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Old 05-05-2008, 10:51 PM   #1
jonathan7
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Redemption?

In the wake of the 'pedophile' and 'Fritzl' threads I thought I would post a thread on the subject of forgiveness, hate and redemption.

Now, pedophiles do make me angry, their crimes are horrible however it seems some of you seem to be going to hate which is a totally different kettle of fish. Hate destroys the hater; have you noticed in the fights between Jedi and Sith, the Sith try to bait the Jedi into hating the Sith for their previous actions. It seemed to me Anakin fell because of his is hatred (towards Dooku, Sand People etc), infatuation (for Padme) and lust for power?

Now with regards pedophiles, they do hateful crimes and when caught I do not think they should be given the opportunity to hurt a child ever again. However it does not seem to me that some are talking about justice, indeed some seem to be advocating torture and mob justice. Which at least to me seems to lead to a couple of problems.

Is torture acceptable? I think by dehumanising and doing such things to anyone, regardless of their crimes, does it not bring someone down to an evil level? The same level they seem to be claiming to be fighting against? Does fighting evil with evil really work? Is there not an added anomly here, lets say in the judicial process a pedophile is raped as the punishment for his crime; is this fitting? I mean basically its saying; its unacceptable for him to rape a child, but its acceptable to do the same to him?

Given the history of our governments would it really be wise to trust any of them with such a 'privalegedge'? Also what happens if the wrong man has been prosecuted?

Finally many pedophiles were abused as children, now this doesn't excuse what they have done, but I assert any pedophile is a deeply troubled and damaged individual. Do they not need help? Is not part of the help not to allow them never to have the opportunity to hurt a child again? As well as trying to 'mend' them.

You may also want to consider this Philip Zimbardo from 'The Lucifer Effect' (From Chapter 12, pages 288-289):

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Arendt’s phrase 'the banality of evil' continues to resonate because genocide has been unleashed around the world and torture and terrorism continue to be common features of our global landscape. We prefer to distance ourselves from such a fundamental truth, seeing the madness of evildoers and senseless violence of tyrants as dispositional characters within their personal makeup. Arendt’s analysis was the first to deny this orientation by observing the fluidity with which social forces can prompt normal people to perform horrific acts.
In his summing up chapter of their great book 'The Thinkers Guide to Evil' Peter Vardy and Julie Arliss (Pg 190-191) remark;

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In Harry Potter the two key characters apart from Harry himself are Professor Dumbledore and Lord Voldermort. One lives for others and the other lives for himself. Lord Voldermort, ever since he was merely Tom Riddle and a student of Hogwarts, put his own selfish interests first. Dumbledore does not think of his own interests. The same applies in the Lord of the Rings where Gandalf is pitted against Sauron and Sarauman. Again the contrast is between a life lived for others and a life lived for self. Evil is a choice – but it then becomes a way of life that affects the whole personality. It is possible to turn one’s back on past choices but it is exceptionally difficult – to a large extent we are made by the choices we have made, but hope always remains as forgiveness and a new start are always possible, even at the last moment.
Now lets pose a hypothetical; there is a man named Fred; Fred is abused as a child, and aged 18 he abuses a child he is caugh tryed and convicted and serves 20 years. When he gets out he wants to make up what he has done, he gets married and has kids. He invents a cure for HIV, makes Millions and solves problems with third world debt and saves millions of lives in Africa through the two above things. He loves his wife and kids; and his children go on to achieving human rights rules being globally instigated.

Does what Fred later achieved make up for what he had done earlier?

Or as this is a Star Wars forum, is Vader redeemed for killing the Emporer in RotJ? Or in KotOR is a LS Revan redeemed from his time as a Dark Lord?

In many a debate it is often clear to me, people quickly dehumanize those who are 'evil', however evil is alot more complex than this. Doing evil to the evil doer does not solve the problem; if a serial killer is tortured does that bring back his victims? And what does it make the torturer and those who wanted him tortured?

Grace, at least in the conception I understand it is the completely undeserved loved that one can grant to another. Grace and forgiveness seem to me at least to be vital things, that too many in the world have forgotten or ignored. Now forgiveness does not involve forgetting.

Now as many of you maybe aware I am a Christian. Now whatever you think of Jesus, God, Prophet or never exsisted my I offer for your consideration this.

