By Donald W. Shriver
Our century has witnessed violence on an unparalleled scale, in wars that experience torn deep into the cloth of nationwide and overseas lifestyles. And as we will be able to see within the fresh strife in Bosnia, genocide in Rwanda, and the continuing fight to manage nuclear weaponry, historic enmities proceed to threaten the lives of lots of humans. As by no means ahead of, the query is pressing and useful: How can nations--or ethnic teams, or races--after lengthy, sour struggles, learn how to dwell aspect via aspect in peace? In An Ethic for Enemies, Donald W. Shriver, Jr., President Emeritus of Union Theological Seminary, argues that the answer lies in our ability to forgive. Taking forgiveness out of its conventional specific organization with own faith and morality, Shriver urges us to acknowledge its value within the secular political area. the center of the e-book examines 3 strong and relocating instances from contemporary American history--our postwar dealings with Germany, with Japan, and our carrying on with household challenge with race relations--cases during which acts of forgiveness have had very important political outcomes. Shriver lines how postwar Germany, in its fight to damage with its political earlier, stepped forward from denial of a Nazi previous, to a proper acknowledgement of the crimes of Nazi Germany, to offering fabric repayment for survivors of the Holocaust. He additionally examines the efforts of Japan and the USA, over the years and throughout limitations of race and tradition, to forgive the wrongs dedicated through either peoples throughout the Pacific conflict. and at last he deals a desirable dialogue of the function of forgiveness within the American civil rights circulate. He indicates, for example, that even Malcolm X well-known the necessity to stream from contempt for the integrationist perfect to a extra conciliatory, repentant stance towards Civil Rights leaders. Malcolm got here to work out that purely via forgiveness may well the separate voices of the African-American flow interact to accomplish their objectives. If mutual forgiveness used to be a thorough concept in 1964, Shriver reminds us that it has but to be learned in 1994. "We are far from ceasing to carry the sins of the ancestors opposed to their residing children," he writes. but during this poignant quantity, we find how, by means of forgiving, enemies can development and feature stepped forward towards peace. A well timed antidote to trendy political conflicts, An Ethic for Enemies demanding situations to us to confront the hatreds that cripple society and threaten to ruin the worldwide village.
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Extra info for An Ethic For Enemies: Forgiveness in Politics
In his poetry, Solon set forth a vision of human community grounded not in the power of the stronger but in justice. He differed from the old tradition of Hesiod (ca. ) in that he saw injustice not as human crime inexorably punished by external divine powers but as inherent harm to the ability of humans to form and preserve political community among themselves. For Solon, says Werner Jaeger, a "transgression of justice is a disturbance of the social organism. A state thus punished is afflicted by party feuds and civil war," not by plagues and famines imposed by the gods.
62) "We have not forgotten our sorrow" over these personal losses, the letter addsan implicit invitation to American readers not to forget them either. The final paragraph of the letter is doubly remarkable for its use of terms intimately associated with the traditional theological definition of forgiveness in the West. Yokohamans had erected a peace monument in their city inscribed with the words "Love, Peace, Earth" and the names of known bombing victims, after the model of the monument in the Peace Park of modern Hiroshima.
Before any American, including this writer, leaps to so sure a conclusion, however, he or she will find it instructive to take an old book of the forties off the shelf and to read in it: You've got to rid yourself of squeamish feelings about killing these men who are your enemies. You may not hate these men nowbut they hate you and killing them is the only means of defeating what they would kill you to accomplish. It is the only way to avoid being killed for what you stand for. You won't forget the acts of aggression committed by the enemy which started this war.
An Ethic For Enemies: Forgiveness in Politics by Donald W. Shriver