I thought about posting this months ago. In light of Senator Kennedy’s death, I post it now. Originally I started this in IMHO, but I guess it is better suited for GD. I didn’t originally start it here as I’m not going to be debating. (Mods, if you think I should have put it in IMHO, my apologies and please move it.)
Two examples: Mr. Kennedy was involved in the death of a young woman many years ago. We don’t know the details beyond what we were told, but it seems like he might have done a very bad thing. Perhaps not, because we lack proof. But for the sake of the discussion, if he did do a very bad thing, can he still have become a good man? Can one change? Is one the same man he was 40 years ago?
Example two - the one that troubles me personally. I know a man who was good and kind to me, more importantly, kind to my father while Dad was dieing. He was a goofy man, but I always thought he had a good heart and mostly I liked him. Last year about this time I found out that he molested his step daughters in their youth.
I cannot reconcile in my mind the good kind man that I met, a man who went out of his way to spend time with a lonely dieing man, and the man who could commit that kind of evil. Thankfully, due to circumstances, I will likely never see him again, because I do not know how I would interact with him.
Maybe just one more. Michael Vick used to fight dogs. He’s done his time and says he is rehabilitated. He did some bad things.
So, debate, philosophy, opinion, what have you. Can a man who once did evil become a good man? If a bad man becomes a good man, do we forgive the debt? Many will say, forgive, but don’t forget. But often I find that when we say don’t forget, what we end up doing is a form of continued punishment. We bring it up over and over, so that the man must continue to pay. Should he always have to pay - even if he has become a good man?
I am very much on the fence on this. On the one hand it seems like people who have become good should get a second chance. On the other, I have a very hard time letting go of evil. It seems like the victims end up paying all of their lives, shouldn’t the perp? (A year almost exactly has past since I learned about my friend, and it still really bothers me. I might have an easier time with this if my emotions about this event weren’t so strong.)
I apologize, I am interested in hearing opinions and debate, but I don’t promise to take part, as I am a poor debater and more importantly, I’m just not sure how I feel. Please note that it isn’t about Mr. Kennedy, or Mr. Vick, or even my the man I know, they were just examples.