Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Backsliding

One of the things I find so distasteful about some religions is they teach regret, guilt and penance as the proper ways to atone for a mistake. Yet, it seems to me, the way to make good on a mistake is to learn from it.

If you’re always apologizing to God for what you’ve done, you’re quite often too busy apologizing to figure out just how you could have done any better. At least that’s how it seems to me. Moreover, if you goal is forgiveness, where in your scheme of things have you ranked learning?

You just know that each time Ted Haggard went to a male prostitute he asked for and received forgiveness from his lord. But that's not the miracle. The real miracle is he never learned anything.

12 comments:

Mystic Wing said...

Amen.

Webs said...

A very excellent point. And it helps explain human behavior in the US, and why many people act as though their actions have no consequence...

ordinarygirl said...

I agree, it's important to take responsibility for your actions. Apologies are fine when a person makes a mistake, but even then they wear thin when that person keeps making the same mistake.

Apologies when a person does something intentionally aren't worth anything unless that person changes behavior.

Phil Lawton said...

Just following instructions, I'm piling in here without reading the subject matter.

Something about trains, innit?

Paul said...

LOL! Welcome, Phil! I would never be such a bore as to insist anyone read my posts before commenting on them -- that risks destroying spontaneity!

decrepitoldfool said...

I would almost rather - scratch that - I would rather someone just come out and say, "That wasn't a mistake, it's just how I like to be and it's how I'll be tomorrow."

Sahar said...

There are steps; it begins with how to build my own shield, the shield of faith and knowledge, that enables me to be the leader of myself especially the leader of my earthly and animalistic part in my way to perfection...my way to God. But there are always moments of weakness and as a result, this earthly part will take the lead and absolutely will take me downwards to its mother, Earth.
So, basically, the religious recruitment (from an Islamic POV) is aimed at the prevention step through faith and knowledge, then, the acknowledgment of mistake step in the form of asking forgiveness and then the treatment phase which includes learning from the mistake.

In fact, i agree with you that it's non-sense to ask forgiveness without trying to fix the ill part inside us and in our acts. And Islam fully agrees with you on this.

sahar said...

I forgot to say something; hi! ^_^

Paul said...

Beautiful Sahar! How are you? Welcome!

I'm glad to hear that Islam focuses on more than mere forgiveness. For there to be any moral progress in this world, we must take then next step beyond asking for forgiveness and actually learn from our mistakes.

It is good to see you again!

Paul said...

Hi DOF!

"I would almost rather - scratch that - I would rather someone just come out and say, 'That wasn't a mistake, it's just how I like to be and it's how I'll be tomorrow.'"

If Ted Haggard had had the courage and the insight into himself to do that after he first noticed he was homosexual (or at least bisexual), then he would have saved himself and others a great deal of suffering, methinks. But I suspect his religion's condemnation of homosexuality made a coward of him.

Faisal said...

Hi there :)

I think there is no point in forgiveness if someone used to do the same act again, and again.

Guilt and regret can work well in preventing people from doing the same act again, but it would be useless if he kept doing it, because he will just harm himself.

Paul said...

Faisal!!! How are you? Welcome!!!

I agree that at some point we just have to accept the fact some people are not going to change no matter how often they apologize for something.

It's so good to see you!