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Why Are You Mad At God

minasoliman

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William said:
minasoliman said:
William said:
Greatest I am said:
Why would you wait for someone else to set your standard?
I guess this is why I'm not one of them, anymore.

You said their religion. What is yours if any?

Regards
DL

 
I try to use religion for its useful purposes (ritual and community) without compromising my own ethical standards, which are higher than those of most religions.
Follow my advice; it's better than most religions.  ::)

In any case, the Psalms in the Bible is filled with references of being angry at God as well.  I like what Fr. George wrote.  When you're angry at God, you're acknowledging Him, and He can take it.  Make your anger genuine towards him, not to anyone else, even if they directly have been involved in wrongdoing.

And forgiving the enemy, or loving the enemy, is actually very therapeutic if you think about it.  There will be no peace in your heart when you hold a grudge.  If you must grudge, do it to God, but don't do it to a fellow man because it will eat you up.  A true sign of strength is forgiveness of the fellow man.  It's actually one of the highest standards.  When one does not want to forgive "an enemy", it's not because "my own ethical standards" are better, but that you are admitting you're too weak to do so.
It is not necessarily therapeutic: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/disturbed/201208/why-you-dont-always-have-forgive

Although it is miles ahead of other forms of "therapy" you've defended on OC.net, such as adding perpetual deceit to adultery.

Let me know if you can find that interview with Fr. Tom.
As usual, your teenage wise-guy brain likes to jump on the opportunity to show how your moral road is higher, and yet you seem to lack understanding.  Read this carefully:

However, forgiveness is not something that just happens. Some people find it helpful to release their anger while others find the idea disgusting. I have dealt with my share of parents of murdered children and victims of sex crimes. Though many find a way to move forward in life, forgiveness truly eludes them. This does not make them bad people. This just means that it is not healing for them at this time.

It may be surprising to learn how many people will pressure survivors to forgive a perpetrator. This was an element to being a profiler that I never expected. Survivors and those left behind after a murder are preyed upon and used more often than you would think. Family members tell them that if they don’t forgive, then they are going to Hell. In some cases, I’ve seen families turn their backs on victims of sexual abuse because the victims wouldn’t go along with the program and keep their mouths shut. They are told to forgive their attackers and let it go. If they cannot do so, then they are banished from the family unit. I’ve also seen women who stand up to their abusive lovers only to be eventually cut off by their children because they won’t simply forgive and let bygones be bygones.
So yes, no one should force someone to forgive.  It should come naturally and with time.  You should be honest with yourself.  It's not an overnight thing to do.  It could take years or decades to be able to forgive.  At the very least:

Forgiveness comes from within. It is not something that can be forced. Either you can do it or you can’t. If you cannot, then don’t think that you are a bad person or that you failed in some way. In some cases, forgiveness is just not possible. You may learn not to despise the perpetrator, but saying you forgive can be hollow if that is not what you truly feel. Don’t give in to peer pressure. Don’t say you forgive someone when you don’t. It won’t make you feel better, and it won’t make your life easier. On the contrary, it is not about making your life easier when someone asks you to forgive. The purpose behind the question of forgiving is to make the person asking the question feel better.
With Christ all things are possible, but all things are not forced.  It takes time, and for people to tell someone that they are a bad person because they can't forgive is not something I supported.  It's of a level which very few reach.  In fact, you hear a lot of "he has every right to begrudge him forever, and yet he forgave him" for those who are able to reach such a level.  If you have every right, why then do you assume something I haven't advocated?  And I posted a quote from Fr. Tom earlier.  Look for it yourself.
 

JamesR

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For the record, I felt a lot better the moment I decided to not forgive my mother or excuse the badness she inflicted upon me, which can drive a person mad trying to forgive that person. Forgiveness is just another way of victim shaming--it's a final burden that the oppressor inflicts upon the victim. Not only was the offense bad enough, but now you have the extra added burden of having to forgive that person or else you're a bad person and God won't forgive you. The stress and worry over trying to forgive, and feeling guilty when you can't, only makes things harder for victims. I--and I assume William--delight in rejecting to forgive. It means we're not submitting to the victim mentality and giving our oppressors the final satisfaction of knowing they inflicted one last burden upon us.
 

