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  Guilt and Forgiveness
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Jane Leppard dec96

Guilt and Forgiveness

An ethical system which breaks down in extremis, when it is most needed, is dangerous and destructive. I call received Christianity "Sin-Cultism"; concentration on the expiation of sins. This was all well and good until the concept was extended in two ways. Firstly the concept of group sin developed, centred around the cross and later encouraged by Quakers, for example that "we are all guilty of racism", or that "we are all guilty of pride". Secondly, the destructive addition to the concept of sin, again encouraged by Quakers, is that of guilt by association. If something terrible happens, all involved parties must carry some of the blame. At this point the cult of sin reaches its most destructive. If too many terrible things have happened around John Smith, then John Smith goes under, weighed down by the part of the guilt that he must carry. This is how a cult, which began with Jesus being most anxious to succour the most hard pressed John Smiths among us, turns into a cult which targets and destroys those same John Smiths. Either the concept of guilt can only be valid for juveniles, when crimes are minor, to restrain those who lack more mature self control, or guilt of the group and guilt by association must be firmly repudiated. As with guilt, forgiveness is a juvenile concept. It also helped an established church to control its less mature flock. Today, England is well stocked with William Browns against whom false criminal charges have been sworn, these charges having then been welcomed and acted on to Browns' cost. What meaning can be attached to Brown forgiving one who has sworn a false criminal charge against him, to his cost? Turning the other cheek after a trivial wrong is one thing. But to associate in any way with someone who has already laid false charges against him, given the chaotic state of our courts, would put Brown in mortal danger. He must have no further contact with his accuser. If Jesus' martyrdom was avoidable, then he does not get my sympathy. As many of the early Gnostics said, forcing society to create martyrs is an unacceptable political strategy. If the concept of forgiveness is irrelevant after a great wrong, then, like expiation of sin, it is a destructive illusion. It is no good having ethics which crumble when the pressure is on. Generally, I cannot distinguish between received Christianity and the techniques used forty years ago by a father to control his 10 year old child. I suggest that this is because Christianity developed as a technique for a church to control an illiterate flock, a situation similar to a father and his child. 14aug97 Dear Jane Leppard, ...... ...... I find you article, 'Guilt and forgiveness' very interesting - and I happen to agree with you. There are two small points .... clarify, please .... omit paragraph .... .... The article would fit rather well into October Quaker Monthly, which I'm preparing now. I look forward to hearing from you. Yours..... Elizabeth Cave, editor, Quaker Monthly

[8oct97 Now going into the Nov97 issue.]


Note for Steve. Each time a man publishes good material under a female alias, he strikes a further blow for the emancipation of women by demonstrating their literary ability.

On another tack, I have always resented being a small Catt. For my aliases, I turn into a big cat, for instance a Leppard. Also Penelope Lyon. The exciting thing is that, if editors adhere to the concept of fairness - equal time, we can imagine a Great Debate in the press conducted exclusively between big cats. However, that is only a dream for the future.

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