Religiosity, Christianity, and Forgiveness

Ancient Christian Wisdom

In psychological literature, religion and spirituality are usually contrasted as the institutional and subjective aspects of individuals’ search for the sacred. Religion, in particular, is often defined by a particular constellation of feelings, thoughts, experiences, and behaviors that accompany this sacred search and that are validated and supported by an identifiable group of people. So a Christian who feels gratitude towards God, thinks about Scripture, experiences God’s nearness, and goes to Church in ways that are shared with others in that Christians group could be called religious. One would think that religiosity would have some influence on a readiness to forgive, but the findings are in fact intriguingly ambiguous.

In their article entitled, “Antecedents and Consequents of Interpersonal Forgiveness,” authors Blake M. Riek and Eric W. Mania found that religiosity plays an indeterminate role in an individual’s disposition to forgive another. Some studies, particularly those whose participants reported to be…

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