Easter has come and gone. Easter is the culmination of the season of Lent where Jesus' sacrifice for our sins is remembered and celebrated. It is a funny thing to ponder now: sin, forgiveness and sacrifice. This is the YOLO culture. We live in the no judgment society. Forgiveness is easily uttered. As Christianity has withered, so have these subjects. It is not exactly the faith that has devalued these things but the people that live the faith.
There is a common American news ritual now. A horrible crime is committed. Even before the perpetrator is caught, the news goes to the family of the victim for a statement. Rather than keep their mouths shut, they utter the phrase "We forgive the killer". This can floor the viewer of local news or cause others to roll their eyes at the idiot Churchianity types uttering "we forgive these murdering rapists".
One of the worst instances of this was the wife of a pastor in Indianapolis being brutally murdered and raped (while rpegnant) in front of her toddler. This article is from months after when her pastor husband discussed forgiveness. Even before the criminals were caught, the pastor was rolling out on camera talking forgiveness. It was strange to see such reflexive, "I am holy, I forgive you unknown killer of my wife and unborn child".
It was an example of how many Christians have forgotten was forgiveness means. They forgive instinctively without any consideration for the concept of remorse. It could be a status bump to forgive what many would consider unforgiveable. Read the link above and see how the pastor made it all about him not holding onto the horrible feelings of anger. In the sin and horrible act on his family, there were multiple parties, not just his feelings.
This happens even after bigger events than a single murder like terrorism. The forgiveness is easily given and reveals how cheap and devalued it is. What is the awesome power of forgiveness when its spoken as if by a robot? It is common to see and hear this in the news spoken by those wonderful evangelicals that are so devout.
As descendants of the Prots, they come from that line that destroyed the idea of ritual confession. "See kids, only God knows if you're truly remorseful. Going to some silly priest will not absolve you. Silly Papists." The Prot intention that an individual would wrestle with their act and truly grasp their sin and come to terms with God is admirable. It's also possibly only good for believers with good cognitive function. It places the focus of dealing with guilt on the individual, which can be a strong feeling and religious test.
It is also a bad idea for the masses. We have to admit that many individuals barely have agency or awareness of next week. If a church continuously pushes the God loves all despite all shortcomings, that church will be full of those Christians that 'pray' on decisions, royally screw over friends, but then wipe away the act with "God loves me". This Gods loves me no matter what also twists their conception of the afterlife, but that is for another essay.
Losing the ritual of confession also disconnects one from the community, which the priest or reverend is the connector. Confessing would give the priest inside information, and even if you told no one else, there'd be a set of eyes on you that would know. It could be a behavioral control system, and with the backing of God's wrath behind it, a powerful one for the community. It combines guilt culture with a set of eyes that can shame one because of their knowledge.
There is another side to this and part of the reason why forgiveness is devalued now. We are expected to forgive everything. Grudges or even learned prejudices are strongly discouraged. Society wide, why hold one grudge? If you hold a grudge, you might be able to see patterns and hold a grudge against a group... we would not want that unless it is a grudge approved by the progressive clerisy. Forgive mere mortal, you only live once, so why hold onto any hard feelings... everybody does it.