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Discussion 1 to Reflection 27
On Forgiving God

by Teofilo Contreras

Re: Comment on Reflection 27

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I agree partly with you Hugo, but I think the deeper meaning of my question still remains.

The complication with words is that it all depends on the definitions. In this case it depends on how we define forgiveness, revenge, morality and ethics.

For example: when a dog is bitten by another dog, he can run away. This is not forgiveness, the dog is merely estimating that he can not win the fight and it's better to flee. If on the other hand, he bites back, this is not revenge, it's self defense.

We are complicated animals, we have invented lots of concepts of this sort. I'm no sociologist, but I'm guessing that what we call forgiveness and revenge, may be the evolved forms of the dog's responses I mentioned above.

Morality or an ethical code is another invention. I propose that there is no objective morality anywhere as such. This is a human pact. It's some sort of agreement we have more or less reached, throughout history, in order to prevent ourselves from doing damage to each other. We have decided that it's easier to live at peace than at war. Whether this comes from some instinctive or genetic programming or is a more recent reasoned conclusion, I have no idea.

In this context, I agree with the film when it says that forgiveness is a cosmetic dressing we apply to our decision when we choose not to counter attack. When we might want to respond, but we stop because we decide to adhere to a moral code. I wouldn't call it forgiveness when we simply don't respond or when we exchange the potential revenge for another, more convenient, option. It is precisely when we want to respond, but we force ourselves to stop, that the whole concept of forgiveness, dressed in all kinds of sublime ornaments, emerges. As if forgiveness somehow heals the damage we do to our ego by swallowing our desire for revenge.

I also agree with Sherlock, underestimation is as inaccurate as overestimation. But I think that arrogance is perceived as negative, it is not a synonym to accurate estimation. Superiority is not the same as arrogance. Arrogance is an annoying attitude of someone who exhibits true or perceived superiority in some aspect.

I'm not proposing we abandon forgiveness and indulge in all kinds of revenge and retaliation. I'm merely observing that we've had to go into all kinds of convoluted mental manipulations, in order to be civilized and not behave like the animals we once were (and in many ways still are).

But mostly, and back to the subject of this web site, I'm saying that the Christian god is all arrogance because he allegedly is all forgiveness. That the people who invented this divine forgiveness were feeling arrogantly superior to everyone else, as do the churches that also mention this concept every few phrases today.