The Folly of Forgiveness

The single most destructive virtue of Christianity is forgiveness.

In fact, it’s not a virtue at all, it’s a vice. It’s a ready-made excuse for laziness, cowardice, avoidance and self-aggrandizement.

Which is more challenging? Which is more beneficial to society?
A. Forgive those who trespass upon you.
B. Hold them accountable for their actions, or their lack of them.

The New Age movement, the modern outgrowth of our Christian heritage melded with aspects of Eastern religion/philosophy, shares this fundamental folly. You quite literally cannot read a spiritual or New Age text that does not claim something like this:

“Ultimately, make it your goal to move on to forgiveness of yourself and those involved in causing you pain in the past. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what happened to you was acceptable. It simply means that you are no longer willing to allow a past injury to keep you from living fully and healthfully in the present.” Dr. Christiane Northrup, The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical & Emotional Health During the Change

Nonsense. Forgiveness most certainly DOES mean that you’ve found the offense acceptable—you’ve given them “a pardoning” — look it up!

Forgiveness: “To pardon; to remit, as an offense or debt, to overlook an offense, and treat the offender as not guilty.” Webster’s Dictionary 1905

When a school of philosophy/religion/spirituality (Or individuals!) must change the meaning of words in order to fulfill their mission of manipulation it becomes propaganda and begs the question, “Who benefits?”

It’s not simply forgiving past injury that’s keeping anyone from living healthfully in the present, true peace of mind comes when justice is served. We witness the lack of justice and accountability all around us today, and we have centuries of brainwashing in this particular vice-cum-virtue to thank for that.

Burying the hatchet is rarely a guarantee it stays buried. Life is not a sitcom and taking the easy way out is testament to a lack of virtue, not a grounding in it. “Kiss and make up” solves little. “Turn the other cheek” is a blanket invitation to abusers.

To forgive someone who has not asked for it, nor shows remorse, nor penance, nor changed his ways is not healthy—not for the individual, not for the culture—in the long run.

It might keep you from getting cancer next year, or so the New Age self-helpers keep insisting, but you’ve only kicked the can down the road and made it worse for the perpetrators’ next victims. Good for the guru’s pocketbook and status, not so good for future generations.

The Christian myth that claims those who live in proverbial glass houses should not throw stones is a recipe for granting pardon to serial criminals while demonizing petty theft and other personal, minor infractions.

Everyone might very well be a sinner, but not all sins are created equal.

Holding others’ accountable for their actions is far more difficult than giving them a pardon. It’s exhausting to have standards of behavior and stick to them. It’s miserable to feel the loneliness that comes with not accepting abuse in one’s relationships and surroundings. It sucks to stand up for yourself against the group and especially against loved ones. But battered partners who don’t leave, Stockholm syndrome, normalized corruption, addiction, insanity and suicide are the direct result of a culture obsessed with forgiveness.

Unearned forgiveness is:

*A green light to bad behavior
*Victim-blaming for those who don’t want to, or choose not to, forgive
*Spiritual bypassing
*Ensuring history repeats
*Lowering the morality bar
*Killing the messenger
*Requiring scapegoats (represented by our most celebrated scapegoat, Jesus)
*Requiring lies, whitewashing, spinning of narratives to maintain illusions
*Forcing individuals to fit the will of the power structure rather than forcing the power structure to fit the will of the people

The personal and political spheres overlap—what we tolerate in our own house, we tolerate in the White House. What results is repeat offenders who are eternally tolerated.

The New Age movement has managed to create the worst of two worlds: The magical child thinking and materialism of the West combined with the spiritual hierarchies, self-hypnosis and toxic mysticism of the East.

Photo by Savanna Goldring on

Next post: What I think the New Agers have gotten right.
Whaaa . . . .?!

Author: KenshoHomestead

Creatively working toward self-sufficiency on the land.

13 thoughts on “The Folly of Forgiveness”

  1. I read an interesting article about forgiveness, particularly from a Christian perspective, that addressed how the entire notion has been so badly twisted and misunderstood. It basically came down to two points.

    1) you can only forgive someone if the offending person asks for it. “Forgiving” someone who doesn’t seek your forgiveness is meaningless. I think, in this point, people are conflating letting go of anger, hurt, etc. for their own benefit, as forgiveness. Letting go of a grudge and the negativity surrounding it for your own mental health is a good thing. But that’s not what forgiveness is.

    2), when the offending person asks for your forgiveness, it must be with true repentance. In other words, they take responsibility for their actions, regret the harm they caused, try to make amends as much as possible, and become a changed person. This doesn’t mean they’ll succeed and never cause harm again, but at the very least, they know they have done wrong and feel genuine remorse. If they ask for forgiveness, but take no responsibility for their actions, nor have any intention of changing their behaviour, how can they be forgiven? Their request for forgiveness is just empty words.

    If someone commits and offense against me, it may hurt, or break trust, or whatever. But I do not owe them my forgiveness. It’s up to me, whether or not I allow their actions to further harm me by dwelling on it, but even if that person asks me for forgiveness, I don’t have to give it to them. I should, if they truly take responsibility for and repent their actions, but I owe them nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks very much for your wise contribution! It’s so nice to find support where you least expect it! And to stumble on a notion that much wiser voices have offered such good quotes—I’m a big fan of a succinct quotes!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Kensho Homestead,

    Thank you for composing this commedable post. Let me resonate with your excellent discussion about the folly of forgiveness with the following:

    There is no forgiveness in nature.

    Ugo Betti

    There is no forgiveness. For women. A man may lose his honor and regain it again. But a woman cannot. She cannot.

