Mercer Misunderstands Christian Forgiveness

In this piece I believe Ilana Mercer misunderstands the Christian approach to forgiveness. It is true that God is just. However, Jesus bore the punishment for everyone else's sins--that's why Christians say "He died for our sins." (Someone used the analogy that God is a judge whose own child comes before him in court. Because He's just, he still levies the fine, but because He loves His child, He gives the child the money to pay the fine. Just so you're not confused, in this analogy the child is us, not Jesus.)

There are plenty of Biblical passages where Christians are instructed to forgive, regardless of the contrition or not of the trangressor. Also, one can forgive without "forgetting," in the sense that you could still not let a murderer babysit your kids, even though you forgave him for his previous crimes.

It's particularly interesting that Ilana (we know each other--I'm not using her first name because she's a woman) took this tack, because I think this is actually one of the major differences between Judaism and Christianity. In my view, God basically said to humans: "Okay, you want a list of necessary and sufficient conditions for moral behavior? Read Deuteronomy. You can't do it, huh? OK, so just love Me and love each other."


  1. So what role does justice play in Christian doctrine? Are Christians allowed to sue wrongdoers or do anything that might lead to wrongdoers being punished? It rather sounds like an extreme version of pacifism.

  2. Anonymous9:09 PM

    Leave judgement to the creator. Christ taught a complete rejection of the material world. Love thy neighbor and thy enemy. Turn the other cheek... Give away your riches, and serve the servants...

    The judeo-muslim tradition stands for some kind of heaven on earth. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth... If we keep making more lawyers we'll all be blind and toothless.

  3. julius said:

    It rather sounds like an extreme version of pacifism.

    I agree.

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