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Forgiveness, reconciliation, and justice: A Christian contribution to a more peaceful social environment

Volf, Miroslav
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) In Forgiveness and reconciliation: Religion, public policy, & conflict transformation, ed. Raymond G. Helmick, S.J., and Rodney L. Petersen, 27-49. With a foreword by Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu. Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press.

Acknowledging Christianity’s historical complicity in varieties of violence, Volf nevertheless contends that Christian faith should be seen as a contributor to a more peaceful social environment. Volf supports his assertion by considering the relationship between Christian faith and violence. Against those who state that Christian faith fosters violence, Volf argues that Christian faith is essentially peace-creating and peace-sustaining. He elaborates this position by examining the ideas of forgiveness, reconciliation, and justice at the heart of Christian faith. “Wrongheadedâ€? ways to relate forgiveness, reconciliation, and justice are identified by Volf. Then he details what he considers the true relationships between forgiveness, reconciliation, and justice at the core of Christian faith. This involves several key claims Christian tradition makes about justice and “embraceâ€? (at this point in his paper, Volf substitutes the word “embraceâ€? for peace). Volf explains these claims in terms of the will to embrace, actual embrace, and forgiveness and the primacy of embrace.


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