I know little about organized religion, but I suppose that the concepts of atoning for one’s sins and asking forgiveness can be traced back to the Bible. From a religious perspective, such acts of contrition are directed towards God, or at least a representative, who sits in judgment. I always viewed the process as self-serving and inconsistent with spiritual concepts and my observations of human behavior.
Based upon reports from near death experiencers who undergo a life review, along with channeled accounts, I believe that judgment comes from oneself. Instead of sitting before a tribunal that doles out rewards and punishments, one experiences a self-review of all the good and bad that occurred because of actions taken. In other words, acts of compassion, empathy and love manifest in good feelings, and harm or ill will towards others is felt from the perspective of the receiver. We can judge ourselves and gravitate towards others of like mind.
It seems to me is what we need is a life review process that can be activated periodically while we navigate our physical lives. Half-hearted confessions about our actions, and pleas for forgiveness, appear to be a cop out for those who want to feel better about themselves due to their taking part in things that they already know are wrong. Give me a blessing, forgive my actions, and let me walk away to resume my life with little change. I can come back again for absolution, so why not rape and pillage? The whole concept is silly in my view.
Could you imagine if we all woke up tomorrow with the superpower of having our thoughts and actions simultaneously melded with the thoughts and feelings of others? Give the love, feel the love. Cause the pain and distress, feel the pain and distress. Perhaps that is what the afterlife is like. Some might argue that our physical world was not designed that way, as we grow from life’s experiences and how we react to obstacles. That may be true, but I can’t think of a better way to learn and grow than walking in the shoes of our brethren.