, over much time, will reduce wrong doing in a civil society.


I don't believe you have shown this.

Where a person has been forgiven, their chances of survival go up a lot more than if they were not forgiven.
 
  • #28
Huckleberry
477
7
Can anyone show me a case of forgiveness that was enacted out of intolerance?
I gave an example in the previous post.

If I was married and my wife cheated on me I would not tolerate that, but I could forgive it eventually. The relationship would probably be over, but hopefully I would bear her no ill will.
 
  • #29
baywax
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I gave an example in the previous post.

That's not an example of an actual case. You're hypothesising having never been married and never had a wife cheat on you.

Tolerance can mean that you have lived through a malevolent situation. ie: tolerated the blow torch your son use on you. At that point there is the choice of forgiveness or revenge.

If you die because of a malevolent situation, you are unable to forgive the incident. If you can tolerate your bank account being emptied by a malicious and malevolent act, there is the potential for forgiveness. If you cannot tolerate this theft, there is little to 0 chance that forgiveness will be forthcoming.

Is there an actual case where forgiveness was enacted without tolerance?
 
  • #30
Huckleberry
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You are right that it is not a personal experience that I am talking about. But are you saying that there has never been a marriage where one person has forgiven their spouse for cheating on them?

Being forced into a situation against ones will is not tolerance. I would not tolerate anyone using a blowtorch on me or cleaning out my bank account. I may forgive them, but I would not permit them to do those things.

You can use those as two more examples of forgiveness without tolerance.
 
  • #31
baywax
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But are you saying that there has never been a marriage where one person has forgiven their spouse for cheating on them?

I didn't write or say that. Some people beg their spouse to cheat on them.

Being forced into a situation against ones will is not tolerance.

But if one tolerates the situation, they are in a position where they are able to forgive it.

I would not tolerate anyone using a blowtorch on me or cleaning out my bank account. I may forgive them, but I would not permit them to do those things.

Until you experience these situations its very hard to know how you would react.

You can use those as two more examples of forgiveness without tolerance.

Not really.

There are countless examples of tolerance without forgiveness however. For example: The United States tolerated the extermination of a large group of people during the IIWW. Then, once involved, showed little mercy or forgiveness until the end of their involvement in that war.

Permissions come before an act.

Pardons are a legal suspension of proceedings such as what took place during the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. They also, like forgiveness, require tolerance.

Forgiveness is a personal "letting go" of an incident and a use of empathy and understanding when contemplating the motive and the history behind the motive (such as upbringing, past traumas, education, etc...)
 
  • #32
Huckleberry
477
7
Sorry, I just find it funny that anyone would consider someone tying another person down and going to town on them with a blowtorch as tolerance. It would be even stranger if that person allowed such an action to take place. No sane person would say, "Hey, I think it would be a good idea for you to burn my face with that blowtorch". I can speak with some certainly that I would react defensively to anyone attempting to do such a thing to me. I would not tolerate it willingly.

The only reason most people would 'tolerate' such situations is because they have been rendered helpless already. That is not tolerance. Here is a definition of tolerate. What definition are you using?

1. to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance; permit.
You describe pardons as a legal suspension of preceedings. Can you not see that I intended a different definition in my post, or do you think that by intentionally misinterpreting me that I would be confounded and agree with your theory of tolerance/forgiveness.
1. kind indulgence, as in forgiveness of an offense or discourtesy or in tolerance of a distraction or inconvenience


What is the purpose of this logic?
Huckleberry said:
If I was married and my wife cheated on me I would not tolerate that, but I could forgive it eventually. The relationship would probably be over, but hopefully I would bear her no ill will.
baywax said:
That's not an example of an actual case. You're hypothesising having never been married and never had a wife cheat on you.
Huckleberry said:
You are right that it is not a personal experience that I am talking about. But are you saying that there has never been a marriage where one person has forgiven their spouse for cheating on them?
baywax said:
I didn't write or say that. Some people beg their spouse to cheat on them.

