Forbes released its list of the most disliked NFL players and that ex-dog fighter, Michael Vick, is at the top of their list. He served nearly 2 years in prison after pleading guilty to the crime. Since then he's disavowed dog fighting and has been working with the the Humane Society to end dog fighting.

This post isn't about Michael Vick. He just starts the discussion.

What about forgiveness? When does one deserve it? When does one give it? Does one do one's best to forget after forgiving?

What do you think?

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It only makes sense when the person being forgiven has shown some indication that they've actually learned that they shouldn't do whatever it is again.  The example you gave certainly looks like this. 

I've known far too many people who use an apology as a way to "reset" so they can just treat you like shit all over again.

Vick wouldn't lift his hand for anything other than smacking a dog if he didn't care about his image. He learned he shouldn't do it, but not for the right reasons, which would be that animal cruelty is wrong, but because he realized you shouldn't get caught doing it. People who are capable of doing that kind of shit are sociopaths, and they don't suddenly develop compassion and empathy because they got scolded.

There are few things I can imagine that are less sincere than someone taking up a campaign against whatever crime they used to commit. It's such blatant bullshitting that it's almost insulting to witness.

Since one can't actually forget a serious offense, by "forgetting," I mean not bringing it up and rubbing the offender's nose in it over and over again, reminding them of their misdeed(s).

To forgive? I guess there is just something about that word which does not work for me. Jesus ruined it making it seem like such a pretentious act.

This. I remember a speech of Hitchens once, where he was talking about how someone told him that Mother Theresa forgave him for the things he said about her. And he went on to explain how arrogant and condescending that was of her to do, because a) he didn't ask for forgiveness and b) it implies that he was wrong.

Same thing goes for God. God's supposed to be all merciful and forgive even the most heinous crimes if you repent and beg for forgiveness. But that is a disgusting thought. So if a rapist repents, God will forgive his crimes? What gives him the right? On whose behalf does he forgive? His victims? What if they don't want to forgive the rapist? Does God give a shit about their opinion? Do they get a say in this at all? No.

Of course there is no god. So in reality all that happens is that this rapist talks himself into believing that he is forgiven. In this sense religion's bullshit "forgiveness" mechanism is nothing but a sociopathy-emulator. Commit crimes and wash yourself of the responsibility by having a magical being forgive you on behalf of your victims, who on their own wouldn't ever forgive you.

That being said, I'm not big on forgiveness myself. I don't expect to be forgiven, and I don't like it when people expect it from others either. I especially hate it when they do that bullshit turn-around scam where you're the asshole if you don't forgive them. Besides, for forgiveness to be useful it would have to mean the person had to change, and people very rarely, if ever, change.

All those horrible things that people say they wouldn't wish on their worst enemy? I do. Because fuck that guy.

In the interest of keeping the discussion on topic, I guess the question here is this, I'm having meat for dinner tonight. If I need forgiveness, whom do I need it from, assuming there is no God?

"gun nuts could experience the thrill of watching them die"

Hopefully I am classified as a responsible gun owner/hunter and not a gun nut, whatever that encompasses. I regularly harvest wild game off my property for sustenance. I have no sense of thrill in taking the life of a game animal. There is certainly a sense of satisfaction upon putting a tasty nutritious meal on the table and knowing I don't have to question about how it (the game) was raised and fed. As a hunter/gatherer I very much respect nature and it's capacity to feed me. 


Gun opponents and vegan-tarians are given to hyperbole. If you hunt or enjoy a half rack of babybacks, you're a nut.

Belle is spot on. Forget the offender - it is YOU who suffers if you do not forgive. However she goes on to say: "the right to get and feel angry. But channeling your anger appropriately is key". Sure, but really anger is the antithesis of forgiveness. You have the right to be angry but it is suggested that one should do their best not to exercise that right - for one's OWN sake.

Kris talks about the religious aspects. I'm very alone in this, but, in my opinion the sacrament of Confession is  one of the better constructs out of Catholicism. Forget God's forgiveness - it's good to recognize one's own misdeeds and vocalizing or, in some way structuring or formalizing them helps. 

To me this new age "forgive yourself" is approaching the problem backwards. If I commit a misdeed I need to remember it in order for me to avoid repeating it. I don't understand "forgive yourself". I'm guessing it's something women are told. Belle...???

"Wrong. Anger is par of the grieving process to heal."

It is not necessary to feel anger when you've been wronged. 99% of personal transgressions involve ego being assaulted. An enlightened person can manage to laugh at such transgressions because their ego is already ebbed - nothing to offend. I'll grant that, for the vast majority of people, anger may be part of the process. This is because they are taught that their ego is all important. They are taught, "look after yourself first", "me time", whereas those seeking enlightenment are taught to seek the behaviour of water - find your way to the lowest level, elevate and support all others around you, attach to nothing. 

No, I can't. I'm not a Tao Master, or anything close. Further, as your post is clearly disingenuous  sarcasm, I suggest you're not ready anyway.

Lovely. Made my evening. Thank you.

As far as Vick goes - I believe that he simply didn't view fighting dogs as lovable creatures at the time he was pitting them against each other.  I'm certain he had no idea how shocked the masses would be by such activities.  I believe he has changed his view on the matter, paid a serious price for his lack of judgment, and I have no problem with the guy.

In general I'm not nearly as likely to forgive someone as I am to just forget about their transgression.  If they fucked up, well, we all fuck up.  If emotion got the better of them, well I can understand that.  The only question in my mind is whether their transgression represents their standard behavior or a temporary lack of judgement.


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