Apples

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JamesR said:
For the record, I felt a lot better the moment I decided to not forgive my mother or excuse the badness she inflicted upon me, which can drive a person mad trying to forgive that person. Forgiveness is just another way of victim shaming--it's a final burden that the oppressor inflicts upon the victim. Not only was the offense bad enough, but now you have the extra added burden of having to forgive that person or else you're a bad person and God won't forgive you. The stress and worry over trying to forgive, and feeling guilty when you can't, only makes things harder for victims. I--and I assume William--delight in rejecting to forgive. It means we're not submitting to the victim mentality and giving our oppressors the final satisfaction of knowing they inflicted one last burden upon us.
I agree. I remember the level of distress and anxiety I felt when I believed that being unable to forgive made me a horrible person without a hope of salvation. It makes you feel like even though you're the one who has been wronged, you're the bad one. After all, abuse of all levels can be forgiven by God with just a word or ritual, and without restitution to the person harmed. Remembering wrongs cannot be.

It was very liberating to realize that I have the freedom to make the choice of forgiveness for myself.
 

ZealousZeal

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I can't speak to the experiences of others, but for myself: forgiveness is more of a choice than a feeling. It's been a conscious decision to not give the offense ownership in my heart or life anymore, regardless of (often in spite of) my feelings about the offense. Sometimes forgiveness has been easy for me, and other times it has been incredibly hard. Sometimes I think I've forgiven someone, and then much later I'll find a little pocket of bitterness towards them in my heart that I didn't know was there, and I have to forgive again. Kind of like a deep stab wound that has healed on top, but there's a pocket of infection underneath, if that analogy makes sense. This just happened to me recently, actually.

It's not a magic trick or something that happens instantaneously, it's something I have to choose to work at all the time. I would never choose another way to live, because I know it's right to love mercy. I am indebted daily to the mercy of others and God, after all. I want it for myself, so I want to give it to others.

I also think it's a mistake to equate forgiving with excusing behavior. If anything, I think you have to acknowledge the behavior as wrong at least to yourself or of course there's nothing to forgive.
 

minasoliman

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Just wanted to add two more secular sources about holding grudges and forgiveness in the proper sense and what it means:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/forgiveness/art-20047692
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/one-among-many/201404/grudge-holding-one

If forgiveness means you're excusing the behavior that someone did against you, then whoever taught you forgiveness did not teach properly.  Forgiveness is the opposite.  Forgiveness is you taking the position of the higher road, where the person's actions against you no longer controls you or keeps you locked in a state of thought, but you are liberated from that person's grasp on your mind.  ZZ put it quite well, and I agree on this based on my experience as well.

No one should say that you are a terrible person if you do not forgive.  There are certain situations where forgiveness is difficult.  That much is understood.  But it is not a litmus test of your sainthood.  It's a process.  It's a way of growing wiser and more mature in your thinking.  Others who cannot forgive for the smallest things are told different.  But for the larger issues, it would not be healthy to push someone to forgiveness, but just as a person does not bench 300 lbs overnight, so forgiveness should not be treated as something that you can perfect in one fell swoop.  At the very least, it begins by removing the grudges in your life.  Once you accomplish that, you already have begun forgiveness.
 

Fabio Leite

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I think forgiveness is a concept completely misunderstood today.

Forgiveness does not mean to condone with bad or harmful behavior;

Forgiveness does not mean allowing abuse;

Forgiveness does not mean simply acting as something never happened ("meek as a dove, astute like a serpent")

Forgiveness does not mean cancelling the natural consequences of an act;

Forgiveness does not mean everything will be as it was before;

Forgiveness does not happen without repentance.

When we just "leave it behind" and go on with our lives despite the lack of repentance of the other person, that is still not forgiveness. It's just freeing ourselves and letting the person stay where they chose to be.

That, actually, is the iconic equivalent of God "sending" people to hell. God does not cease to be Who and What He is despite people's choices. So, in being immutably Himself, those who do not want to be with Him are left behind. God "goes on with His life" and "leave them behind". If you do that to me, at most you will loose my company. If you do that to Life and Love itself, that's hell.

Forgiveness is "merely" a meeting after being apart, a new start, that *does* take into consideration what happened, from both sides, specially to actively avoid that it happens again. From the hurt part that is forgiving, from the hurting side that is repentance.

Remember the Prodigal Son. We are so amazed by the party he gets in the end that we miss some aspects of the lesson.

First, the whole initial conversation of the younger son is horrible. Imagine a father having to hear that, his own son showing that he is interested just in his money and to be away from him. The father does not stop him from going. If someone really wants to hurt you, you don't try to keep this person near you. Actually, if someone is that ill-intended, you help the person to go, just like the father actually did give the money to the boy.

Second, the father does *not* go after him. He does not try to contact the boy, not when he was having fun, not when he was eating with the pigs. You decided what you wanted from life, you wanted me out of your life, you got it, live with it. Consequences and responsibility.

Third, the son had to take the decision of living behind the worst of the terrible life he had. He had to leave the pigsty, and walk all the way back to his father's country - actually that's equivalent to the purification phase of the ascetic practice. Only when he was already in the road to the farm does the father come to him - the illumination phase. And the party in the farm is the deified state.

The father does not give him back the lost years. The father never agreed that "it was a necessary experience for his learning". The father never said "Oh, nevermind, here's another chest of gold, go back to the city, this time things will work out fine". He implies that this time the younger son has to stay in the farm with him.

Forgiveness and repentance happen together, it's a meeting of hearts and a second beginning, never an excuse to be abused or a license to hurt others.



 

yeshuaisiam

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Greatest I am said:
yeshuaisiam said:
Maria said:
Greatest I am said:
Mor Ephrem said:
So is Greatest I am a part of the Church which yeshuaisiam says is one of those persecuted-by-Constantine alternatives to Orthodoxy?
I am a Gnostic Christian and esoteric ecumenist.

Regards
DL
No.

Gnosticism is a Luciferian faith.

It's way older than Constantine.
The book of Jude was about the Gnostics spoken of in warning.

The Gnostics have a tremendously disgusting and blasphemous belief system.  I've gone through their texts (Nag Hammadi) and researched them a lot.   

I have a HANDFUL of problems with Eastern Orthodoxy which strikes nerves.  Mainly:
The Father/Master thing
The Icon issue
The Irony of ecumenism
The claim to being "only the original"

Are probably the largest.  It ticks people off because it's an "all or none thing" with EO and completely logical what I am presenting.
Gnostic Christians do not believe in Lucifer or Satan. Those are myth to all intelligent people.

Regards
DL
Then you need to read the Nag Hammadi.

Looks like we have a wannabe gnostic here.
 

xOrthodox4Christx

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yeshuaisiam said:
Greatest I am said:
yeshuaisiam said:
Maria said:
Greatest I am said:
Mor Ephrem said:
So is Greatest I am a part of the Church which yeshuaisiam says is one of those persecuted-by-Constantine alternatives to Orthodoxy?
I am a Gnostic Christian and esoteric ecumenist.

Regards
DL
No.

Gnosticism is a Luciferian faith.

It's way older than Constantine.
The book of Jude was about the Gnostics spoken of in warning.

The Gnostics have a tremendously disgusting and blasphemous belief system.  I've gone through their texts (Nag Hammadi) and researched them a lot.   

I have a HANDFUL of problems with Eastern Orthodoxy which strikes nerves.  Mainly:
The Father/Master thing
The Icon issue
The Irony of ecumenism
The claim to being "only the original"

Are probably the largest.  It ticks people off because it's an "all or none thing" with EO and completely logical what I am presenting.
Gnostic Christians do not believe in Lucifer or Satan. Those are myth to all intelligent people.

Regards
DL
Then you need to read the Nag Hammadi.

Looks like we have a wannabe gnostic here.
The website he posted says those Nag Hammadi guys were not "true Gnostics".
 

Mor Ephrem

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Fabio Leite said:
The father does not give him back the lost years. The father never agreed that "it was a necessary experience for his learning". The father never said "Oh, nevermind, here's another chest of gold, go back to the city, this time things will work out fine". He implies that this time the younger son has to stay in the farm with him.
Where do you see this implied in the text?  Not that I disagree, but I am curious. 
 

yeshuaisiam

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xOrthodox4Christx said:
yeshuaisiam said:
Greatest I am said:
yeshuaisiam said:
Maria said:
Greatest I am said:
Mor Ephrem said:
So is Greatest I am a part of the Church which yeshuaisiam says is one of those persecuted-by-Constantine alternatives to Orthodoxy?
I am a Gnostic Christian and esoteric ecumenist.

Regards
DL
No.

Gnosticism is a Luciferian faith.

It's way older than Constantine.
The book of Jude was about the Gnostics spoken of in warning.

The Gnostics have a tremendously disgusting and blasphemous belief system.  I've gone through their texts (Nag Hammadi) and researched them a lot.  

