воскресенье, 7 марта 2010 г.

Genuine religion is about the possibility of change

Is redemption possible for a child who committed murder?

The murder of toddler James Bulger was an appalling crime, of that there can be no doubt.
The question raised and thoughtfully discussed in this article by Brian Masters is this: can we allow that there might be redemption for Jon Venables, who was 10 years old when he and Robert Thompson, also 10, took James Bulger on the long walk to his death?
The British public has remained fascinated, horrified, by this murder. Many still bay for the blood of Jon Venables. There's a nasty, prurient, salacious character to this fascination, and the calls for vengeance against the two murderers express a kind of self-righteousness that defends against the fear that, given different circumstances, those who call for vengeance could themselves have committed the same murder.

Jon Venables is no longer the guilty boy who killed James Bulger.
The child 'Jon Venables' has become someone else now but public indignation demands that he remain the bewildered boy who could barely see out of the dock at his trial. Have we really so little belief in redemption, asks Brian Masters.
A 27-year-old man who used to be known as Jon Venables has been taken into custody for an undisclosed reason at an unknown location. That is all there is to say, or it should be. But this simple news item has been wilfully exploded into a stream of righteous wrath owing to what this man did 17 years ago. It is as well we should remind ourselves what that was, and examine why we should delight in recalling the horror all over again. For that is what is happening.

via telegraph.co.uk

I don't for one moment condone the atrocious acts perpetrated by the boys Venables and Thompson. Nor do I doubt the strength of the grief and anger that James Bulger's mother may well still feel, even after 17 years.
However, Jon Venables, who now lives under a new identity, is not, as Brian Masters points out, the boy of 10 who did what he did:
'...he cannot be the warped and skewed child who shared in that dreadful crime all those years ago. It is just not possible. He is somebody else now. We all of us change and develop as we pass into adulthood and beyond, and there is no reason to suppose that a child who murders should be exempt from this inevitability.'
Sadly, some of those calling for vengeance claim to be adherents of one or other religion and that their religion justifies their calls for vengeance. In reality, though, genuine religion is centrally about the possibility of change, of transformation, of redemption.
Without wishing to undermine justice, which is the foundation of the possibility of a cohesive society, I share Brian Masters' hope that:
'Surely our society is mature enough to permit religious wisdom to prevail rather than let intelligent thought be swamped by quivering fascination with wickedness.'

Barney’s posterous

Комментариев нет: