Love and forgiveness: experts and organizations

The media learned a challenging lesson in 2006 after a gunman murdered five girls at an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pa. The biggest headline-grabber was the Amish community’s immediate forgiveness of the dead gunman and his family. An awestruck public wanted to know:  How can the unforgivable be forgiven?

Journalists discovered the public’s robust appetite for stories of unselfish love and forgiveness, but evidence of that appetite is – and has always been – everywhere. The difference now is that there is an increasing amount of research and advocacy supporting love and forgiveness’ healing role in society – a need that some say has never been greater. This research has moved from infancy to adolescence, and it now documents:

  • the mental and physical health benefits of forgiveness and benevolent, altruistic love;
  • their success in healing family, work, political and social relationships;
  • their role in conflict resolution and reconciliation, even in the toughest circumstances;
  • their application for criminal justice and political conflict;
  • the concrete steps people must take to move from anger and revenge to love and forgiveness;
  • their central role in all major religions.

This ReligionLink guide connects journalists with more than 100 experts in the fields of science, medicine, politics, religion, criminal justice and more who can explain how and why forgiveness and benevolent love are central to so many news stories – and why the lack of them is the root of much of the violence and conflict that so often dominate the news. 

Getting the story

Dramas involving forgiveness and love happen every day. You don’t need to shift focus to report about them; instead, look for ways they are factors in everyday stories and use them to produce deeper, more sophisticated narratives. Here are some tips:

  • Forgiveness is an internal process by a person who was wronged. It is different and separate from reconciliation, which requires two parties to come together with mutual respect, and justice, which often involves punishment, compensation or the determination of rights. Individuals can forgive without obtaining justice, reconciling or condoning the wrong done to them.
  • Public apologies are common, whether they are by politicians, sports figures, criminals or institutions whose leaders become aware that they have done wrong in the past. Explore what inspired an apology and what effect it might have. Is it an example of “spinning sorrow” – as Gregory Jones, dean of Duke Divinity School, calls apologies meant to repair someone’s public image – or is it a sincere change of heart or admission of wrongdoing? Do apologetic actions follow the words?
  • A new frontier of research is exploring what happens when something sacred is violated, such as marriage vows or religious trust – violations that sometimes result in divorces, lawsuits or crimes.

Much attention is given to post-traumatic stress, but researchers are also studying post-traumatic growth – the positive ways people grow when they are able to move beyond horrific experiences.

  • Researchers can document that forgiving is healthy and can reduce stress, improve heart health and help people cope with disease. The next time you profile someone facing a challenge, explore how that person’s ability to forgive and to give to others affects him or her.
  • The spiritual side of forgiveness and altruism can differ from their secular benefits. Christians are to offer forgiveness as a gift modeled after God’s forgiveness of sins, regardless of any health benefits. How do people’s religion affect their ability to forgive and give to others?

Love & forgiveness in world religions

Love and forgiveness are part of all world religions, though there are nuances in the teachings about them:

Christianity

For Christians, love is a central action and duty. In the Gospels, Jesus commands his followers to love God and their neighbors, calling this the essence of moral law and a requirement to gain eternal life. Jesus also says, “Love your enemies.” (Matthew 5:44)

Forgiveness is also a central teaching in Christianity. It’s mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus teaches to his followers. In that prayer, forgiveness is to be sought as well as given. The person who forgives a wrongdoer should also ask God for forgiveness for transgressions, making God ultimately the judge and forgiver. An offender must also sincerely commit to change.

Judaism

Love and kindness are fundamental duties toward one’s neighbor. Doing loving deeds and helping one’s neighbor is a major requirement (mitzvah) in the Jewish tradition, as is rendering justice and kindness to the stranger.

If wrongs (hurt or harm) are committed, the wrongdoer is required to apologize to the person or group harmed and to ask for forgiveness. It is more important for the offender to ask the offended for forgiveness than to ask God to forgive. The annual observance of Yom Kippur reminds Jews about the importance of apology and forgiveness. Between the holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, Jews are expected to apologize to any person or group they have offended. During Yom Kippur, they also ask God for forgiveness, and tradition holds that God will only forgive the offender once their neighbor has forgiven them. Apology has to be genuine for forgiveness to lead to genuine reconciliation.

Islam

A number of Allah’s (God’s) 99 attributes, or names, express superlative qualities of forgiveness and love: most merciful, most loving, most forgiving. As part of their prayers, Muslims frequently ask Allah for forgiveness. Islam distinguishes between offenses against Allah and offenses against another person. In both cases, the offender must acknowledge the offense and ask pardon. If the offense involves a person, restitution is required in order to replace a bad deed with a good one. The offender must also vow to Allah, the offended party and himself or herself not to offend again. Once a person asks Allah for forgiveness and corrects his or her behavior, that person knows that Allah has forgiven the offense.

Allah is also the ultimate source of all love, and divine love manifests itself in many ways, including mercy, wise guidance and such earthly blessings as good health and family. The Sufi sect of Islam stresses seeking the direct experience of this divine love.

Hinduism

In Hinduism, all actions have consequences (karma). Bad karma follows from harmful actions. Forgiveness (kshama) by itself is less important than steadfast aspiration to ethical conduct, which acts to purify the mind of egotism and thus helps to free the believer from reincarnation. Forgiveness is only one of the ethical virtues a Hindu is expected to practice.

Love is a central element in Hinduism, which adherents often refer to as a way of life rather than a religion. One school of Hindu practice emphasizes a relationship of intense love (devotion, or bhakti) between a deity and worshippers. Hindus understand life as a series of stages of spiritual development, and the stage of householding includes sexual love (kama). Hindu classical literature includes stories and legends of deities and figures in love. Love in the sense of compassion (daya) for suffering beings is also a central element of Hinduism, and social service is seen by some Hindus as a form of worship.

Buddhism

Practices and ideas that express love are woven throughout Buddhism. Compassion (karuna) is an important Buddhist quality, and Buddhists seek to cultivate compassion as a response to suffering. The Mahayana school of Buddhism emphasizes compassion, and Mahayanists postpone nirvana, a transcendent state of freedom, in order to compassionately help other beings. Lovingkindness (metta in Pali, maitri in Sanskrit), another very important Buddhist quality, is a disinterested wish for, or action to achieve, well-being and happiness for another or for oneself. The virtuous practice of giving (dana) is also important. The intention behind giving makes a difference. Giving without seeking anything is superior to giving with some expectation of benefit.

Buddhism does not have a supreme being, so forgiveness for harm does not involve the divine. Forgiveness, a form of compassion, represents recognition of interconnectedness between wrongdoer and the one wronged. Harming someone, which can be termed “unskillful action,” generates consequences. These must be mitigated somehow so that the person who has harmed another can be freed from the cycle of rebirth.

Ten top experts

  • Robert D. Enright

    Robert D. Enright is a pioneer in forgiveness research. He is an educational psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin and a board member of the International Forgiveness Institute, which was set up to disseminate the results of his research on forgiveness. His books include Forgiveness Is a Choice: A Step-By-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope.

  • Donald B. Kraybill

    Sociologist Donald B. Kraybill is a Distinguished College Professor and senior research fellow at the Young Center for Anabaptists and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa. His books include, as co-author, Amish Enterprise: From Plows to Profits (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).

    His books also include Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy, which explores the Amish response to the 2006 murders at Nickel Mines; (as co-editor) Building Communities of Compassion: Mennonite Mutual Aid in Theory and Practice; and (as co-author) Mennonite Peacemaking: From Quietism to Activism.

  • Frederic Luskin

    Frederic Luskin is a senior consultant in health promotion at Stanford University, where he teaches classes on spirituality and health and positive psychology. He serves as director of the Stanford Forgiveness Projects and was co-director of the Stanford-Northern Ireland HOPE Projects, which explored the effectiveness of his forgiveness methods on victims of political violence. He gives lectures and workshops on the importance, health benefits and training of forgiveness across the country. He is the author of Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness, co-author of Stress Free for Good: 10 Scientifically Proven Life Skills for Health and Happiness and author of an upcoming guide for forgiveness for couples, Forgive for Love: The Missing Ingredient for a Healthy and Lasting Relationship.

  • Seyyed Hossein Nasr

    Seyyed Hossein Nasr is a world-renowned scholar on Islam who teaches Islamic studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. His writings include Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis in Modern Man and The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity. Much of his work focuses on Islamic spiritual values, but he has also written about the religious and spiritual dimensions of the environmental crisis.

  • Samuel Oliner

    Samuel Oliner is emeritus professor of sociology and director of the Altruistic Personality and Prosocial Behavior Institute at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif. Oliner co-founded the institute in 1982 to study altruism and seek ways to enhance altruism and prosocial behavior in society. A native of Poland, Oliner was rescued by a non-Jewish family at age 12 and has made a lifelong study of altruism. The Altruistic Personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe (Free Press) was published in 1988. Do Unto Others: Extraordinary Acts of Ordinary People (Westview Press, 2004) explores what gives an individual a sense of responsibility, what leads to the development of care and compassion, and what it means to put the welfare of others ahead of one’s own.

  • Rodney L. Petersen

    Rodney L. Petersen is executive director of the Boston Theological Institute, which offers a certificate program in religion and conflict transformation that includes forgiveness training. He is the co-editor of Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Religion, Public Policy and Conflict Transformation and teaches classes in conflict resolution and reconciliation in religious and international arenas.

  • Janet Ramsey

    Janet Ramsey is associate professor of congregational care leadership at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. She teaches a cross-disciplined course on forgiveness and healing at Luther, speaks frequently on the topic at churches and conferences, and is the author of several articles and two Sunday school series on forgiveness. She is co-authoring, with systematic theologian Lois Malcolm, the forthcoming book Discerning Forgiveness: Deep Theology, Wise Practice. A licensed marriage and family therapist, Ramsey has particular interests in ways that object relations theory and the humanities can help us explore the complexities of forgiveness.

  • Ervin Staub

    Ervin Staub is professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and founding director emeritus of its doctoral program on the psychology of peace and the prevention of violence. He has written several books about evil, including The Psychology of Good and Evil: Why Children, Adults and Groups Help and Harm Others and Overcoming Evil: Genocide, Violent Conflict and Terrorism (2010).

    A Holocaust survivor, he studies helping behavior and altruism and the roots and prevention of violence between groups, especially after mass killings, genocide and terrorism. He also promotes reconciliation in real-world settings. He has worked with police on reducing the use of unnecessary force after the Rodney King incident, on healing and reconciliation in New Orleans after Katrina, and on healing, reconciliation and the prevention of new violence in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Congo. He is the author of The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence, Understanding Origins, Prevention and Reconciliation: Genocide, Mass Killing, Intractable Conflict and Terrorism; and A Brighter Future: Inclusive Caring, Moral Courage and Altruism Born of Suffering.

  • Everett L. Worthington Jr.

    Everett L. Worthington Jr. is a psychology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. He was the founding executive director of A Campaign for Forgiveness Research for its first seven years, and he is one of the country’s foremost experts on empirical research about forgiveness.  Among his forthcoming books is Just Forgiving, about the relationship between personal forgiveness and social justice.

Organizations

Centers that research and promote love and/or forgiveness

  • Altruistic Personality and Prosocial Behavior Institute

    The Altruistic Personality and Prosocial Behavior Institute at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., studies and promotes altruistic and heroic behavior. Samuel P. Oliner, a Holocaust survivor, and his wife, Pearl, are co-founders.

  • Institute for Research on Unlimited Love

    The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love does research on benevolent love and encourages dialogue in international and spiritual communities as well as among the wider public with the goal of “global human enhancement.” Stephen G. Post is president.

  • International Forgiveness Institute

    The International Forgiveness Institute promotes the psychology and education of forgiveness with the goal of “restoring healthy emotions, rebuilding relationships, and establishing more peaceful communities.” It was formed in 1994 as a way to share the research findings of Robert Enright, an educational psychology professor at the University Wisconsin. It is based in Madison.

  • Institute for Radical Forgiveness

    The Institute for Radical Forgiveness was founded by Colin Tipping to “raise the consciousness of the planet to create a world of forgiveness by 2012.” It’s based in Marietta, Ga. Email through the website.

    Contact: 972-202-9926.
  • Shamatha Project

    The Shamatha Project is a research project that is attempting to measure the human potential for happiness by studying the long-term benefits of meditative practice. It is a collaboration between neuroscientists and psychologists at the University of California and B. Alan Wallace, a Tibetan Buddhist monk who is founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies. Ryan Stagg is the media contact.

  • Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance

    The Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance, based in Mill Valley, Calif., promotes the healing power of forgiveness worldwide. It established International Forgiveness Day, which is celebrated the first Sunday of August. The executive director is Jacinta Martin.

  • Greater Good Science Center

    The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, does research on the social and biological roots of positive emotions, with the goal of expanding the social well-being of individuals, relationships and communities. Its faculty includes professors of psychology, business and social welfare.

    Contact: 510-642-2490.
  • Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education

    The Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education in Vancouver, Canada, supports “education of the heart” and teachings on kindness, compassion and interconnectedness through research, education and dialogue.

  • The Religious Society of Friends

    A comprehensive portal to information about Quakers.

  • Josh McDowell Ministry

    Josh McDowell Ministry, located in Dallas, Tx., is an organization dedicated to spreading the word of Christ to students, parents, leaders and churches everywhere through educational resources. Their website offers a list of research organizations.

Reconciliation centers

National sources on forgiveness

Abuse/ trauma

  • Marie M. Fortune

    The Rev. Marie M. Fortune is founder and senior analyst at the Faith Trust Institute in Seattle, which works to end sexual and domestic violence, particularly in faith communities. She co-edited Forgiveness and Abuse: Jewish and Christian Reflections and is a United Church of Christ minister.

  • Ming T. Tsuang

    Dr. Ming T. Tsuang is a leading researcher in human genetics, behavior and neuropsychiatric diseases. He holds many titles: Behavioral Genomics Endowed Chair and University Professor at the University of California; Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and director, Center for Behavioral Genomics, department of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego; and director of the Harvard Institute of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Genetics. He has studied the role of forgiveness and spirituality in the process of coping with combat trauma.

Criminal justice/ law

  • Nasser Hussain

    Nasser Hussain is assistant professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought at Amherst College in Amherst, Mass. He co-edited Forgiveness, Mercy and Clemency (2007) and teaches the courses Law, God and Modernity and When Law Fails.

  • Lisa Barnes Lampman

    Lisa Barnes Lampman is senior consultant at Dare Mighty Things and editor of God and the Victim: Theological Reflections on Evil, Victimization, Justice and Forgiveness. She formerly worked as vice president of Prison Fellowship Ministries.

  • Jeffrie G. Murphy

    Jeffrie G. Murphy is professor of law, philosophy and religious studies at Arizona State University in Tempe. He is the author of Getting Even: Forgiveness and Its Limits and co-editor of Before Forgiving: Cautionary Views of Forgiveness in Psychotherapy.

  • Buddhist Association of the United States

    The Buddhist Association of the United States operates the Chuang Yen Monastery, an education center in Carmel, N.Y., dedicated to explaining the different schools of Buddhism and the common beliefs uniting them.

    This organization has a faith-based program for prisoners to help them come to peace with their lives and situations, free from anger and hate.

Families

  • Robert Coles

    Robert Coles is a professor of psychiatry and medical humanities at Harvard University and chairman of the Forgiveness Research Center. A winner of the Medal of Freedom, Coles is the author of The Spiritual Life of Children and The Moral Life of Children.

  • Frederick A. DiBlasio

    Frederick A. DiBlasio is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work whose research and practice focuses on the clinical use of forgiveness, particularly within families and marriages. His model on decision-based forgiveness has been proved to be an effective treatment for helping people forgive.

  • Frank Fincham

    Frank Fincham is Eminent Scholar and director of the Family Institute at Florida State University . One of his primary research interests is forgiveness within families, and he has done research and published articles on forgiveness between spouses and between parents and children.

  • Ken Sande

    Ken Sande, an attorney and engineer, is founder of Peacemaker Ministries, a nonprofit based in Billings , Mont. , that helps Christians and their churches resolve conflicts using biblical principles. He is also president of Relational Wisdom 360. He is the author of The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict and co-author of Peacemaking for Families: A Biblical Guide to Managing Conflict in Your Home.

  • Sue Savage-Rumbaugh

    Sue Savage-Rumbaugh is executive director and head scientist at Great Ape Trust of Iowa who has studied how youngsters learn forgiveness from caregivers.

    Contact: 515-243-3580.
  • Family Life

    Family Life is a division of Campus Crusade for Christ that works to help the positive growth and development of relationships in families and marriages through counseling and faith.

    Contact: 800-358-6329.

Health/ medicine

  • Nancy Berlinger

    Nancy Berlinger is deputy director and research scholar at the Hastings Center in Garrison, N.Y., and director of its Guidelines on End of Life Care project. She is the author of After Harm: Medical Error and the Ethics of Forgiveness.

  • Brian Childs

    Brian Childs is director of clinical ethics and spiritual care for Shore Health System in the University of Maryland Medical System. He has researched how forgiveness training impacts the mental and physical health of AIDS patients. His dissertation at Princeton Theological Seminary explored forgiveness among preschool children.

    Contact: 410-822-1000.
  • Frederic Luskin

    Frederic Luskin is a senior consultant in health promotion at Stanford University, where he teaches classes on spirituality and health and positive psychology. He serves as director of the Stanford Forgiveness Projects and was co-director of the Stanford-Northern Ireland HOPE Projects, which explored the effectiveness of his forgiveness methods on victims of political violence. He gives lectures and workshops on the importance, health benefits and training of forgiveness across the country. He is the author of Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness, co-author of Stress Free for Good: 10 Scientifically Proven Life Skills for Health and Happiness and author of an upcoming guide for forgiveness for couples, Forgive for Love: The Missing Ingredient for a Healthy and Lasting Relationship.

International affairs

  • Raymond G. Helmick

    The Rev. Raymond G. Helmick is an adjunct faculty member in the theology department of Boston College and co-editor of Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Religion, Public Policy and Conflict Transformation. He specializes in studying and mediating international conflicts, including those in the Middle East and Northern Ireland.

  • John Paul Lederach

    John Paul Lederach is professor of international peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. He is known for his international work in conflict transformation, which includes work in Colombia, the Philippines, Nepal and Tajikistan, and in East and West Africa. His books include The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace.

  • Martha L. Minow

    Martha L. Minow is professor of law at Harvard Law School in Massachusetts. She has expertise in human rights and transitional societies, and religion. She is co-editor of Imagine Coexistence: Restoring Humanity After Violent Ethnic Conflict and author of Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence.

  • Rodney L. Petersen

    Rodney L. Petersen is executive director of the Boston Theological Institute, which offers a certificate program in religion and conflict transformation that includes forgiveness training. He is the co-editor of Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Religion, Public Policy and Conflict Transformation and teaches classes in conflict resolution and reconciliation in religious and international arenas.

  • Ervin Staub

    Ervin Staub is professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and founding director emeritus of its doctoral program on the psychology of peace and the prevention of violence. He has written several books about evil, including The Psychology of Good and Evil: Why Children, Adults and Groups Help and Harm Others and Overcoming Evil: Genocide, Violent Conflict and Terrorism (2010).

    A Holocaust survivor, he studies helping behavior and altruism and the roots and prevention of violence between groups, especially after mass killings, genocide and terrorism. He also promotes reconciliation in real-world settings. He has worked with police on reducing the use of unnecessary force after the Rodney King incident, on healing and reconciliation in New Orleans after Katrina, and on healing, reconciliation and the prevention of new violence in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Congo. He is the author of The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence, Understanding Origins, Prevention and Reconciliation: Genocide, Mass Killing, Intractable Conflict and Terrorism; and A Brighter Future: Inclusive Caring, Moral Courage and Altruism Born of Suffering.

Politics

  • Raymond G. Helmick

    The Rev. Raymond G. Helmick is an adjunct faculty member in the theology department of Boston College and co-editor of Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Religion, Public Policy and Conflict Transformation. He specializes in studying and mediating international conflicts, including those in the Middle East and Northern Ireland.

  • Rodney L. Petersen

    Rodney L. Petersen is executive director of the Boston Theological Institute, which offers a certificate program in religion and conflict transformation that includes forgiveness training. He is the co-editor of Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Religion, Public Policy and Conflict Transformation and teaches classes in conflict resolution and reconciliation in religious and international arenas.

Psychology

  • Radhi H. Al-Mabuk

    Radhi H. Al-Mabuk is associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Northern Iowa whose research focuses on the psychology of revenge – its causes, consequences and ways to deal with it. He has written a book on that topic as well as several articles on forgiveness.

  • Eileen Borris

    Eileen Borris is a licensed clinical psychologist who promotes forgiveness in the healing of emotional wounds on personal and political levels. She is the author of Finding Forgiveness: A 7-Step Program for Letting Go of Anger and Bitterness and Forgiveness: The Ultimate Freedom. She is also the director of training and program development for the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy in Arlington, Va., where she works in international conflict resolution. This work has taken her to the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia, India and the Tibetan government in exile. She is the former president of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence of the American Psychological Association. She lives in Paradise Valley, Ariz.

  • Thomas Bradbury

    Thomas Bradbury is a psychology professor at the University of California at Los Angeles who studies causes of satisfaction in marriage and educational programs for couples, including forgiveness.

  • Susanne Denham

    Susanne Denham is a psychology professor at George Mason University near Washington, D.C., who has studied how the ability to forgive develops in the first decade of life.

  • Frans B.M. deWaal

    Frans B.M. deWaal is the C.H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior at Emory University, and he directs the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta. His renowned research with primates has looked at the evolution of human emotions and morals, and he has studied whether apes can feel sympathy. He has studied how nonhuman primates reconcile after fights. He says it is easy to spot gratitude among apes.

  • Robert D. Enright

    Robert D. Enright is a pioneer in forgiveness research. He is an educational psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin and a board member of the International Forgiveness Institute, which was set up to disseminate the results of his research on forgiveness. His books include Forgiveness Is a Choice: A Step-By-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope.

  • Peter C. Hill

    Peter C. Hill is a psychology professor at the Rosemead School of Psychology at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif. He contributed to the 2005 edition of The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism. He specializes in the psychology of religion and has done research on individuals’ right to choose whether to forgive, restorative justice and the role of apology.

  • Dacher Keltner

    Dacher Keltner is a psychology professor at the University of California , Berkeley; co-director of the Greater Good Science Center; and director of the Berkeley Social Interaction Laboratory. His research focuses on “prosocial” emotions, such as love, sympathy and gratitude.

  • Michael E. McCullough

    Michael E. McCullough is professor of psychology and religious studies at the University of Miami in Coral Cables, Fl. He directs the Laboratory for Social Clinical Psychology, where the consequences of forgiveness and related moral emotions and their effects on health and well-being are being studied. He is co-editor of Forgiveness: Theory, Research and Practice and author of the forthcoming Beyond Revenge: The Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct.

  • Kenneth Pargament

    Kenneth Pargament is a professor emeritus of psychology at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. His research addressed religious beliefs in various traditions and health. He also researched how the elderly who struggle with their religious beliefs and hold negative perceptions about their relationships with God and life meaning have an increased risk of death, even after controlling for physical and mental health and demographic characteristics. Among other research, he has studied religious coping and the mental health of Hindus in the U.S., spirituality and coping with trauma, spirituality in children with cystic fibrosis, and religion as a source of stress, coping and identity among Jewish adolescents. He can also speak about the relationship between atheism and mental health.

  • Laurie Anne Pearlman

    Laurie Anne Pearlman co-founded the Traumatic Stress Institute and the Trauma Research, Education and Training Institute, where she still serves as president. She also directs the Clinical Associates Program of the Headington Institute, which offers psychological and spiritual support to relief and development workers around the world. She serves on the practice committee of the American Psychological Association’s trauma division and the complex trauma task force of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. She did research with Professor Ervin Staub on forgiveness in Rwanda and currently works on a public education project in East Africa that includes psychological trauma recovery and reconciliation.

  • Ervin Staub

    Ervin Staub is professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and founding director emeritus of its doctoral program on the psychology of peace and the prevention of violence. He has written several books about evil, including The Psychology of Good and Evil: Why Children, Adults and Groups Help and Harm Others and Overcoming Evil: Genocide, Violent Conflict and Terrorism (2010).

    A Holocaust survivor, he studies helping behavior and altruism and the roots and prevention of violence between groups, especially after mass killings, genocide and terrorism. He also promotes reconciliation in real-world settings. He has worked with police on reducing the use of unnecessary force after the Rodney King incident, on healing and reconciliation in New Orleans after Katrina, and on healing, reconciliation and the prevention of new violence in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Congo. He is the author of The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence, Understanding Origins, Prevention and Reconciliation: Genocide, Mass Killing, Intractable Conflict and Terrorism; and A Brighter Future: Inclusive Caring, Moral Courage and Altruism Born of Suffering.

  • June Tangney

    June Tangney is a psychology professor at George Mason University near Washington, D.C., who has studied how individual traits and situations contribute to forgiveness.

     

  • Carl Thoresen

    Carl Thoresen is a professor emeritus of education, psychology and psychiatry/behavioral sciences at Stanford University and senior fellow at the Spirituality and Health Institute at Santa Clara University. His most recent book is, as co-editor, Spirit, Science and Health: How the Spiritual Mind Fuels Physical Wellness.

  • Everett L. Worthington Jr.

    Everett L. Worthington Jr. is a psychology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. He was the founding executive director of A Campaign for Forgiveness Research for its first seven years, and he is one of the country’s foremost experts on empirical research about forgiveness.  Among his forthcoming books is Just Forgiving, about the relationship between personal forgiveness and social justice.

  • Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet

    Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet is an associate professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, Mich. Forgiveness and health constitute one of her primary areas of interest, and she is researching how the emotion of forgiveness relates to health.

Race

  • Roy L. Brooks

    Roy L. Brooks is the Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego in California and the author of Atonement and Forgiveness: A New Model for Black Reparations.

  • Ruby Bridges Hall

    Ruby Bridges Hall founded the Ruby Bridges Foundation in 1999 out of her experience in 1960 as the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school. The foundation, based in New Orleans, promotes tolerance, respect and acceptance of differences. She is also co-chair of A Campaign for Forgiveness Research.

    Contact: 1-800-798-7829.
  • Kent Nerburn

    Kent Nerburn is an author, sculptor and educator with degrees in theology and art who focuses on Native American issues. He is the author of Calm Surrender: Walking the Path of Forgiveness. He lives in Minnesota.

    Contact: 218-243-3292.
  • Jeffrey Sonis

    Jeffrey Sonis is assistant professor of social medicine and family medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He researches the psychosocial consequences of human rights violations. He has also studied the potential for mechanisms that facilitate justice, such as truth commissions and tribunals, for improving racial and ethnic tension, including in South Africa; Greensboro, N.C.; and Cambodia.

Religion

Christianity

  • Avis Clendenen

    Avis Clendenen is a professor of religious studies at St. Xavier University in Chicago and co-author of Forgiveness: Finding Freedom Through Reconciliation, which explores forgiveness through Christian teaching.

  • Jim Forest

    Jim Forest is editor of In Communion, the quarterly journal of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship, of which he is co-secretary. He is author of Confession: Doorway to Forgiveness. He lives in Alkmaar, Holland.

  • Richard L. Gorsuch

    Richard L. Gorsuch is a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. He wrote the article “The Development of a Scale to Measure Forgiveness” in the 2001 Journal of Psychology & Christianity. He has also done research on religion and prejudice, religion and substance abuse, and miracles.

  • L. Gregory Jones

    The Rev. L. Gregory Jones is professor of theology and dean of Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C. Among his books is Embodying Forgiveness: A Theological Analysis. An ordained United Methodist pastor, he is often quoted on the subjects of forgiveness and apology.

  • John-Roger

    John-Roger is an author, teacher and minister who wrote the book Forgiveness: The Key to the Kingdom.

  • Donald B. Kraybill

    Sociologist Donald B. Kraybill is a Distinguished College Professor and senior research fellow at the Young Center for Anabaptists and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa. His books include, as co-author, Amish Enterprise: From Plows to Profits (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).

    His books also include Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy, which explores the Amish response to the 2006 murders at Nickel Mines; (as co-editor) Building Communities of Compassion: Mennonite Mutual Aid in Theory and Practice; and (as co-author) Mennonite Peacemaking: From Quietism to Activism.

  • Lois E. Malcolm

    Lois E. Malcolm is associate professor of systematic theology at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. She is co-author of the forthcoming book Teaching Healing and Forgiveness: A Multi-Dimensional Approach.

  • Troy W. Martin

    Troy W. Martin is a professor of religious studies at St. Xavier University in Chicago and co-author of Forgiveness: Finding Freedom Through Reconciliation, which explores forgiveness through Christian teaching.

  • Joretta L. Marshall

    The Rev. Joretta L. Marshall is executive vice president and dean of Texas Christian University’s Brite Divinity School, where she is also professor of pastoral theology and pastoral care and counseling. She wrote “Covenants and Partnerships: Pastoral Counseling with Women in Lesbian Relationships” for the Journal of Pastoral Theology.

    She is the co-editor of Forgiveness and Abuse: Jewish and Christian Reflections and the author of the study guide How Can I Forgive?

  • Joan Mueller

    Sister Joan Mueller is is professor of theology and Christian spirituality at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and the founder of the Franciscan Sisters of Joy. She is the author of numerous books and articles on Franciscanism and the related topics of forgiveness, reconciliation and discernment, including the book Is Forgiveness Possible?

  • Janet Ramsey

    Janet Ramsey is associate professor of congregational care leadership at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. She teaches a cross-disciplined course on forgiveness and healing at Luther, speaks frequently on the topic at churches and conferences, and is the author of several articles and two Sunday school series on forgiveness. She is co-authoring, with systematic theologian Lois Malcolm, the forthcoming book Discerning Forgiveness: Deep Theology, Wise Practice. A licensed marriage and family therapist, Ramsey has particular interests in ways that object relations theory and the humanities can help us explore the complexities of forgiveness.

  • Miroslav Volf

    Theologian Miroslav Volf, director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Yale Divinity School, is a favorite scholar of emerging church leaders. He wrote Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace (Zondervan, 2006) and many other books.

Judaism

  • David Blumenthal

    David Blumenthal is a professor of Judaic studies at the Tam Institute of Jewish Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. He is the author of two seminal books on Jewish mysticism, God at the Center: Meditations on Jewish Spirituality and Understanding Jewish Mysticism. Additionally, he is the author of The Banality of Good and Evil: Moral Lessons from the Shoah and Jewish Tradition. He notes that both perpetrators and rescuers often say they were just doing what was expected of them.

    He wrote the article “Repentance and Forgiveness” for CrossCurrents to explain the Jewish view of forgiveness to Catholics and other Christians. He is also the author of Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest and The Banality of Good and Evil: Moral Lessons From the Shoah & Jewish Tradition.

  • Elliot Dorff

    Rabbi Elliot Dorff is a professor of philosophy and university rector at American Jewish University in Bel-Air, Calif. He is an expert in Jewish family issues, including adoption. He has studied the Jewish perspective on assisted death, transhumanism and ethics in general.

    He is the author of To Do the Right and the Good: A Jewish Approach to Modern Social Ethic and Love Your Neighbor and Yourself: A Jewish Approach to Modern Personal Ethics.

  • David Patterson

    David Patterson is a professor of Holocaust studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is an expert on the Holocaust and serves as an adviser to two U.S. Holocaust museums. His book Hebrew Language and Jewish Thought looks at the role of gratitude in Jewish thought.

Islam

  • Muzammil Siddiqi

    Muzammil H. Siddiqi, chairman of the Executive Council of the Shura Council of Southern California and director of the Islamic Center of Orange County, has written about the need for forgiveness from an Islamic perspective and led Muslim-Catholic dialogues.

    Contact: 714-531-1722, 714-239-6473.
  • Institute of Islamic Information & Education

    The Institute of Islamic Information & Education in Chicago works to overcome Americans’ prejudices about Islam and Muslims through education. The institute includes an article about the concept of forgiveness in Islam.

Buddhism

Other

  • Kim Cameron

    Kim Cameron is professor of management and organizations at the University of Michigan ‘s Ross School of Business. He has researched whether corporations can more successfully weather downsizing if they ask forgiveness from their employees. He has also studied how other virtues, such as humility and compassion, affect the success of organizations.

  • Ellis Cose

    Ellis Cose, a former contributing editor to Newsweek, is author of Bone to Pick: Of Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Reparation and Revenge and End of Anger (2011).

  • Louise Desalvo

    Louise Desalvo is the Jenny Hunter Endowed Scholar for Creative Writing and Literature at Hunter College at the City University of New York. She is the author of the memoirs Crazy in the Kitchen: Food, Feuds and Forgiveness in an Italian American Family and the book Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives, a resource for writers recovering from trauma, illness, or terrorist acts.

  • Trudy Govier

    Trudy Govier is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Lethbridge in Lethbridge , Alberta , Canada , where, in addition to other duties, she continues to research trust, forgiveness, reconciliation, argumentation and conflict resolution. Her books include Taking Wrongs Seriously: Acknowledgment, Reconciliation and the Politics of Sustainable Peace; A Practical Study of Argument; and Forgiveness and Revenge.

  • Charles Griswold

    Charles Griswold is a philosophy professor at Boston University whose most recent book is Forgiveness: A Philosophical Exploration (2007), which examines the nature of forgiveness and sympathy and their political dimensions.

  • Douglas L. Kelley

    Douglas L. Kelley is associate professor of communication studies at Arizona State University , where he studies communication patterns in families and personal relationships. His recent published work has appeared in the Journal of Family Communication, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and Communication Quarterly.With Vince Waldron, he is author of the scholarly text Communicating Forgiveness and the forthcoming general audience book, Marriage Is For-Giving.

  • Steven J. Sandage

    Steven J. Sandage is associate professor of marriage and family studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn. A psychologist, he is co-author of The Faces of Forgiveness: Searching for Wholeness and Salvation and To Forgive Is Human: How to Put Your Past in the Past.

  • Vince Waldron

    Vince Waldron is professor of communication studies at Arizona State University . With his colleague Douglas Kelley, he is author of the scholarly text Communicating Forgiveness and the forthcoming general audience book Marriage Is For-Giving.

  • Julia A. Upton

    Julia A. Upton is professor and provost at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. She is author of A Time for Embracing:  Reclaiming Reconciliation.

National sources on love and altruism

Psychology/ psychiatry/ social science

  • Dan Batson

    Dan Batson is a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He has studied empathy as a possible source of altruistic motivation and the psychological implications of the egoism-altruism relationship. He has also researched other sources of positive social motivation, such as collectivism and principalism. He wrote The Altruism Question: Toward a Social-Psychological Answer (Erlbaum, 1991) and “Addressing the Altruism Question Experimentally” in Altruism and Altruistic Love (Oxford University Press, 2002).

  • Gregory Fricchione

    Dr. Gregory Fricchione is an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Mass. He is director of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine and an expert on stress and depression. Among his publications are “Illness and the Origin of Caring” in the March 1993 issue of the Journal of Medical Humanities.

  • Jerome Kagan

    Jerome Kagan is the Daniel and Amy Starch Research Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. His research on human temperament has been influential. He spoke about the human moral sense at a 1999 conference on empathy and altruism.

  • Samuel Oliner

    Samuel Oliner is emeritus professor of sociology and director of the Altruistic Personality and Prosocial Behavior Institute at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif. Oliner co-founded the institute in 1982 to study altruism and seek ways to enhance altruism and prosocial behavior in society. A native of Poland, Oliner was rescued by a non-Jewish family at age 12 and has made a lifelong study of altruism. The Altruistic Personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe (Free Press) was published in 1988. Do Unto Others: Extraordinary Acts of Ordinary People (Westview Press, 2004) explores what gives an individual a sense of responsibility, what leads to the development of care and compassion, and what it means to put the welfare of others ahead of one’s own.

  • Paul Wink

    Paul Wink is a professor of psychology at Wellesley College in Wellesley , Mass. He researches adult development and aging and has studied the effects of religion and spirituality on life development and choices, including religious commitment and altruistic behavior.

Brain research

  • Antonio R. Damasio

    Antonio R. Damasio, University of Iowa neurology professor, studies fundamental mechanisms of cognition. He is the author of The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness (Harcourt, 2000).

  • Vilayanur S. Ramachandran

    Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego, is a pioneer in experimental neurology who found that patients who suffer seizures from temporal lobe epilepsy display an unusual obsession with religious matters. Among his research interests is the neural basis of empathy.

Evolution/ biology

  • Frans B.M. deWaal

    Frans B.M. deWaal is the C.H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior at Emory University, and he directs the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta. His renowned research with primates has looked at the evolution of human emotions and morals, and he has studied whether apes can feel sympathy. He has studied how nonhuman primates reconcile after fights. He says it is easy to spot gratitude among apes.

  • Jeffrey Schloss

    Jeffrey Schloss is professor of biology at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., and evolutionary research consultant for the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He is interested in the relationship between evolutionary and theological understandings of altruism. Schloss co-edited Altruism and Altruistic Love: Science, Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue (Oxford University Press, 2002) and Evolution and Ethics: Human Morality in Biological and Religious Perspective (Eerdmans, 2005).

  • David Sloan Wilson

    David Sloan Wilson is an evolutionary biologist at Binghamton University of the State University of New York who has written and spoken extensively about evolution and human behaviors, including altruism, gossip and decision-making in groups. He co-wrote Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior. He has written several books on evolution, including Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives.

Theologians/ ethicists/ philosophers

Christian

  • Bernard V. Brady

    Bernard V. Brady is a professor and chairman of the theology department at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. He wrote Christian Love: How Christians Through the Ages Have Understood Love.

  • Andrew Flescher

    Andrew Flescher, religion professor at California State University, Chico, has taught a course on religion and film that looks at religion and self in contemporary American society; religion, redemption and recovery; and religion and ethnicity. He also directs the Center for Applied and Professional Ethics, where he focuses on religion, ethics and society. He is the author of The Altruistic Species: Scientific, Philosophical and Religious Perspectives of Human Benevolence.

  • Amy Laura Hall

    Amy Laura Hall is an associate professor of theological ethics at Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C. She teaches courses on Christian love and has written extensively on reproductive ethics.

  • William Hurlbut

    William Hurlbut is a physician and professor of human biology at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., whose training in medical ethics and theology informs his work on the biological basis of moral awareness, and the integration of theology and philosophy of biology. He edited  Becoming Human: Evolutionary Origins of Spiritual, Religious and Moral Awareness. His chapter, “Empathy, Evolution and Altruism,” appears in the book he co-edited, Altruism and Altruistic Love: Science, Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue (Oxford University Press, 2002).

  • Timothy Jackson

    Timothy Jackson, professor of Christian ethics at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, focuses on moral philosophy and theology, especially the relationship between secular and Christian conceptions of goodness, justice and mercy. He has written about altruism.

  • Nancy M. Martin

    Nancy M. Martin is an associate professor of ethics and department chair in the religious studies department at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She teaches a course in gender in world religions and can discuss the role of women in Hinduism. She co-edited Love, Sex and Gender in the World Religions and wrote the chapter “Love” for The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Emotion.

  • Martha C. Nussbaum

    Martha C. Nussbaum holds appointments in law, divinity and philosophy at the University of Chicago, where she is the Ernest Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics. Her wide-ranging interests include contemporary moral and political philosophy, the history of Western philosophy and the nature of emotions. She is the author of Liberty of Conscience: The Attack on America’s Tradition of Religious Equality.

  • Doug Oman

    Doug Oman is an assistant adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkele , School of Public Health. He has researched the health benefits of empathy, of learning from spiritual role models and of spiritually oriented meditation.

  • Thomas Jay Oord

    Thomas Jay Oord is professor of theology and philosophy at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, and works with the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. He wrote Science of Love: The Wisdom of Well-Being (Templeton Press, 2004).

  • Caroline J. Simon

    Caroline J. Simon is the John H. and Jeanne M. Jacobson Professor of Philosophy at Hope College in Holland, Mich. She specializes in the topics of virtue, moral knowledge and sexuality and wrote The Disciplined Heart: Love, Destiny & Imagination.

  • Mark Lloyd Taylor

    Mark Lloyd Taylor is an associate professor in the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University. He teaches Christian theology and wrote God Is Love: A Study in the Theology of Karl Rahner.

  • Edward C. Vacek

    The Rev. Edward C. Vacek holds the Stephen J. Duffy Chair in Catholic Studies at Loyola University New Orleans. He wrote Love, Human and Divine. He has written about gratitude and love.

  • Wendy M. Wright

    Wendy M. Wright is a theology professor who holds the John C. Kenefick Chair in the Humanities at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. She specializes in the Salesian tradition, a Christian spiritual tradition founded by St. Francis de Sales, and can speak about the place of love in Salesian spirituality.

Buddhist

  • Ruben Habito

    Ruben Habito is a professor of world religions and spirituality at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He is co-editor of The Practice of Altruism: Caring and Religion in a Global Perspective. He specializes in Buddhism and wrote a chapter in Altruism in World Religions.

  • Thich Nhat Hahn

    Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh has taught and written extensively on the Buddhist understanding of love. His books on the subject include True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart and Teachings on Love. Nhat Hanh lives in Plum Village in France , but teaches around the world. Read an excerpt from True Love at Beliefnet.com. Nhat Hanh’s organization in the U.S. is the Unified Buddhist Church.

    Contact: 510-525-0101.
  • Lorne Ladner

    Lorne Ladner is a clinical psychologist, practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism and author of The Lost Art of Compassion: Discovering the Practice of Happiness in the Meeting of Buddhism and Psychology. He teaches at the Guhyasamaja Center in the Washington, D.C., area. He can comment on the significance of gratitude from a psychological and Buddhist perspective.

    Contact: 202-841-2864.
  • John Makransky

    John Makransky is an associate professor of Buddhism and comparative theology at Boston College. He is also a teacher and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. In his 2007 book Awakening Through Love: Unveiling Your Deepest Goodness, he discusses love, compassion and forgiveness.

  • Christopher S. Queen

    Christopher S. Queen is a lecturer on the study of religion and dean of students for continuing education at Harvard University in Boston, where he teaches courses on Buddhism in America and Buddhism and social change. Read a June 18, 2004, interview he did with the Echo Chamber Project, in which he discusses Buddhism, war, peace and violence in movies. He is editor of Engaged Buddhism in the West and co-editor of Action Dharma: New Studies in Engaged Buddhism.

  • Sharon Salzberg

    Sharon Salzberg has taught insight meditation worldwide for more than 30 years. She is a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, Mass. Her many books include The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life With Love & Compassion and Loving-Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness.

Muslim

  • Seyyed Hossein Nasr

    Seyyed Hossein Nasr is a world-renowned scholar on Islam who teaches Islamic studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. His writings include Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis in Modern Man and The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity. Much of his work focuses on Islamic spiritual values, but he has also written about the religious and spiritual dimensions of the environmental crisis.

  • Feisal Abdul Rauf

    Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is founder and chairman of the Cordoba Initiative at the American Society for Muslim Advancement. The multifaith effort, based in New York City, seeks to increase intercultural communication and tolerance, stimulate new approaches to achieving peace and heal the relationship between Islam and America. Listen to a video posted at Beliefnet in which he discusses divine love.

Hindu

  • Graham M. Schweig

    Graham M. Schweig specializes in love mysticism within the religions of India and has published a number of books on the theme of divine love. He is associate professor of religion and director of the Asian Studies Program at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va.

Articles

Forgiveness

Love

International sources

  • Sarah Coakley

    Sarah Coakley researches the evolution of altruistic behavior, forgiveness and unselfish love at Harvard University. She is a professor of divinity at the University of Cambridge. She is the co-editor of “Evolution, Games and God: The Principle of Cooperation” (2013), which examines the evolution of cultural structures like religion.

  • The Forgiveness Project

    The Forgiveness Project is a nonprofit organization that explores forgiveness, reconciliation and conflict resolution through personal stories with the aim of raising awareness, educating people and inspiring people toward transformation. It is based in London, England.

Regional sources

In the Northeast

  • Nancy Berlinger

    Nancy Berlinger is deputy director and research scholar at the Hastings Center in Garrison, N.Y., and director of its Guidelines on End of Life Care project. She is the author of After Harm: Medical Error and the Ethics of Forgiveness.

  • Brian Childs

    Brian Childs is director of clinical ethics and spiritual care for Shore Health System in the University of Maryland Medical System. He has researched how forgiveness training impacts the mental and physical health of AIDS patients. His dissertation at Princeton Theological Seminary explored forgiveness among preschool children.

    Contact: 410-822-1000.
  • Robert Coles

    Robert Coles is a professor of psychiatry and medical humanities at Harvard University and chairman of the Forgiveness Research Center. A winner of the Medal of Freedom, Coles is the author of The Spiritual Life of Children and The Moral Life of Children.

  • Susanne Denham

    Susanne Denham is a psychology professor at George Mason University near Washington, D.C., who has studied how the ability to forgive develops in the first decade of life.

  • Louise Desalvo

    Louise Desalvo is the Jenny Hunter Endowed Scholar for Creative Writing and Literature at Hunter College at the City University of New York. She is the author of the memoirs Crazy in the Kitchen: Food, Feuds and Forgiveness in an Italian American Family and the book Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives, a resource for writers recovering from trauma, illness, or terrorist acts.

  • Frederick A. DiBlasio

    Frederick A. DiBlasio is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work whose research and practice focuses on the clinical use of forgiveness, particularly within families and marriages. His model on decision-based forgiveness has been proved to be an effective treatment for helping people forgive.

  • Gregory Fricchione

    Dr. Gregory Fricchione is an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Mass. He is director of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine and an expert on stress and depression. Among his publications are “Illness and the Origin of Caring” in the March 1993 issue of the Journal of Medical Humanities.

  • Charles Griswold

    Charles Griswold is a philosophy professor at Boston University whose most recent book is Forgiveness: A Philosophical Exploration (2007), which examines the nature of forgiveness and sympathy and their political dimensions.

  • Raymond G. Helmick

    The Rev. Raymond G. Helmick is an adjunct faculty member in the theology department of Boston College and co-editor of Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Religion, Public Policy and Conflict Transformation. He specializes in studying and mediating international conflicts, including those in the Middle East and Northern Ireland.

  • Jerome Kagan

    Jerome Kagan is the Daniel and Amy Starch Research Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. His research on human temperament has been influential. He spoke about the human moral sense at a 1999 conference on empathy and altruism.

  • Nasser Hussain

    Nasser Hussain is assistant professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought at Amherst College in Amherst, Mass. He co-edited Forgiveness, Mercy and Clemency (2007) and teaches the courses Law, God and Modernity and When Law Fails.

  • Donald B. Kraybill

    Sociologist Donald B. Kraybill is a Distinguished College Professor and senior research fellow at the Young Center for Anabaptists and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa. His books include, as co-author, Amish Enterprise: From Plows to Profits (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).

  • Lorne Ladner

    Lorne Ladner is a clinical psychologist, practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism and author of The Lost Art of Compassion: Discovering the Practice of Happiness in the Meeting of Buddhism and Psychology. He teaches at the Guhyasamaja Center in the Washington, D.C., area. He can comment on the significance of gratitude from a psychological and Buddhist perspective.

    Contact: 202-841-2864.
  • John Makransky

    John Makransky is an associate professor of Buddhism and comparative theology at Boston College. He is also a teacher and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. In his 2007 book Awakening Through Love: Unveiling Your Deepest Goodness, he discusses love, compassion and forgiveness.

  • Martha L. Minow

    Martha L. Minow is professor of law at Harvard Law School in Massachusetts. She has expertise in human rights and transitional societies, and religion. She is co-editor of Imagine Coexistence: Restoring Humanity After Violent Ethnic Conflict and author of Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence.

  • Seyyed Hossein Nasr

    Seyyed Hossein Nasr is a world-renowned scholar on Islam who teaches Islamic studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. His writings include Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis in Modern Man and The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity. Much of his work focuses on Islamic spiritual values, but he has also written about the religious and spiritual dimensions of the environmental crisis.

  • Laurie Anne Pearlman

    Laurie Anne Pearlman co-founded the Traumatic Stress Institute and the Trauma Research, Education and Training Institute, where she still serves as president. She also directs the Clinical Associates Program of the Headington Institute, which offers psychological and spiritual support to relief and development workers around the world. She serves on the practice committee of the American Psychological Association’s trauma division and the complex trauma task force of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. She did research with Professor Ervin Staub on forgiveness in Rwanda and currently works on a public education project in East Africa that includes psychological trauma recovery and reconciliation.

  • Rodney L. Petersen

    Rodney L. Petersen is executive director of the Boston Theological Institute, which offers a certificate program in religion and conflict transformation that includes forgiveness training. He is the co-editor of Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Religion, Public Policy and Conflict Transformation and teaches classes in conflict resolution and reconciliation in religious and international arenas.

  • Christopher S. Queen

    Christopher S. Queen is a lecturer on the study of religion and dean of students for continuing education at Harvard University in Boston, where he teaches courses on Buddhism in America and Buddhism and social change. Read a June 18, 2004, interview he did with the Echo Chamber Project, in which he discusses Buddhism, war, peace and violence in movies. He is editor of Engaged Buddhism in the West and co-editor of Action Dharma: New Studies in Engaged Buddhism.

  • Feisal Abdul Rauf

    Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is founder and chairman of the Cordoba Initiative at the American Society for Muslim Advancement. The multifaith effort, based in New York City, seeks to increase intercultural communication and tolerance, stimulate new approaches to achieving peace and heal the relationship between Islam and America. Listen to a video posted at Beliefnet in which he discusses divine love.

  • Sharon Salzberg

    Sharon Salzberg has taught insight meditation worldwide for more than 30 years. She is a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, Mass. Her many books include The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life With Love & Compassion and Loving-Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness.

  • Ervin Staub

    Ervin Staub is professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and founding director emeritus of its doctoral program on the psychology of peace and the prevention of violence. He has written several books about evil, including The Psychology of Good and Evil: Why Children, Adults and Groups Help and Harm Others and Overcoming Evil: Genocide, Violent Conflict and Terrorism (2010).

    A Holocaust survivor, he studies helping behavior and altruism and the roots and prevention of violence between groups, especially after mass killings, genocide and terrorism. He also promotes reconciliation in real-world settings. He has worked with police on reducing the use of unnecessary force after the Rodney King incident, on healing and reconciliation in New Orleans after Katrina, and on healing, reconciliation and the prevention of new violence in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Congo. He is the author of The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence, