Forgiveness is a Religious Virtue

“Forgiveness is, in origin, a religious virtue. There is no such thing as forgiveness in nature. The elements are blind, and the laws of nature inexorable. Famine, drought, disease, starvation make no exceptions for the virtuous or the penitent. The supreme poets of an unforgiving world were the dramatists of ancient Greece. For them, fate rules the destinies of humankind. To attempt to subvert or circumnavigate it is hubris which ends in nemesis. A world of impersonal forces is a tragically configured universe.”

“The prophets and visionaries of the Hebrew Bible have often been credited with the discovery of monotheism, the idea that there is only one God. That, I suspect, is a less significant discovery than its other great insight: that God is personal, that there is something at the heart of reality that responds to and affirms our existence as persons. The universe is more than a billion galaxies silently rotating in space. We are not mere cosmic dust on the surface of eternity. We are here become someone wanted us to be. God did not create the universe as a scientist in a laboratory, or as a technocrat setting in motion the big bang but rather as a parent giving birth to a child. The universe is neither indifferent nor hostile to our existence. That was the great leap of the biblical imagination.”

The Dignity of Difference, p. 154