Saturday, August 30, 2014

Forgive Me, Lord, For What I Have't Done Yet

In response to a post from a family member meditating upon the issue of those who commit sins believing that it's no big deal, they can always be forgiven for it later; I responded:

An interesting point. TE Lawrence in his Seven Pillars of Wisdom reported that before he was tortured by his Muslim captors during World War I, they often prayed for forgiveness before torturing him. They knew what they were doing was wrong but thought they could get pre-forgiven. Some reports from the captives held in Iran after the attacks on the US Embassy reported the same behavior. It assumes God is a real idiot, I suppose.

He seems to be easily deluded by pre-regret for the crime you're about to commit but haven't actually done yet. Somehow the concept of repentance is lost in this, or at least distorted into a pro forma ritual. You don't need to actually regret your sin; as in you wish you had never done it, promise never to do it again, even wish you could go back and undo it. Instead you simply go through the magic ritual and now you no longer need to have any responsibility for any actions you commit even if they are clearly sinful and wrong.

I do not think this particular attitude is associated with Islam any more than any other religion. I think it is associated with individuals who do not wish to take a careful look at the actual nature of sin and repentance, preferring to think there's always a magical get put of jail free card which can be played to get out of responsibility for your own actions.

I'm inclined to doubt that God is as easily deluded as they think.

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