Peter Vardy and Julie Arliss 'The Thinkers Guide to Evil' (Pg 190);

Quote:
Jesus resisted evil by refusing to give in to it. He showed the power of goodness through weakness by refusing to let his life be compromised by those forces that sought to take over his teaching. He rejected force or even seeking to persuade people to follow him by public displays of miracles – instead he brought forgiveness and the possibility of a new start to people from every walk of life, from tax collectors to priests and prostitutes. He lived be the law of love and applied it not matter what the status of the person. He called his followers to put God and love first no matter what the personal cost and said the few who would be willing to take this hard, lonely path of living a life of goodness would face persecution and possibly death. The centuries since have provided abundant evidence that he was right.
Thanks for reading.



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Old 05-05-2008, 11:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
Does what Fred later achieved make up for what he had done earlier?
No!

While I would commend hypothetical Fred for his achievements, there is no making up for harming a child. Hypothetical Fred was abused as a child, instead of having sympathy for the child; he decided to force his victim to feel the same pain he felt. So yes, hypothetical Fred paid his debt under the law, but he can never repay that child he abused just as the person that victimized him can never make up for that abuse.

Now I am not a supporter of torture, I would define it as cruel and unusual. However, that is my definition of cruel and unusual. My question would be what the perpetrator’s definition of the cruel and unusual? If he/she applied waterboarding to their victim then they must not consider waterboarding torture or cruel and unusual and it would be appropriate. Someone that murder someone obliviously does not consider it cruel or unusual. So…


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Old 05-05-2008, 11:46 PM   #3
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I see Torture as cruel, but how is it unusual? It's the exact opposite of unusual, it's pretty common.
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Old 05-06-2008, 12:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
I see Torture as cruel, but how is it unusual? It's the exact opposite of unusual, it's pretty common.
Well it was unusual in this country 8 years ago, but you are correct it is no longer unusual thanks to my fellow Texan.


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Old 05-06-2008, 12:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimartin
Well it was unusual in this country 8 years ago, but you are correct it is no longer unusual thanks to my fellow Texan.
^ Actually you can thank Dick Cheney (Wyoming), John Yoo (California), and most especially David Addington (D.C.) for snaking around the Geneva conventions and the McCain anti-torture amendment.


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Old 05-06-2008, 01:16 AM   #6
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Half the reason in my opinion some think torture is acceptable is a subconscious desire not to be associated with that person as a kindred of species. If we torture them and/or execute them, the idea forms in our head that they were subhuman, and that they deserved justice.

Keep in mind this may already seem obvious but this is just me figuring out a polarizing issue. That being said, I have a firm dislike for corporal punishment concerning these matters but I have very little technical knowledge so I'll leave it at that.


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Old 05-06-2008, 02:33 AM   #7
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Nice post J7 . In my oppinion, "Freds" actions does not make up for what he did, as that would imply that those who do much good should get away with doing horrible things. "Fred" is however a human like everyone else, and there is little reason to ruin his life aswell because of what he did once. Neither should his achievments be ignored, so to me, "Fred" would be a hero, a hero who did something bad in his past, but then again haven't we all?


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Old 05-06-2008, 09:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mur'phon
Neither should his achievments be ignored, so to me, "Fred" would be a hero, a hero who did something bad in his past, but then again haven't we all?
Fred is a hero that did horrific things to an defenseless innocent child? That is clearly not my definition of the word hero, a hero protects those that cannot protect themselves. A hero does not have to be perfect, they can be a complete a scumbag, but they rush into the fire to save a child. The burning building is not the hero of the story. A child molester is the burning building.

Fred is someone that made a mistake, an unforgivable mistake. A mistake that only those affect by can forgive. He paid his debt to society, but he must always be watched. His mistake must never be forgotten no matter his achievement or riches.

The victim is the important part of the equation, not Fred. Fred was the important part before he chose to make the victim more important than himself by taking the innocents from a child.

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Originally Posted by tk102
Actually you can thank Dick Cheney (Wyoming), John Yoo (California), and most especially David Addington (D.C.) for snaking around the Geneva conventions and the McCain anti-torture amendment.
What happen to “the buck stops here”?


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Old 05-06-2008, 09:25 AM   #9
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From a purely Christian point of view....
There is nothing Fred can do to truly redeem himself. What he did was evil, and no amount of good works can really make up for it. Only God, through Christ's sacrifice for us, can redeem any of us. Fred has paid the debt imposed by our man-made laws but the good works don't mitigate the initial evil. He should seek forgiveness from his victim, too.

What this hypothetical does show is that someone who's experienced something terrible can take that situation and turn it into something positive for humanity.


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Old 05-06-2008, 11:18 AM   #10
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If "god" would ever forgive what Fred did when he was abusing that child, I'd kick his butt so hard my shoelace would come out of his nose. I mean, we all surely make mistakes, and may really regret them, but abusing a child is not anywhere near "oops, you know, I didn't think about it properly".

In other words, no heavenly virgin deflowering parties for Fred, FOREVER.


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Old 05-06-2008, 01:36 PM   #11
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Fred is a hero that did horrific things to an defenseless innocent child? That is clearly not my definition of the word hero, a hero protects those that cannot protect themselves. A hero does not have to be perfect, they can be a complete a scumbag, but they rush into the fire to save a child. The burning building is not the hero of the story. A child molester is the burning building.
Then we have different definitions of what a hero is, to me at least, the countless people saved trough a cure for HIV and relieving of third world dept makes him a hero, despite him doing something horific to one person. The same way I consider "liberation heroes" heroes, despite them often killing/authorising the killing of several civilians, I would consider "Fred" a hero.

Quote:
Fred is someone that made a mistake, an unforgivable mistake. A mistake that only those affect by can forgive. He paid his debt to society, but he must always be watched. His mistake must never be forgotten no matter his achievement or riches.
I agree, obviously only the victims can forgive him, and there should be some way to monitor him/prevent him from re-offending. And while his mistake, like any other persons mistake, should never be forgotten, I would hope he was remembered as the savior of Africa, not as a rapist.


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Old 05-06-2008, 02:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mur'phon
Then we have different definitions of what a hero is, to me at least, the countless people saved trough a cure for HIV and relieving of third world dept makes him a hero, despite him doing something horific to one person. The same way I consider "liberation heroes" heroes, despite them often killing/authorising the killing of several civilians, I would consider "Fred" a hero.
While I see your point, but I just disagree. A hero (to me) requires self sacrifice. Now if “Fred” injected himself with HIV in order to test the cure, then I may place him in the hero mode. However, if he invented the cure and made millions, I would say he was a very good scientist or doctor, not a hero. He deserves a Noble Prize, but that alone does not make him a hero. IMO
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Originally Posted by mur'phon
I would hope he was remembered as the savior of Africa, not as a rapist.
I would hope he was remembered as both. As the savior of Africa, he would deserve our recognition and gratitude.

I would also hope he was remembered as a child rapist for two reasons: 1. So he would never have the opportunity to do it again. 2. As an example of how even the biggest pervert in the world can be a benefit to society and turn their life around.


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Old 05-06-2008, 03:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
While I see your point, but I just disagree. A hero (to me) requires self sacrifice. Now if “Fred” injected himself with HIV in order to test the cure, then I may place him in the hero mode. However, if he invented the cure and made millions, I would say he was a very good scientist or doctor, not a hero. He deserves a Noble Prize, but that alone does not make him a hero. IMO
I guess we'll probably have to agree to disagree. I doubt if self sacrifice truly is sacrifice, and not simply doing what a person thinks (consoiusly or not) is going to benefitt him the most. Therefore, I tend to care little why people do "good" acts, only that they do them. And in "Freds" case there was some "self sacrifice", solving the problems he did probably cost him most of his fortune.

Quote:
I would hope he was remembered as both. As the savior of Africa, he would deserve our recognition and gratitude.
I would also hope he was remembered as a child rapist for two reasons: 1. So he would never have the opportunity to do it again. 2. As an example of how even the biggest pervert in the world can be a benefit to society and turn their life around.
Poor choice of words on my part, like we often asociate people with either only their good sides (old ANC heroes are known for the peacefull takeover, not the terrorist actions), or their bad (Hitler isn't known for geting the disaster that was Germany "back on track"). I was thinking that if it's one or the other, it would be best with the "nice" part. Of course, it would be best if people saw both sides, but with the need many have to paint the world in black and white, I don't see that as very likely.


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Old 05-06-2008, 04:56 PM   #14
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Does what Fred later achieved make up for what he had done earlier?
Well, Fred is likely enough not to do that, so I doubt it to be real life or anything.

But you want to know how much good deeds would it take to redeem a person of a crime he has done. Correct?

He has harmed one child irreedemably. So, currently, the debt is: -1 Human.

If he saves one, just one child from a fire, the debt of harming that one child is gone. So, now, he has done no pain to society.

So, if he saves millions, then he has really just saved millions minus one person, because of that one person he has harmed. But the harm of that child, in the greater term, can be seen as 'erased', or drown out.

Therefore, I would count that he has in fact been 'redeemed'.

But...I don't decide if the person is redeemed. Religion decides that.


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