I am no scholar on religion, but I always assumed that all the major religions of the world embraced forgiveness as one of the highest virtues to which all humans should aspire, along with mercy, tolerance and love. Apparently this is not so.
Robert Perry, one of the foremost authorities on A Course In Miracles, exposes a fact about religion and forgiveness in his most recent book, Return to the Heart of God, that will shock you. It did me. Here’s the quote:
” … I have found it very revealing to look up forgiveness in The Encyclopedia of Religion. This is a comprehensive and masterful encyclopedia which had the great scholar Mircea Eliade as its editor in chief. It contains thousands of entries on virtually every conceivable topic in world religion.
Most of the entry titles are so obscure that they would be familiar only to the specialist (the first three entries, for instance, are Isaac Abarbanel, Abbahu, and Abbaye). Yet there is no entry on forgiveness. There isn’t even a subheading on forgiveness within any of the entries.
In the fifteen volumes of the encyclopedia, there are two hundred passing references to variations on the word ‘forgiveness’. Over 80% of these are about receiving forgiveness, from God, the gods, the church, the community, the pope, the king, other people, etc. Only thirty refer to one person giving forgiveness to another. Of these thirty, sixteen are about the ministry of Jesus, either about him giving forgiveness or about him teaching others to do so.
If The Encyclopedia of Religion is any indication, the spiritual value of giving forgiveness is a very minor note in humanity’s religions, a note that is primarily associated with the ministry of Jesus.”
Can you believe that? A “minor note in humanity’s religions”?!?
In my model of the Soul’s Journey, I tentatively indicate that religion is driven by fear, not Love, and is one of the means by which we create (on purpose) the separation we came in to experience. The above quote by Robert Perry confirms it for me.
What is forgiveness if it not extending the energy of Love to another and joining with him or her? What is forgiveness if it is not the key to our awakening? What is forgiveness if it is not the ONLY way to overcome the illusion of separation?
By relegating forgiveness to a mere footnote, religion shows its true colors and, ironically, it’s divine purpose. In denying the power of forgiveness to create oneness, it blocks the path to Love and draws the veil even tighter between the illusion of this world and the Truth.
The only antidote to this is Radical Forgiveness. But then, I am biased! Try it for yourself and find out how you can feel One with everyone and everything in spite of what religion does or does not tell you.