Every major religion endorses forgiveness as a virtue. The religious perspectives have brought forth numerous practical and theoretical understandings of forgiveness for centuries. In the last 20 years, the field of psychology has pursued the scientific study of forgiveness (Fehr et al. 2010). Can this study add to what millennia of religious thought and practice has taught humankind?
Science as a New Tool
Peter Galison (2003) has put forth an understanding of scientific revolutions that attributes the seeds of change to the development of new tools. The invention of the telescope paved the way for observing phenomena that were not observable in Newtonian physics. The new data eventually created problems for the old paradigm. According to Galison, a revolution in a scientific field is due more to applying new tools to a phenomenon than simply to providing a reconceptualization of the phenomenon.
The study of forgiveness has brought a new tool to its study and practice – the method of...
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