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Reflections on Ethics 27
We can forgive god.

by Teofilo Contreras

A discussion on this Reflection has been opened in Debate and Discourse. Please feel free to add your thoughts to the discussion via the contact page.

We can forgive god.

While the arrogance of an imaginary being is a totally nonsensical subject, I think this fits well within Reflections.

Forgiveness is supposed to be one of the great divine qualities and special traits of christian divinities. Lars von Trier in his movie "Dogville" presents a very interesting idea about forgiveness. The film is strange and controversial. I wouldn't want to go into the discussion about it's social and historical commentary, in fact, I really don't know what to make of it. However, very near the end, one of the characters proposes that forgiveness is a form of arrogance; and extreme forgiveness, the ultimate arrogance.

The level of forgiveness associated with Jesus Christ and god as supernatural characters, would then be the utmost arrogance possible. I agree with von Trier, or whomever came up with the idea. In my opinion he is right when he says that forgiveness implies a feeling of superiority while vengeance is the natural response of equality. Do we forgive someone who harms us? Yes, because we feel morally superior by doing so. Do we forgive some car traffic rudeness? Of course, we will not sink to their level.

The god of the old testament was vengeful, the clear sign of a Hebrew nation not feeling superior to anyone at that time. The god of Christianity, the new Roman god is forgiving and father like: no one can compare, he can afford to forgive. If anyone says that an omnipotent god has every right to be superlatively arrogant, I will agree; but somehow, I don't think this is what Christians had in mind.

In any case, religious implications aside, what about forgiveness? Is it really a moral highlight of us wonderful humans? Or is it another frustrating need of the human pact to avoid shredding each other to pieces, which we tint with sublime adjectives, in order not to feel so stupid for not getting even with the offender?


The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief;
He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.

Shakespeare (Othello).