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