I give an example and you say it doesn't apply because it didn't happen to me personally. I ask if you deny that the premise is true whether it happened to me or not. You respond by saying you never said that. So, what are you saying? Has a person ever forgiven their spouse for cheating or not? Or just skip all the run around and say why you really think it is not a valid argument.

Or not. It's not worth the time or effort to argue this way.

I do not forgive events. I forgive people. I do not forgive people to improve them in some way. I forgive people to satisfy myself, the only thing I arguably have any control over in this world.
 
  • #33
baywax
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I do not forgive events. I forgive people.

People are events.

I do not forgive people to improve them in some way. I forgive people to satisfy myself, the only thing I arguably have any control over in this world.

I see. Self-control is often considered part and parcel with tolerance and forgiveness.


If you go back and re-read my hypothetical example of a son wielding a blow torch on his parent you'll see that I am not suggesting it is a form of tolerance. I'm not sure why you keep repeating that it is tolerance. It is malevolent behavior for which one may have mustered the tolerance to forgive.

Its when a monk from the St. Francis school of christianity forgives a complete stranger using a blow torch maliciously that we are able to see a complete actualization of self-control and tolerance.

Once again I'll note that tolerance can mean surviving an incident. Not an intellectual tolerance but the actual, physical tolerance to survive or, at least, withstand a malevolent occurance.

Its only when physical tolerance is present that forgiveness becomes an option that would otherwise not be available to one who has no physical tolerance (be it physical in the sense of psychological, physiological or otherwise).

Therefore, acts of forgiveness appear to be dependent upon the tolerance levels that have been achieved by an individual, society, and or state.

In Philosophical terms

In its Declaration on the Principles of Tolerance, UNESCO offers a definition of tolerance that most closely matches our philosophical use of the word:

"Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance is harmony in difference."

We view tolerance as a way of thinking and feeling — but most importantly, of acting — that gives us peace in our individuality, respect for those unlike us, the wisdom to discern humane values and the courage to act upon them.

I'll point out one phrase that seems to fit what I'm talking about.

"Respect for those unlike us".

If I am a peaceful and law abiding citizen and there's some malevolent terrorist following some docturn that was made up in the back of a VW in an undisclosed country, my tolerance of him and his behavior is going to help to facilitate a forgiveness of him and his actions and my reaction to those actions, don't you think? Without that respect and tolerance, the guy is in a war with me and things get worse for whomever and wherever gets in the way. If the war does take place it teaches a whole generation of children how to live at war and that its common place and its actually a way to live. So they grow up thinking war is normal with an exponential thirst for fighting and living the war that was started because of a lack of tolerance, understanding, empathy, reason, intellect and forgiving on my part.

This should show how forgiveness can actually reduce wrong doing.
 
  • #34
Christians have been claiming they follow the moral oath ...as we forgive those that trespass against us...for 2000+ years. About 1 of 6 humans on the Earth claim to be Christians, does anyone see any reduction in "wrong doing" vis-a-vis mans inhumanity to man over this time period ? At the very least we should see a statistical trend of decreased wrong doing with increased numbers of Christians in the world over the past 2000 years--where's the beef ?
 
  • #35
baywax
Gold Member
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Christians have been claiming they follow the moral oath ...as we forgive those that trespass against us...for 2000+ years. About 1 of 6 humans on the Earth claim to be Christians, does anyone see any reduction in "wrong doing" vis-a-vis mans inhumanity to man over this time period ? At the very least we should see a statistical trend of decreased wrong doing with increased numbers of Christians in the world over the past 2000 years--where's the beef ?

What Christians say and what they do are completely different matters. More people have been damned and killed in the name of Christianity than any other religion.

The beef is in the action of forgiveness and it is an act that has yet to become common place. It can't be enforced by a prayer. It is enacted by a state of mind that really can only be reached through the role model and the education of a stable society.
 

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