CREDOS: Pursuing truth — V

Do you think that idea of pursuit of the wrongdoer was incomprehensible to some Christians, for whom turning the other check is the paradigm?

Yes, I think that the lessons of the Holocaust are very confusing [from the perspective of Christian theology, which focuses on the redemptive quality of suffering, that suffering is good. As Terrence Des Pres reminded everyone in his book “The Survivor,” it’s very confusing to Christians because in fact the survivor of the Holocaust knows that suffering at this level is senseless. It’s not human; this is not what you mean by suffering as being good. And under such circumstances, turning the other cheek — forgiveness — is never morally necessary. Apologies, however, are morally necessary.

You gave me an example that Wiesenthal didn’t feel competent or willing to forgive the Nazi. And my response to that is: That’s his prerogative. I don’t look at that as a failing, that this guy would not forgive. I think it’s not his place to forgive the crimes of the Nazis. There were six million Jews and five million others who were killed, and nobody has the right to forgive collectively when you’re talking about millions of innocents murdered. For example, no

one has the moral right to forgive Al Qaeda if they came forward tomorrow and said we are very sorry, please forgive us for the 9/11 attacks. I don’t think the widow of a bond trader or a fireman has the right to issue forgiveness, nor would they. —, concluded