Friday, 6 February 2015

Mercy is a better word than tolerance

There seems to be a problem with the word tolerance - in that it tends to slide into approval.

There are many examples from the sexual revolution in which a disorder or sin is first tolerated then actively approved - first regarded as not-necessarily-bad then portrayed as actually good - first decriminalized then enforced by propaganda, rules, regulations and eventually laws.

For example, divorce was first tolerated, then incrementally destigmatized, then formally allowed, then made easier, then marriage contracts were declared unilaterally revocable (i.e. not contracts at all), until now divorce is widely portrayed as a positive freedom, the sign of a liberated spirit, a great opportunity: the kind of thing that authentic, brave, lively, admirable, passionate and spiritual people really ought to be doing...

(We have the bizarre situation that the only contract which we make with the highest solemnity, after prolonged consideration, in front of multiple witnesses; a promise which we swear solemnly to hold through thick and thin and for all of our lives - is treated by The Law as utterly trivial; such that either party can break it without sanctions and for trivial excuses or no reason at all.)

So perhaps mercy is a better word than tolerance; in the sense that mercy implies guilt.

When moral law (which is what all Law ought to be) has been transgressed, sometimes it is appropriate not to punish - because of the circumstances. So, the person is formally convicted of transgression - they are Guilty; but mercy is shown, and they are not punished.

(An example would be when someone is convicted of the murder of someone who has tortured and tormented and provoked them beyond endurance. They may really be guilty of murder; but in the circumstances they may be pardoned, and not punished.)

This would seem to be the best way to do things. First to recognize that wrong was done, then - when appropriate and reasonable - to be merciful for the wrongdoing.

This fits with how I feel about many sins and wrongdoings - particularly in the sexual realm. I regard them as real sins and genuine wrongdoings; but in some, many or even most circumstances I would advocate mercy - and not punish them.


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