(CNN) — A Virginia woman whose husband and daughter were gunned down in last week’s terror attacks in India says the attackers should be forgiven.
“We must send them our love, forgiveness and compassion,” Kia Scherr told reporters Tuesday of the Mumbai attackers, nine of whom were killed by Indian forces. “As Jesus Christ said long ago, they know not what they do.

“They are in ignorance, and they are completely shrouded and clouded by fear, and we must show that love is possible and love overpowers fear. So that’s my choice.”

Full story here.

Am I alone in thinking that this attitude is evil? A philosophy of forgiving evil is tantamount to supporting it, and puts at risk the safety and lives of countless others. On top of that, evil should be condemned and destroyed because it is anti-life. However, Gandhians and Christians are known to be big on forgiving killers and other humans who are hell-bent on destroying life, security and happiness of others. The killers of baby Moshe’s parents did not know why they were torturing and killing them, is that lady saying that?

Another reason I hate religion. I know I am not being very coherent, but I hope you, dear Reader, will pitch in with your views and enrich this post.

So, what do you think?

28 responses to “ANOTHER KIND OF EVIL

  1. Hmm.. I read the article and am wondering like you. I think all this compassion and Gandhigiri has to be interpreted in a particular context..
    Certainly in this case, if anybody wants to forgive those terrorists, it’s not a done thing..As you yourself noted, if we do so, it will be a crime against other peace loving people
    This woman, even though she is very sad and all, her religious zeal is still overriding everything else….and that could be a dangerous thing if taken seriously by many more people.

  2. I think the world made a ‘GOD’ coz it needed a punch bag… to blame everything not in our control on, as the answer to all the unanswered questions and basically something to point the finger at. God/religion is just an escape route to those who want to avoid reality!

  3. No. No forgiveness for killers. And criminals in general. To tolerate crime is to abet it.

    It can be ok for me to forgive a person who hurt me ’emotionally’, or the personal emotional aspect of a crime, provided that they have not broken any law, I am not an abuse victim (using forgiveness as an excuse) and I want to forgive and move on and all that.

    But the moment any law is broken (and the legal aspect of any wrong doing), the perpetrator should be punished, and then afterwards, I can forgive them in my heart too, if I wish. My forgiveness does not count if we (society and me) are not strong enough to punish them.

    And no one has a right to endanger other people’s lives because of their religious beliefs.

    I am sorry, I seem to be rambling, but I guess I make myself understood.

  4. At a personal level, if someone is able to genuinely feel compassion for an evil-doer and forgive her, then that’s admirable, in my opinion. This kind of forgiveness usually works at a one-on-one level.

    But I would be against such an approach as a matter of state policy because protecting the lives of citizens comes first. I may forgive a terrorist, but that doesn’t mean she should go scot-free and not be punished for her crimes. Extremists and terrorists need to be dealt with a strong hand.

    Whether at a one-on-one level, forgiveness can transform someone for the better, for what it’s worth, here’s a story:

    Whether to forgive someone or not is a personal choice, and I’m not sure that forgiving someone necessarily abets evil. Laissez faire doc? 🙂

  5. Another thought came to my mind. Perhaps when the crime is so heinous, no amount of rationalization can help one overcome the pain. Even if the judiciary punishes the criminal, the wronged cannot heal. Perhaps this ‘forgiving’ thing in such a case is a self-hypnotic attempt to block the pain and one’s own helplessness. It is a survival tactic for her sanity.

  6. So it is dangerous for “civilization” to forgive the attackers? But, if civilization itself has shown to be extremely dangerous… (don’t know how to finish).

    Anyway, there’s something I could agree with you: attackers don’t have the right to claim peace and forgiveness after having ignited violence. And this works for terrorists, guerrillas, armies from “democratic countries”, USA supporters, etc.

  7. I am against such a approach as it will propagate evil, even if the idiot saying it is not evil.

  8. I agree strongly with Amit. If the feeling is genuine, this is really a noble thing. But it is so often used as a publicity stunt that one’s first response is cynical. But to say that it abets evil might be a bit extreme.

    That said, compassion is extremely misplaced in law and order situations. Strong rule of law and a fair punishment system are big deterrents. When people feel they can get away with crime for whatever reason, crime proliferates, as in Bihar and many parts of UP.

    I don’t think we’re mature enough, as a society, for compassion to form a basis for sound governance.

  9. Vivek S. Khadpekar

    @ Doc:

    //Another reason I hate religion.//

    With some rather important qualifiers added, I would tend to agree: I have nothing against religion as a private matter at the level of an individual or even a group, as long as it is not manifested in a public or social forum. I am very averse to organised religion which seeks to impose its beliefs and worldviews on others, with or without violence.

  10. well forgiving murderers isn’t exactly,what i will call is good…I want to know the face of terror,to react..I think the idea of “evil” /whatever is to spread by not letting people see its know its something like when you are in junior classes you fear the principal ,as he is someone you don’t know and people use to blackmail..but once you see him and know he too is human,you no more are afraid,you get up and question him.

  11. Well, this forgiveness is fine for the ‘sins’ that religions forbid the laity to commit. Crimes committed would need a law to take course. For example, Sonia Gandhi may forgive her husband’s killer, but law will need to punish her, for Rajiv Gandhi was a public figure and the state is accountable for his protection and to punish perpetrators of law.

