Forgive, Refuse, or Walk Away

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Zhukov, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. Zhukov
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    Zhukov VIP Member

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    The famous Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal, recently died.

    He often posed an ethical question based on an experience in his life, and I'll pose that question here. Respond with whether or not you think he did the right thing and why, and what would you have done.

    What would you do?


    text from http://www.remember.org/imagine/limits/k_sawyer.htm, with my emphasis and [additions].
     
  2. USViking
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    USViking VIP Member

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    I would have spat in the Nazi's face, and never
    felt of moment of disquiet over it thereafter.
     
  3. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Forgiveness is such a multi-facted act...

    First, one cannot forgive someone unless a) the person asking forgiveness has transgressed, and b) the person being asked one the one transgressed against. For instance, if I hit person A, I can't ask person B to forgive me, because person B wasn't harmed; I have to ask person A for forgiveness. So before we can ask whether the prisoner has the right to extend forgiveness. In the example, the dying soldier has committed attrocities against the ethnic group of the prisoner, and likely against people the prisoner knew, loved, etc. So we may conclude that the prisoner can extend forgiveness.

    Should he? Why do we extend forgiveness in the first place? Forgiveness in its purest essence is an expression of love. We hold a person's worth to be greater than the transgression we have received; therefore, we forgive. But how can someone hold one person's life in higher esteen than the lives of the dozens, perhaps hundreds that were hurt or killed at that man's hands? The answer is that we are to value all lives, not just some lives, because all lives are precious in the eyes of God - not just Jews, and not just "good people." We must also consider how much we ourselves have been forgiven. Christ died for the sins of the world, so that God would be able to forgive all people's sins. So if we have been forgiven of acts that are punishable by death, then we should be much more willing to extend forgiveness to others for lesser sins.

    Therefore, yes, the prisoner should forgive the guard.
     
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  4. USViking
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    USViking VIP Member

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    Numerous people, and groups of people (including all Nazis)
    have been of negative worth, and as badly as me, you, and
    Wiesenthal may have sinned, none of our sins bear the least
    comparison to the sins commited by the dying Nazi in this vignetette.

    I do not think there is any moral imperative to forgive such sins,
    and Wiesenthat did not forgive them, although he did not express
    himself as forcefully as I would like to have.

    In a similar vien, I would harbor no thoughts of forgiveness for
    the members of present international terrorism. I suppose it
    does not harm, though, if others do wish to forgive them,
    as long as this forgiving nature does go so far as to spare the
    earthly life of any one of them.
     
  5. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I know they wouldn't deserve forgiveness. But I think Id forgive them regardless. Especially if i knew I was dying. As much to make things right before God as with this person. But you know I don't deserve forgiveness either, so I know Id want to forgive others who dont deserve it just because I want forgiveness myself.

    With that said, I hope I would be able to live up to that when I was actually faced with that dilemna.
     
  6. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    Excellent! Tried to rep you, but must spread the love!
     
  7. USViking
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    USViking VIP Member

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    How anyone can say that a mass murderer's worth is greater
    than the transgressions suffered by his victims, or that love is
    any defence against such people is beyond me.

    These two posters are not expressing true love and forgiveness,
    they are expressing a perverted caricature of them.
     
  8. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Agreed--Forgiveness is giving and an act of gratitude for the ability that we were given to do it. It doesn't release anyone of responsibility but it will cleanse the forgiver to better conduct further acts of kindness.
     
  9. no1tovote4
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    no1tovote4 VIP Member

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    Buddha said, "Hate only begets more hate only love can conquer hate..."

    Hate uses far more energy and takes conscious effort to continue. Forgiveness doesn't mean you must forget that you were ever a victim, and does not mean you hold him blameless. Forgiveness understands that he has harmed you, but doesn't dwell in the anger.

    I would forgive the guard.
     
  10. Mr. P
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    Mr. P Senior Member

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    I'm a knuckle draggin ape I guess, I don't get the "Forgive" concept.
    Really I don't..Forget, maybe. Forgive Nope. To me that's like something never happened.
     

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