    Cormac McCarthy

    Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.

    Bruce Lee

    I admit I have no forgiveness. If anyone is ever rude to me, however much they may try to make up, I can’t bring myself to re-establish the old [connection]. And when they drop me, I have a sense of relief.

    Khushwant Singh

    This doctrine of forgiveness of sin is a premium on crime. Forgive us our sins means Let us continue in our iniquity. It is one of the most pernicious of doctrines, and one of the most fruitful sources of immorality. It has been the chief cause of making Christian nations the most immoral of nations. In teaching this doctrine Christ committed a sin for which his death did not atone, and which can never be forgiven. There is no forgiveness of sin. Every cause has its effect; every sinner must suffer the consequences of his sins.

    John Remsburg

    And finally, in my very own words:

    There is no forgiveness in committing the folly of forgiveness.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Enjoyed your article – I have had suspicions about forgiveness for a long time and the gist – it is easier to get forgiveness than permission – which makes forgiveness an escape route for abusers transferring blame to the victim, are points not made often enough.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Excellent points, the first one is totally new to me. Though the level of exaggeration and level of pain inflicted is subjective. (Thinking of the scene from Monty Python—“Just a flesh wound” as his limbs are chopped off!). The second point I’ve considered often before and think it is still highly relevant to this day. Our ‘leaders’ get away with murder while our kin where face diapers. It’s baffling. Thank you for reading and contributing—love all the food for thought!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Two points – connected. Ancient Hebrews rhetorical style used exaggeration, to the point of ridiculous. So how J’s saying about turning the other cheek has been interpreted could be relevant. He could have intended don’t make a mountain out of molehills – don’t exaggerate harm so ramping up trouble.
    The spokesmen of the later church were high social class. They would have preached forgiveness to the down trodden , exploited serfs, as a way of delegitimising protests at being abused and exploited by their “betters”. Forgiveness was rarely extended to the peasants even for the most trivial wrongs.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The biggest issue with CT’s material is, the majority of his data is in 11 books, nine of which are permanently out of print. SO much information… Do you recall what you have read, listened to or viewed, already?

    I really hate that term. It’s so 1950s-ish.

    I am assuming the trauma of the 3rd tornado had you in an extreme emotional state. That kind of event does indeed have the ability to “open channels” as it were. Were the visiting relatives lost during the tornado (fresh death) or did they appear after a lengthy absence?

    Now, this leads me to a question…would you rather explore this in emails instead of hashing out details in a comment section?

    You will find my email in your dashboard where your list of comments are. All commenters will have an email unless your settings allow anyone to comment without signing into WP.

    Or, you can hit my contact page or I can hit your contact page…

    Just a suggestion.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wonderful reply and suggestion, thank you! Worth every penny. 😉
    I have browsed your CT files just a bit, but did not stumble upon what I was looking for at the time. I am quite open to read more and will do so, but if you have other pieces to suggest that’s very appreciated.

    The appalling political climate is not what brought it on exactly. Two years ago, after a tornado (our 3rd weather disaster) I had what would be called by the establishment a ‘nervous breakdown’. I am still trying to make sense of it. I was ‘visited’ by several dead relatives, including a grandfather that had been abusive. He was also a wonderful man, so this was quite a heavy burden to sort through and I am still trying to make sense of the experience, which lasted about 6 months ‘travel’ through ‘the underworld’ and was extremely painful. I now see others’ avoidance of such trials, as understandable as it is, to be a big part of why we find ourselves in such precarious times as a culture.

    As confusing as it all was, and some of it still is, one take-away was it is not my place to ‘forgive’ him or not. He does not need forgiveness and neither do I. Understanding works wonders, but that is primarily an intellectual endeavor, not attached to the underlying emotions, which are in the body. I think it has something to do with breaking down the artificial armoring of the ‘pain body’ that resulted from the abuse, while building up an inner ‘core wisdom’ that penetrates and informs beyond the automatic ‘fight, flight, fawn, freeze’ reactions. If that makes any sense to you??

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What brought this on? Listening to too much Obiden? LOL!

    There is an addendum to the above that I would like to add…the Giveaway. This takes diary writing two steps forward. I don’t think there are many people that can say they came away from a family unit that didn’t have problems…or didn’t have problems with friends and/or co-workers. Everyone needs to take responsibility for their actions and their effects on others. That being said, sometimes, getting closure from a wrong inflicted doesn’t happen. Enter the Giveaway…Native American custom. If you can’t clear a problem, directly, with the person or persons, write it out, don’t read it back and burn it. If you find that a situation still bothers you, continue. Keep writing, no reading and burn it.

    I don’t know if you have ever read any of the Chris Thomas material I have on my site but, Giveaways are very powerful. Believe it or not, it energetically pulls the garbage, that everyone inevitably carries around with them, out. I do it all the time…someone pisses me off in traffic, I write it out. Chris Thomas suggests to swear as much as possible. What chance does one have to get a legitimate apology from a road-rager? What chance does one have to get an apology from a dead, abusive parent or other family member? Write about it and burn it. Very therapeutic.

    My three cents worth, adjusted for inflation…

    Liked by 2 people

  10. You and I have had some clashes and do not see eye-to-eye all the time, but on this one, we are on the same page. It is Jesus who says forgive, not God. Hell, God brought shit down on the Egyptians like nobody else can. Hiding behind Jesus is, as you say, a scapegoat. If one is a true Christian, then they know when God got tired of the shit, he just swept it away with a flood. Hardly an indicator of forgiveness.

    Liked by 3 people

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