Forgiveness — Secular authority

I’m hoping there’s a well read atheist who can help me out with this inquiry.

I’m often told that religion doesn’t add anything to human life, or philosophy, or culture that isn’t self evident or provided by a secular instituition… therefore religion provides no particular unique value and can be done away with, since it’s (by implication) superfluous and dangerous.

So I had reason in my morning reading to read an advice columnist recommending a parent forgive a teenager who donated family christmas decoration heirlooms to charity… accidently, but it still hurt.  And the advice was “maybe you should forgive your kid, after all, isn’t that part of the message of the guy who’s birthday you are celebrating?”

Forgiveness, and how often, and whom to give it to, is a huge part of the Christian message.  And it’s something intensely contemplated, and advocated by other faiths too.

I believe an immersion in forgiveness is essential for our personal psychology, and our social health as a society.

But the only authority I’m aware of that offers up a reason… is religion.

So my questions:

  1. Do you believe forgiving is an important action to adopt in life? Do you believe it should be frequent, and constant? Something you should be willing to give and receive?
  2. Are you aware of any rational reason for doing so?
  3. Are you aware of any secular tracts that urge a state of constant forgiveness? How do they compare to the bible’s message on forgiveness?

And a bonus question for Christians.

  1. What’s the most challenging aspect of Christian forgiveness for you.

Sir Tainley