I have a HANDFUL of problems with Eastern Orthodoxy which strikes nerves.  Mainly:
The Father/Master thing
The Icon issue
The Irony of ecumenism
The claim to being "only the original"

Are probably the largest.  It ticks people off because it's an "all or none thing" with EO and completely logical what I am presenting.
Gnostic Christians do not believe in Lucifer or Satan. Those are myth to all intelligent people.

Regards
DL
Then you need to read the Nag Hammadi.

Looks like we have a wannabe gnostic here.
The website he posted says those Nag Hammadi guys were not "true Gnostics".
Ahh I see.  It's selective created gnosticism.  

Unfortunately, the real Gnostics did use the Nag Hammadi texts.

Even more UNFORTUNATELY, I have read the Nag Hammadi texts.  It was sitting there at half price books for $2..... I couldn't resist.  Morbid curiosity.  It blasphemed God in many ways.... I was sick about half way through, but finished and torched the book.
 

xOrthodox4Christx

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yeshuaisiam said:
xOrthodox4Christx said:
yeshuaisiam said:
Greatest I am said:
yeshuaisiam said:
Maria said:
Greatest I am said:
Mor Ephrem said:
So is Greatest I am a part of the Church which yeshuaisiam says is one of those persecuted-by-Constantine alternatives to Orthodoxy?
I am a Gnostic Christian and esoteric ecumenist.

Regards
DL
No.

Gnosticism is a Luciferian faith.

It's way older than Constantine.
The book of Jude was about the Gnostics spoken of in warning.

The Gnostics have a tremendously disgusting and blasphemous belief system.  I've gone through their texts (Nag Hammadi) and researched them a lot. 

I have a HANDFUL of problems with Eastern Orthodoxy which strikes nerves.  Mainly:
The Father/Master thing
The Icon issue
The Irony of ecumenism
The claim to being "only the original"

Are probably the largest.  It ticks people off because it's an "all or none thing" with EO and completely logical what I am presenting.
Gnostic Christians do not believe in Lucifer or Satan. Those are myth to all intelligent people.

Regards
DL
Then you need to read the Nag Hammadi.

Looks like we have a wannabe gnostic here.
The website he posted says those Nag Hammadi guys were not "true Gnostics".
Ahh I see.  It's selective created gnosticism. 

Unfortunately, the real Gnostics did use the Nag Hammadi texts.

Even more UNFORTUNATELY, I have read the Nag Hammadi texts.  It was sitting there at half price books for $2..... I couldn't resist.  Morbid curiosity.  It blasphemed God in many ways.... I was sick about half way through, but finished and torched the book.
Seriously, torching books? Not as if they'll stop being published, but I think that is very wrong. The Bhagavad Gita blasphemes God too, but I don't burn it.

In the past, when I destroyed my Qur'an and a few miscellaneous books in protest of Islamic hampering of free speech, I feel very wrong about it after the fact. I could have given that copy to a non-Muslim and it may have helped. It had all of the footnotes and references to the Hadith and Tafsir literature, it was quite a copy. Though it was terrible quality paper. It could've been used for education, instead it was a heavy load in my waste bin.
 
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JamesR said:
For the record, I felt a lot better the moment I decided to not forgive my mother or excuse the badness she inflicted upon me, which can drive a person mad trying to forgive that person. Forgiveness is just another way of victim shaming--it's a final burden that the oppressor inflicts upon the victim. Not only was the offense bad enough, but now you have the extra added burden of having to forgive that person or else you're a bad person and God won't forgive you. The stress and worry over trying to forgive, and feeling guilty when you can't, only makes things harder for victims. I--and I assume William--delight in rejecting to forgive. It means we're not submitting to the victim mentality and giving our oppressors the final satisfaction of knowing they inflicted one last burden upon us.
Salvation and satisfaction are two different things, Jesus died for our salvation, if he had gone for satisfaction there would be no Christianity.

We all struggle with this, but it is just that struggle that is important, which St Peter and Paul had to endure, and is what Paul referred to as finishing the race.

What I try and say is what Jesus said from the Cross, "Forgive them for they know not what they do". It is not easy, but that is also true of the prodigal sons brother being correct in what he complained about to his father, but not what Jesus was telling us we must try to do.

I get mad and have people I am struggling for many years to forgive, but I also feel sorry for them because they do not get it, and likewise there are things that I screw up and do not get.

I am the chief sinner, is what we are declaring when we take communion.
 

