Bringing together non-believers …
You are farmiliar with what biblical Jesus said about forgiveness. Forgive not seven times, but seventy times. Well, guess what? He was wrong!
An act and the responsibility for that act are necessarily linked; the person who commits the act bears the responsibility. By definition, one cannot be divorced from the other.
Christianity emphasizes undeserved forgiveness. To dispense forgiveness indiscriminately, with no regard to whether it is deserved and no need for the offender to make restitution, threatens to make forgiveness a meaningless concept. The same holds true for any religion which teaches that absolution can be obtained by performing some empty ritual – chanting a prayer, performing ablutions, confessions to a priest etc.
In the secular morality of universal utilitarianism, forgiveness has a place, but a different place than the magic rituals of organized religion. UU teaches that human happiness is paramount, and refraining from causing others to suffer is our highest duty. When we violate that duty, we incur reponsibility – the responsibility of undoing that hurt if possible and restoring the lost happiness; and the responsibility of reforming ourselves so we don’t perform similar wrong acts in the future.
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