Raids On The Unspeakable Analysis

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I. Imagine an existence consumed by violence and despair. The Sunflower delves us into this existence through the eyes of the author, Simon Wiesenthal. Imprisoned in a Jewish concentration camp, Wiesenthal endures a nightmarish day-to-day existence, having lost everything including faith in human morality, and the existence of a merciful god. After witnessing countless murders of innocent people, Wiesenthal has lost all hope, searching for any sign of symbol that would restore it, stating that “at that time we were ready to see symbols in everything. It was a time rife for mysticism and superstition” (Wiesenthal). While be transported to his new work area, Wiesenthal passes a Nazi graveyard in which he finds this symbol in the form of sunflowers,…show more content…
Thomas Merton, in his novel Raids on the Unspeakable, inserts a chapter of meditation in memory of Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi who was one of the main architects of the holocaust. Even though Eichmann oversaw the mass murder of innocents, psychiatrists pronounced him perfectly sane, a verdict that haunts Merton. He believes that sanity is a religious notion, a Christian notion, used only in relation to those who practice Christian faith. Merton suggests that we have no business to equate “sanity with Christianity,” (Merton) and doing so would perhaps corrupt the relationship between the two. Although, Merton obviously understands the importance of forgiveness and cherishes this concept, because he has been quoted saying that “We do not really know how to forgive until we know what it is to be forgiven. Therefore we should be glad that we can be forgiven by our brothers. It is our forgiveness of on another that makes the love of Jesus manifest in our lives, for in forgiving we act towards one another as God as acted towards us.” It is for these reasons why I believe that Merton would have disagreed with Wiesenthal’s course of action, and will agree to the fact that it was his duty as a Christian to show mercy towards someone who had been suffering and who had asked for…show more content…
Forgiveness is a virtue that can be applied to modern society. We can take comfort in the fact that forgiveness will always remain a part of human morality, and that its possibilities and limits seem endless. Take into account the twin tower attacks on September 11, 2001, where Iraqi terrorists killed hundreds of Americans in a suicide plane crash. This is a modern example of limits of forgiveness. However, it is clear that the magnitude of certain acts significantly determines whether or not that act can be forgiven. American society proved to be hesitant to forgive, because congress declared war on terrorism shortly afterward, and our troops continue to fight and die in the Middle East. As previously stated earlier in this paper, forgiveness is a concept that is only attributed effectively f there is a spiritual healing experience for the victim and genuine remorse from the perpetrator; however, as Moshe Bejski puts it, “does repentance alone justify and bring about forgiveness and allows crimes to be forgotten?” (Bejski) Collectively, American society may have forgiven the attackers and since the incident occurred more than a decade ago we could look upon the draconic incident and contemplate it with some detachment. However, the American population as a whole may have forgiven or have pushed aside the harsh memories of that day, but close family members of those affected may not be so quick for mercy. So we are back to the overwhelming question that has been the focus

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