Dennis O’Neil: Forgiveness

Saul on the road to Damascus

So in last week’s exciting episode, I referred to “Saul on the road to Tarsus” and our friend Ed Newby asked if I meant Saul on the road to Damascus and of course I did. Why didn’t I simply correct myself in the space provided for such things proximate to Mr. Newby’s question? Well, anyone who’d ask that doesn’t realize he’s communicating with a fellow human hugely burdened with Crankus, the evil god of technology. In short, I was afraid I’d screw it up. And I didn’t feel like expending the energy/gumption necessary to unscrew it, assuming I could get it unscrewed and my advice there is, don’t bet on it.

Any(whew)way: here’s the Bible quote to which I misreferred, from the New Testament’s Acts of the Apostles: “As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

And if you’d like to use this in your own metaphor, it’s okay with me. Just be sure not to confuse Damascus with Tarsus. (Tarsus, by the way, is a historic settlement about 12.5 miles from the Mediterranean. It’s still there, and visitable.)

Since I just cited a passage from the Christian Bible, and since as I write this we’re in the middle of the week in which the Jewish holiday Passover is celebrated, maybe, to be fair and all that, I should quote something Jewish. We’ll save the Old Testament for later and instead give you something contemporary that I like, from Rabbi Rami Shapiro:

“Aren’t all religions equally true? No, all religions are equally false. The relationship of religion to truth is like that of a menu to a meal. The menu describes the meal as best it can. It points to something beyond itself. As long as we use the menu as a guide we do it honor. When we mistake the menu for the meal, we do it and ourselves a grave injustice.”

I got those words from Tricycle, a Buddhist magazine, and yes, if I were any more diverse I would plotz. I didn’t get them from a comic book, the titular subject of this weekly blather, but if you’ll forgive me I’ll forgive you.

And don’t tell me there’s nothing to forgive you for. What are you, a saint?