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Unconditional forgiveness is just so counterintuitive and backward. When I hear someone telling a victim of horrible abuse that only forgiveness will give them peace, I think that this adviser must have some serious issues, or a compelling religious requirement to believe that which clouds their thinking. Forgiveness is earned, not freely given. Sometimes it can't be earned, nor should it be. I really cannot understand for the life of me why anyone would expend so much mental energy trying to work themselves to "forgive" someone.

Then we go around redefining forgiveness once we realize what we're really implying. We say it means that we don't give that person control of our lives or our thoughts anymore. Not that we don't want to see justice. Then why call it forgiveness? Call it moving on with your life. Forgiveness implies something else entirely.

Everyone seems to implicitly acknowledge how off-kilter the Orthodox ideal of forgiveness is. Who knows an Orthodox priest who would encourage a repentant murderer to go on the lam? None of us, I hope, because a sane priest would tell that person to turn themselves in and pay the price they owe to justice and to society. Yet that is exactly what we see in stories of saints; they help murderers get away from authorities if they perform rituals and don't eat for a bit. And this is not just some arcane example I read from OC.net, it's something you see in some of the most popular Orthodox literature out there (Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia does it in Wounded by Love).
 

kelly

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Mozes_Kor

Kor received international attention when she publicly forgave the Nazis for what had been done to her.
If one of Dr. Mengele's patients can find forgiveness in her heart for the Nazis...
 

TheTrisagion

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kelly

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TheTrisagion said:
kelly said:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Mozes_Kor

Kor received international attention when she publicly forgave the Nazis for what had been done to her.
If one of Dr. Mengele's patients can find forgiveness in her heart for the Nazis...
It is because her ethical standards are not higher than most religions.  When they get that high, she would find the strength to cease her forgiveness.
Ah, thanks for explaining.
 

Cyrillic

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William said:
pay the price they owe to justice and to society.
Justice is a transaction now?

What is the price of one murder? What's the price of ten murders? Is it subject to inflation? Is the cost of murdering a scientist or a doctor higher than murdering a fellow criminal?

Justice isn't a matter of paying anything. It might be about vengeance or correction, but it certainly isn't a business transaction.

Holding grudges is childish and doesn't do anyone any good.

 

Apples

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Cyrillic said:
William said:
pay the price they owe to justice and to society.
Justice is a transaction now?
Of course justice is a transaction. Where have you been? I thought you of all people would understand this basic foundation of Western law.
 

Cyrillic

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William said:
Cyrillic said:
William said:
pay the price they owe to justice and to society.
Justice is a transaction now?
Of course justice is a transaction. Where have you been? I thought you of all people would understand this basic foundation of Western law.
A transaction between whom? Is the price of taking a life a few years in prison just like the price of a few apples might be a dollar? Whom is it payed to? Doesn't the victim have to consent to have his life sold for a bit of prison time?

You'd have to cite some authorities to back up that claim.
 

TheTrisagion

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Since I am a part of society, how much am I entitled to receive from murderers?  Can I go to prisons and ask for money to be deducted out of their commissary accounts?
 
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Cyrillic said:
William said:
pay the price they owe to justice and to society.
Justice is a transaction now?

What is the price of one murder? What's the price of ten murders? Is it subject to inflation? Is the cost of murdering a scientist or a doctor higher than murdering a fellow criminal?

Justice isn't a matter of paying anything. It might be about vengeance or correction, but it certainly isn't a business transaction.

Holding grudges is childish and doesn't do anyone any good.
The "price" of one murder is, in legal theory, the penalty which the law sets for it.

The premise is as follows:  A man is free to act in any way he wishes, so long as he is willing to pay a price for his action.  A man is free to murder, provided that he consents to the price which society sets for that murder (death, incarceration for life, incarceration for a term of years, etc.).  Perhaps it may be thought of in terms of the "opportunity cost" of the action or perhaps it may be a legally-contrived penalty designed to make the action scarce so as to fit the general economic preferences of society.

This is basic "Law and Economics" and it serves as the foundation for much of American jurisprudence, at least that on the Seventh Circuit.  See, e.g., the many opinions of Circuit Judge Richard Posner.

EDIT:  For example, if a society wishes to discourage certain conduct, such as the murder of children, it will set the price for such conduct extremely high, so as to make it scarce, as few members of that society will be willing to pay that price demanded by that society, even if they have some desire to engage in the conduct.

Of course, society is not absolutely free to regulate that price, because (at least in the American system) the economic system is constrained by the theory of individual rights, which come to the forefront in prohibitions of arbitrary or excessive punishments as well as prohibitions on monopolies (thus preventing unrestrained activity in the purely economic sphere).  I don't know exactly how each of the celebrated law-and-economics jurists comes down on these societal limitations on pure economic behavior, but, at any rate, they are bound, as officers of the court and thus representatives of the governance of society, to respect them.

 
 

Cyrillic

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Does that mean that everyone's life is owned by something as abstract as society and can be sold by it for any price it wants?

That's messed up.
 
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Cyrillic said:
Does that mean that everyone's life is owned by something as abstract as society and can be sold by it for any price it wants.

That's messed up.
No.  See my edit above.  Natural law, in the form of individual rights and human dignity, imposes outer limits on this economic activity beyond which the contracting parties (in this case, society and the would-be criminal) may not go.

This, in turn, is why the individual is never ultimately subservient to the society of which he forms a part, and it justifies, in part, the principle of popular revolution (when a given society no longer fulfills its role of protecting the inherent dignity of its individual members, it may be overthrown and/or otherwise amended by those members).
 

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That sounds to me like someone who has sat in the ivory tower a tad too long.
 
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Actually, it is the viewpoint and working theory of those who are deciding live cases in (at least) the second highest court in the United States; they apply it to the facts of the cases before them.

And at least a good chunk of it serves as the ideological basis for the U.S. Supreme Court's adjudication of cases as well.

I generally subscribe to it as well, as an approach to the good governance of society.
 

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TheTrisagion said:
That sounds to me like someone who has sat in the ivory tower a tad too long.
That's putting it rather mildly. The whole theory is disgusting.

In any case, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy the theory doesn't predate the 20th century. It's hardly the "basic foundation of Western law" as William would have it.

Yurysprudentsiya said:
The "price" of one murder is, in legal theory, the penalty which the law sets for it.
Where did the victim gave permission for his life to be sold? There's no trade and no market involved.
 
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In such an instance, I suppose that it would be said that society is the guardian of his rights. 

If he does not like the way that society protects his rights (i.e., it allows wanton murders at a low cost, thereby devaluing his right, as an individual, to life), he has the right to change the society in which he lives.
 

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Justice of murder or rape is to undo the action done, which is not possible.  You may "repay" the evil done with an equal evil done on the perpetrator, but that only means you're multiplying evil.  So as a "transaction" justice is imperfect.

What is perfection therefore is to transcend these petty needs for "repayment" by giving time for healing and recuperation.  Healing does not mean to give symptomatic relief and sweep the bad memory under the rug, but to actually engage with and confront the memory, the reality of what was done.

Part of forgiveness is a sense of strength of overcoming this memory, having no feelings of grudges or needs of vengeance.  Once you reach that level, that in itself is "forgiveness".  That in itself, even when you are slightly avoidant in behavior on the criminal, at least keeps you in a manner where you are in control of your feelings.  Only those who see all humans, criminal or not, as in need of healing, is when you reach a further level of maturity in thinking that you pity even your own source of pain.  That to me sounds like someone who has an immense amount of strength in the capacity to wish rehabilitation of any human being, rather than live the rest of your life with a judgemental attitude of specific people.  That doesn't show weakness or an excusing of behavior, but a person who actively works to have such criminal behaviors avoided in the future.  In psychology, this is called sublimation.
 

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Yurysprudentsiya said:
In such an instance, I suppose that it would be said that society is the guardian of his rights. 

If he does not like the way that society protects his rights (i.e., it allows wanton murders at a low cost, thereby devaluing his right, as an individual, to life), he has the right to change the society in which he lives.
Good heavens, save us from the economophilosophists.

A victim's rights aren't violated; contrary to all justice, morals and laws his life is forcibly taken. To heck with the theory of natural rights.
 
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Mina is right; we are not speaking about "justice" here in a Biblical or theological sense.

The only way in which human societies can effect "justice" is to discourage behavior.  That is why imposition of morality by force of law is inherently coercive and therefore always imperfect.  The economic mechanism merely describes the way it works.  It may be the best that unaided man can do, absent a society of the "saved."  I think that it is, because one must balance individual autonomy (natural freedom, which is itself, absent an encounter with Christ, "depraved," as the west would say, or "wrongly oriented" as we might say) with preservation of our communal existence, and this is a hard tightrope to walk.  But if one looks to it for ultimate salvation, one is a fool.  "Put not your trust in princes, in sons of men."

To implement God's justice, you need, as Mina indicates, a change of heart.  God's justice is, ultimately, forgiveness; but it requires a completely different orientation of the subject of that forgiveness, and this is something that all the laws and penal institutions of the world cannot produce.  Only Christ can.  And here we return to St. Paul.
 

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I feel like Cyrillic posts everything I'm thinking before I can post it.

I'm not sure when, exactly, it became necessary to turn Adam Smith's concept of economics as the "Theory of Everything", but it isn't healthy. Reducing everything down to a transactional value is the reason humanity has been devalued to the extent that it has. From a theological perspective, we are icons of God. There is no transaction that can pay for a human life. The fact that it is theorized as a pragmatic solution to crime only demonstrates that callousness that humans have developed towards their fellow man.
 

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I think Yury (and William) was only explaining how today's justice in civil and secular law works.  Yury is not condoning this philosophy, but William seems to extol it.
 
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I agree with it to the extent that it makes the most sense explaining a deterrent-based political system from a human perspective.  And I do believe in natural rights, because I believe that the individual, as made in the image of God, is fundamentally free.  But this freedom is wrongly oriented.  The present system of laws is necessary to constrain that wrongly-oriented freedom and direct it in ways which society prefers.  For society, and laws, cannot change the fundamentally wrong orientation of man's freedom.  Only Christ can do that.  I think that, for now, given the state of man in this world, it may be the best that we can do.  But, as Mina says, I do not ultimately extol it.  For it is not, ultimately, God's higher law, and when all men have come to a knowledge of Christ, and when their freedom is perfected in Christ, these former things, which are fundamentally imperfect, will have passed away.
 
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For all of its harshness, I think that theories such as those of Hobbes, Smith, et al., do a very fine job at explaining how this fallen world actually works.  They are therefore useful to direct it according to the preferences of those who govern it.  But in the end this is like re-arranging deck chairs on the sinking Titanic.  The laws can deter, and this is good because it prevents the most egregious manifestations of excess (by making the cost too high for all but the most reprobate of hearts), but they cannot strike at the root of the problem, which are the misdirected desires and passions.  Marx tried to explain, in his view, how the world "should" work.  He may have been right in some of his ideals, but his theory was fundamentally flawed because it did not actually account for the way in which the fallen world "does" work.  But our Christianity transcends all of this, not merely by providing a guide for how things "should" be, but by providing the bridge to re-orient the world so that it may be transformed, in Christ, into this ideal.  But it cannot be done by laws and statutes; it must be done by a supernatural re-orienting of the will, worked out through the synergy between each human and his or her Lord.  This is why the Church's work is so absolutely vital, far more important, in my view, than that of any state.
 

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The economic theory of law seems to imply that a rapist's or a murderer's debt towards society or the victim has been paid after serving his sentence and that now he is as innocent as a baby. And why shouldn't the criminal believe that? He 'bought' a commodity and now he has 'paid' for it. If the theory is followed consistently, those who were raped are prostitutes since they sold sex, albeit not for money but for a prison sentence. Society and the court system functioning as pimps. It is a morally repulsive theory, and seeing crime in those terms is horrible. I certainly hope that the theory won't be adopted by other countries.
 
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I think that the root of your problem is in conceiving of these structures of "debt" and "repayment" as more than just constructs.  Again, we are dealing with a created scenario and our notions of debt and repayment are convenient fictions to allocate resources to which we, as a society, have ascribed value.

Thank God that our ultimate salvation is not primarily seen according to these constructs of debt and repayment.  That's where the Western Church went off the rails. 

Let's not confuse the necessity of our temporal management of crime in society with the ultimate rehabilitation of the criminal.  The first is the province of the State simply to maintain order in a chaotic world; the second is the province of the Church to lead people to God.
 
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In short, society doesn't care whether a man wants to kill his neighbor, so long as the price is set so high that he is deterred from doing so.  This is fine because society can't make someone do something he doesn't want to do; it can only negatively prevent him from doing that which it determines he ought not do.  There is precedent in the English common law which states this, a case about an opera singer from the 1850s, I think it was.  But that's a bit beside the point.

Only Christ, through the Church, seeks to reorient this man's fundamental desire so that he loves his neighbor, rather than desiring to kill him.

I think you are asking too much of human justice systems, when what you are seeking (quite rightly so) can only be fully accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit through the Church and man's synthesis with God through her ministries and sacraments.
 

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Yurysprudentsiya said:
In short, society doesn't care whether a man wants to kill his neighbor, so long as the price is set so high that he is deterred from doing so.  This is fine because society can't make someone do something he doesn't want to do; it can only negatively prevent him from doing that which it determines he ought not do.  There is precedent in the English common law which states this, a case about an opera singer from the 1850s, I think it was.  But that's a bit beside the point.

Only Christ, through the Church, seeks to reorient this man's fundamental desire so that he loves his neighbor, rather than desiring to kill him.

I think you are asking too much of human justice systems, when what you are seeking (quite rightly so) can only be fully accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit through the Church and man's synthesis with God through her ministries and sacraments.
True.

If the law is external to us, then the law must set boundaries, which if we cross, we are punished.

If, however, the Law of Christ is written into our hearts, then we are set free to be fully human, fully alive in Christ.
 
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William said:
Unconditional forgiveness is just so counterintuitive and backward. When I hear someone telling a victim of horrible abuse that only forgiveness will give them peace, I think that this adviser must have some serious issues, or a compelling religious requirement to believe that which clouds their thinking. Forgiveness is earned, not freely given. Sometimes it can't be earned, nor should it be. I really cannot understand for the life of me why anyone would expend so much mental energy trying to work themselves to "forgive" someone.

Then we go around redefining forgiveness once we realize what we're really implying. We say it means that we don't give that person control of our lives or our thoughts anymore. Not that we don't want to see justice. Then why call it forgiveness? Call it moving on with your life. Forgiveness implies something else entirely.

Everyone seems to implicitly acknowledge how off-kilter the Orthodox ideal of forgiveness is. Who knows an Orthodox priest who would encourage a repentant murderer to go on the lam? None of us, I hope, because a sane priest would tell that person to turn themselves in and pay the price they owe to justice and to society. Yet that is exactly what we see in stories of saints; they help murderers get away from authorities if they perform rituals and don't eat for a bit. And this is not just some arcane example I read from OC.net, it's something you see in some of the most popular Orthodox literature out there (Porphyrios of Kafsokalivia does it in Wounded by Love).
There are many documented cases of people whose loved ones were murdered, and they were waiting for the convicted person on death row to be executed, so they could get justice, and finally feel better and go on with their lives.
But in most cases they found that just the opposite happened, they became even more frustrated because the execution of the obect of their hatred did not bring the expected release.

We will not even mention executed criminals who were later found to be innocent, which would be worse on a person of good morals, because they are partly guilty then of killing innocents too.

My point is revenge and keeping a grudge do not help you, and according to Jesus, they can condemn you to hell before the criminal.

I would also say that it is similar to Peter telling Jesus that he would not allow him to be arrested and killed by the leaders of Jerusalem, and Christ said,
Mark 8:32
Jesus Predicts His Death and Resurrection
…32And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."
 

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Sinful Hypocrite said:
My point is revenge and keeping a grudge do not help you, and according to Jesus, they can condemn you to hell before the criminal.
At this point I would actually take William's side on this.  I want you to think of some specific etiquettes when you are talking to some people.  It is hurtful to tell someone who was physically or sexually abused that if you don't forgive you will go to hell.  You'll only hurt the person more and then make them hate religion.

Christ taught us to pray "forgive as our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," but Christ did not teach that all trespasses are the same.  You cannot expect to give the same lesson for the woman whose son was murdered.  This requires a different manner of healing, one that requires a bit of empathy not to judge.  For they feel they would never do that to anyone, so how can they forgive?  And neither do you know what they went through to even say that.

So in fact, what you said here can actually be quite hurtful.  There are things that are not appropriate to say and required a time and a place.  Doing or saying the right thing at the wrong time is actually a wrong thing.  Christ said things within their context.  He was uprooting a society always seeking to exact vengeance of sins that were not done against them, and he wanted people to take petty grudges (such as those resulting from verbal insults or minor thefts) and lusts of the mind seriously.

But how did Christ approach the woman who was about to lose her life for harlotry?  He did not tell her to forgive the men who was going to stone her, but imagine the scene of Christ talking to this poor woman: "Neither do I accuse you.  Your burden is lifted, sin no more."  That sounds like someone with some compassion who does not bombard you with a list of virtues to accomplish.  William and James are speaking of extreme circumstances, which requires delicate care of your speech and help, and not a haphazard teaching from Christ. 
 
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