Path to Forgiveness in other abrahamic religions

In Catholicism, the path to forgiveness involves going to confession and preforming the penitence that the priest tells you to preform.

Do the other abrahamic religions (Protestantism, Islam, Judaism, etc.) have path to reconciliation? If so, what would a Muslim or a Protestant or a Jew do if he or she wanted to repent for a past sin?

In Judaism, it depends on whether the sin is committed directly against G-d or against one’s fellow man. For the former, one atones to G-d via prayer and good deeds. For the latter, one must attempt to seek forgiveness from the person whom one has wronged. In both instances, the act of seeking forgiveness must be sincere and must be followed up by a sincere attempt at changing one’s behavior for the better, even if only in small increments.

In the latter, what if seeking forgivness from the person you harmed is impossible (such as in murder or in car crashes caused by drunk or reckless driving)?

In that case, praying to G-d for mercy can always be received.

In so far as I am aware, every religious system which has a belief in sin also has a belief in some form of reconciliation or expiation.

For Protestantism, it varies a lot, although the ideas which meltzerboy describes are shared by many Protestant churches. We Anglicans have confession, too, but the most commonly practised form is communal, rather than private.

I have encountered Evangelicals who expressed the belief that privately confessing to God is sufficient, such that apologizing to the people whom they have wronged is unnecessary (or even an affront to God), but my perception is that these are a minority.

We are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, and we become in right relationship to the Father via the Son. What that looks like is faith in Jesus; Who He is, What He has done, and the Sacrifice He became for us. When Christ said, “it is finished” He had paid every price for sin, becoming sin itself, paying all sin debt. It is our faith in Christ that taps into the grace of God. That is salvation and it includes forgiveness of sin. Sanctification involves confessing our sins directly to God, confessing our sins one to another, making restitution where we can, if we can, and yielding to the Holy Spirit as He changes us, so that with God’s help we become more and more conformed to the image of the Son.

ETA; non-denom protestant here

Although I’m sure meltzerboy was talking in more general terms, he left out one essential ingredient, which is confession - to G-d alone. It is considered brazen to confess sins between G-d and man to other people - see Psalms 32:1 “whose sins are covered.” It is praiseworthy to publicly confess the sins between man and man if accompanied by a recantation of the sin. But the main thing, as meltzerboy said, is to ask forgiveness from the person against whom one sinned.

In the Baha’i Faith, yes. Here is a passage from Baha’u’llah:

Let him who will, acknowledge the truth of My words; and as to him that willeth not, let him turn aside. My sole duty is to remind you of your failure in duty towards the Cause of God, if perchance ye may be of them that heed My warning. Wherefore, hearken ye unto My speech, and return ye to God and repent, that He, through His grace, may have mercy upon you, may wash away your sins, and forgive your trespasses. The greatness of His mercy surpasseth the fury of His wrath, and His grace encompasseth all who have been called into being and been clothed with the robe of life, be they of the past or of the future.
—Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 130

In Islam, it’s simple. You just repent to Allah and He forgives.

“…Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, [and] He will let you enjoy a good provision for a specified term and give every doer of favor His favor. But if you turn away, then indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a great Day. To Allah is your return, and He is over all things competent” (Qur’an 11:3-4)

What does “repenting” mean in Islam?

Acknowledge that you’ve sinned, express your remorse and ask Allah to forgive you. There are countless verses [in the Qur’an] about repentance; from beginning to end. I’ll give you one example; it’s where prophet Moses [peace be upon him] accidently killed someone:

And he entered the city at a time of inattention by its people and found therein two men fighting: one from his faction and one from among his enemy. And the one from his faction called for help to him against the one from his enemy, so Moses struck him and killed him. [Moses] said, ‘This is from the work of Satan. Indeed, he is a manifest, misleading enemy’ He said, ‘My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, so forgive me’ and He forgave him. Indeed, He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (surah 28:15-16)

And say that Moses killed again in like manner, and said the same over? And, when Moses’ judgment day comes, are his bad deeds weighed against the good? Can we know that Moses is in Heaven? Can we know that we can get to Heaven? How do our works figure in? How does Allah blot out the sin and pay for what Moses did? If He merely forgives with no consequence, then is God Allah just?

I really would like to hear Muslim answers, for information’s sake.

If he had killed another person and had sincerely offered repentance, he would’ve been forgiven. Moses [peace be upon him] would have had to be sincere, though. Allah azza wa jal is not an idiot-- He knows when a person is sincere and when they’re faking it; and that’s especially true when it comes to repentance. Surah 4:17-18 of the Qur’an says “The repentance accepted by Allah is only for those who do wrong in ignorance [or carelessness] and then repent soon after. It is those to whom Allah will turn in forgiveness, and Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. But repentance is not [accepted] of those who [continue to] do evil deeds up until, when death comes to one of them, he says, ‘Indeed, I have repented now,’ or of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful punishment”. The Qur’an knows nothing of the concept of a habitually unrepentant, carnal muslim.

When you said “Are his [Moses’] bad deed weighed against the good”, I don’t know exactly what you mean. It sounds like you’re quoting surah 101:6-9, which says “Then as for one whose scales are heavy [with good deeds] He will be in a pleasant life. But as for one whose scales are light, His refuge will be an abyss”. What I see here is that those who have done a lot of good deeds will go to Paradise, while those who have done few or none will go to Hell. Are you assuming that this means we can earn our way to Paradise? That is not an Islamic teaching. Nowhere in that chapter does it say that the weight of your good deeds will be compared to the weight of your sins and whichever one is heavier will decide your fate. Works alone will only lead us into the wrath of God.

From an Islamic perspective, yes, we can know that Moses [peace be upon him] is in Heaven. “O you who have believed, be not like those who abused Moses; then Allah cleared him of what they said. And he, in the sight of Allah, was distinguished” (surah 33:69).

Allah has promised the believing men and believing women gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally, and pleasant dwellings in gardens of perpetual residence; but approval from Allah is greater. It is that which is the great attainment” (surah 9:72) Prophet Muhammad also met Moses during the Night Journey, so there’s that.

Anyone can go to Heaven and most people want to go there; it’s just that few people want Allah to be there. If the people of Hell were brought out of Hell and were given the proposition that, if they would repent of their sins, worship Allah and be forgiven, I’m convinced that most of them would turn around and dive back into Hell. Anyone who wills can flee to Allah azza wa jal in a moment, but most will not do so.

Good works are acts of obedience. We’re to obey without expecting anything in return. Paradise is promised to faithful muslims countless times in the Qur’an and what it means to be a faithful muslim is to believe in what Allah has said, do acts of righteousness and exhort people to truth (as surah 103 says). At no point has someone done enough to earn Paradise; it cannot be earned. Religiosity has to be based on love toward the Creator, otherwise you’re just spinning your wheels, going nowhere.

There is no concept of blood atonement [for sin] in Islamic theology. There are punishments in the case of adultery, thievery, fornication, homosexuality and treason, respectively. There may be one for murder, but I can’t remember at this point in time. However, these punishments are not so that Allah will forgive-- they are punishments to purify society. If you punish crime, the society will benefit as a result.

But what constitutes “repentance” in Islam from your POV? In essence, what I’m curious about is what does the Arabic word for “repent” literally mean?

When you said “Are his [Moses’] bad deed weighed against the good”, I don’t know exactly what you mean. It sounds like you’re quoting surah 101:6-9, which says “Then as for one whose scales are heavy [with good deeds] He will be in a pleasant life. But as for one whose scales are light, His refuge will be an abyss”. What I see here is that those who have done a lot of good deeds will go to Paradise, while those who have done few or none will go to Hell. Are you assuming that this means we can earn our way to Paradise? That is not an Islamic teaching. Nowhere in that chapter does it say that the weight of your good deeds will be compared to the weight of your sins and whichever one is heavier will decide your fate. Works alone will only lead us into the wrath of God.

You do say that “those who have done a lot of good deeds will go to Paradise while those who have done few or none will go to Hell…” so, to me, it certainly sounds like that is the case. Is it more arbitrary, as in Allah simply picks and chooses who gets to go to Paradise and who goes to Hell?

Anyone can go to Heaven and most people want to go there; it’s just that few people want Allah to be there. If the people of Hell were brought out of Hell and were given the proposition that, if they would repent of their sins, worship Allah and be forgiven, I’m convinced that most of them would turn around and dive back into Hell. Anyone who wills can flee to Allah azza wa jal in a moment, but most will not do so.

Good works are acts of obedience. We’re to obey without expecting anything in return. Paradise is promised to faithful muslims countless times in the Qur’an and what it means to be a faithful muslim is to believe in what Allah has said, do acts of righteousness and exhort people to truth (as surah 103 says). At no point has someone done enough to earn Paradise; it cannot be earned. Religiosity has to be based on love toward the Creator, otherwise you’re just spinning your wheels, going nowhere.

There is no concept of blood atonement [for sin] in Islamic theology. There are punishments in the case of adultery, thievery, fornication, homosexuality and treason, respectively. There may be one for murder, but I can’t remember at this point in time. However, these punishments are not so that Allah will forgive-- they are punishments to purify society. If you punish crime, the society will benefit as a result.

So what does Allah do to wipe out the stain of sin? Does one’s sins simply disappear after repentance and forgiveness? What is the consequence of sin? Is Allah just if He merely forgives sin without there being divine and meaningful “effect” of sin? To look at it with an example, if a man rapes a woman, and goes before a judge and he says he repents and means it, and the judge simply lets him leave with no consequence… that’s a problem, as it is neither loving or just. If we sin against God, and there is no worthy atonement, the sin remains, or else God is not Holy and Just.