  12. Never. These killers should be killed not once but if possible many times. Easy death should not be the punishment for them. The woman who wants to forgive the criminals is not the only victim and these remorseless killers would kill as many innocents as possible, as long as they live. I would like to see the reactions of the families of these murderers. I am sure even their mothers would not like to see these guys alive.

  13. Nonsense. Forgiving evil only encourages it to grow.

  14. Doc:

    I presume none here has lost a member of the family in the Mumbai attacks (or for that matter in any attacks). This is ‘evil on TV’ for most – when we see real evil, it is harder to be so harsh. In the face of real evil, we recognise that life is made for living positively and for preventing such things from recurring. We can truly move on, without the burden of hatred.

    The response of this woman is not determined by a person’s religiosity but probably by her understanding of how evil is perpetrated. If she wishes to forgive people who killed her family, who are the rest of us sitting in judgement anyway? Please!

    I think it is shameful that you call this woman ‘evil’ for having a better sense of humanity. Come on, Doc, I thought you are better than that.

    Besides, to forgive is not the same as to forget. If you so wish, the killer should not be killed (which is my favoured stance too because it sets him free) but kept alive, made to work hard to pay for himself, and made to atone every day. If it makes you happy…

    Try forgiveness, next time someone hurts you. You will find how light it makes your heart.

  15. How can forgiveness possibly be evil? How does revenge bring peace?

    More dangerous than forgiving the terrorists who committed the act, would be to seek revenge or to hold a grudge. Where does the peace come in? Where does the violence end?

    There are some people with some criminally insane ideas out there who commit atrocious acts of violence. This has always been this way. But history has shown that retaliation is not the correct way to combat such behavior.

    By publicly forgiving the terrorists this family has single handedly undermined the entire goal of the terrorists… they want to frighten and bring harm to us. By retaliating we bring about the exact reaction they want. We cave in to the fear they are trying to impose.

    But if we forgive them, or even try to do GOOD to them, we uproot their operation.

  16. I have a friend who told me she forgave her rapist — not for his sake, but for her own; not so he could have peace, but so she could have peace. I can understand her and recognize that worked for her, but I’m not sure it works in every situation. There seem to be times when it’s wise to forgive, and other times when it’s wise to avenge.

  17. Forgiving, loving etc. are just feelings, people forgive,love,hate many people in their entire life, terrorists would also become one of them. What if we do not forgive them, I don’t think they care. Infact most of the ‘they’ who executed the plan are already dead. In the next round of attacks, their would be new people, new strategies, new brains and they will die too considering that most of the attacks now are suicide missions. People at tactical level will continue to change. One can send them love and forgive them every time they come and go. Did they say “Sorry”? Did they ask for forgiveness ? I don’t think so.

    And, Forgiveness and hatred doesn’t change the legality of the issue. Assuming that an individual like me/us will never be able to lay our hands on the terrorist, it really doesn’t matter whether I/we hate him or love him.

  18. Without getting into the nature of good, evil etc all I can feel at this moment is that these killers do not deserve any mercy or forgiveness. Oh they knew very well what they were doing and planned it in meticulous detail.It is the duty of each one of us to counter this kind of evil where we find it.

  19. Forgiveness goes hand in hand with repentance and that must be what the women in the article meant. One cannot exist without the other.

  20. How long will this saga of revenge go on? It only consumes us and draws us into a vortex of never ending complex spiral of pettiness. I know its hard to forgive when its my kin but isnt that the supreme sacrifice. The only way we can go forward on this is to put it behind us and get on with our lives. If this is tough, whats the better way out? I think history shows that love and forgiveness has won many times over the vengeance seeking formula….my 2 cents.

  21. The Vedas say that mercy on a murderer is that he should be executed. Otherwise his fate will be much worse. Forgiveness is Divine, but so is justice.

  22. I agree with Paul. Forgiving has to be taken on a Case by Case basis. There is no point in forgiving a killer who is not in the right mind to think and the only thing he wants to do is kill people. Now, if someone was forced to kill on a single situation, and that someone is not really a killer but rather a nice person cornered into such an act, then forgiving makes sense. Even that has to be looked at. It is not the murder but the intentions of the murder.

  23. Vivek S. Khadpekar


    //Forgiveness is Divine, but so is justice.//

    …Assuming, of course, that the justice you allude to is administered by a divine authority.

  24. “Forgiveness is giving up the belief that the past can be any different” – thanks, Oprah!

    I say bollocks to religion. 5000 years ago, there was no religion among humans.

    Spirituality, yes. Religion, no. Big difference.

    Also – the word forgiveness – I hardly heard that word in India until mass media / the missionaries here started (mis)using and using it. Just a thought!

  25. Pingback: RANDOM THOUGHTS OF A CEMENTED MIND « A Twist of Word and Mind

  26. The person who is evil should not be killed but must be kept alive. Unless and until he understands the gravity of what he has done, there is no point.
    Completely forgiving these criminals would be similar to telling Pakistan – Please start a nuclear attack on us. We will not retaliate and you can kill as many of us and take up the country. Its ok with us. We forgive you.

    godgobber apologists are just plain loopy.

  28. I do not think that forgiving necessarily constitutes excusing. From what I understand, we must forgive our enemies even as we destroy them. We forgive them for what they have done even as we seek their absolute destruction for doing it. At the very least, we should forgive for our own sake, I think.

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