April 12, 2011

BBC programme debates forgiveness


by Jan Harris

A new programme from the BBC, to be broadcast on Good Friday, asks ‘What’s the Point of Forgiveness?’

Presented by Bettany Hughes, the programme delves into the question posed by the programme’s title and asks whether it is realistic to expect victims to forgive.

The programme covers a number of momentous events including the Crusades and the Reformation, as well as contemporary events such as the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York.

History shows that forgiveness is more prevalent in secular societies, which initially seems surprising given that many religions hold forgiveness as a virtue.

However, forgiveness does not seem to be considered a virtue by many fundamentalist religious organisations.

It seems that even mainstream Christianity believes that forgiveness should not be given too easily.

In the programme, The Archbishop of Canterbury suggests that
easy forgiveness can make it appear that suffering doesn’t matter.

On the other hand many psychologists would argue that failing to forgive and holding on to negative feelings, can only hurt the victim even more.

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