I think that you might be overlooking the role of faith. drac16 could correct me on this, but my recollection of Islam is that faith is a requirement for salvation.

Is Allah just if He merely forgives sin without there being divine and meaningful “effect” of sin? To look at it with an example, if a man rapes a woman, and goes before a judge and he says he repents and means it, and the judge simply lets him leave with no consequence… that’s a problem, as it is neither loving or just. If we sin against God, and there is no worthy atonement, the sin remains, or else God is not Holy and Just.

:confused:

What do you imagine to be a “worthy atonement” for the sexual torture of another person? What is a “worthy atonement” for murder?

In Christianity, Justice is trumped by Mercy, as God chooses not to give us what we deserve:
Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

I would be surprised if faith wasn’t a requirement for salvation, but it seems works are a definite requirement, and not only works, but one’s good works must outweigh the bad.

:confused:

What do you imagine to be a “worthy atonement” for the sexual torture of another person? What is a “worthy atonement” for murder?

The shedding of blood pointing to death. For sin comes death, and the life of the soul resides in the blood.

In Christianity, Justice is trumped by Mercy, as God chooses not to give us what we deserve:
Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

In Christianity Justice is in no wise trumped by Mercy, for God has declared for sin comes death, and there must be blood to wipe out sin. God’s justice and mercy meet at the cross in full measure of both. My sin isn’t just forgiven with no justice, but rather Jesus meeting all requirement to take all my sin onto Himself, as though He had done it, and then to pay for it with His life, and cleanse sin with the shed blood.

Under the old covenant, animals stood in, and pointed to Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. No sin ever goes unpunished, nor is it wiped out on a whim without being paid for with eternal consequence. If one doesn’t have a sacrifice for sin, one’s sin remains on them, and nothing sinful is fit to dwelt with God. Without Jesus’ sacrifice there is no true justice in forgiveness of sin. His death makes it all work.

The latter statement does not conform to Jewish teaching even in the days of the Temple, when sacrifices were meant only for unintentional sins, not intentional sins, and even in the former case, were the WEAKEST form of atonement. Moreover, the sacrifices were not limited to the blood sacrifices of animals, as Leviticus clearly states that grains could also be used. And many people did not even have access to the Temple since they were poor and lived too far away. Thus, according to Isaiah, the power of repentance initiated by prayer does indeed wipe away sins: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” As to the meaning of “repentance,” according to Jewish thought, it is “turning away” from sin, which means that being only sorry albeit sincere in thought and feeling is not enough; rather, this internal “turning away” must be followed by an attempt at changing one’s external BEHAVIOR. As is so often the case in Judaism, moving toward positive behavior is the ultimate goal, and not simply forgoing negative behavior.

Among Baha’is we have no priest or confessional system … or someone prescribing a penitence.

We are encouraged however to ask those we have offended to forgive us:

“if we spontaneously desire to acknowledge we have been wrong in something, or that we have some fault of character, and ask another person’s forgiveness or pardon, we are quite free to do so”.

  • Shoghi Effendi

We are also encouraged to pray to God to forgive us…

*“Thus have We recounted unto you the tales of the one true God, and sent down unto you the things He had preordained, that haply ye may ask forgiveness of Him, may return unto Him, may truly repent, may realize your misdeeds, may shake off your slumber, may be roused from your heedlessness, may atone for the things that have escaped you, and be of them that do good. Let him who will, acknowledge the truth of My words; and as to him that willeth not, let him turn aside.” *

~ Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 130

*“PRAISE be unto Thee, O Lord. Forgive us our sins, have mercy upon us and enable us to return unto Thee. Suffer us not to rely on aught else besides Thee, and vouchsafe unto us, through Thy bounty, that which Thou lovest and desirest and well beseemeth Thee. Exalt the station of them that have truly believed and forgive them with Thy gracious forgiveness. Verily Thou art the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.”
*
~ The Bab

When God forgives, He forgets. I don’t know what’s so hard to understand about that. We’re just talking past each other at this point.

So, rather than considering what I wrote, giving me the benefit of the doubt that I went through various passages to even understand my own scriptures, rather than that, you would rather believe the opposite of what I said, the entire passage that deals with the entire spectrum of human works and come up with your own theory. Wow. Kliska, just be real. You were never interested in what I had to say; you just wanted an excuse to distort something about Islam. I wasted hours of my time going through the Qur’an because I assumed you would have a shred of integrity to actually think through an answer I would give.

I have just about had it with you people. I do not believe I can trust christians anymore. You people on this forum are consistent in your desire to make me feel like dirt.

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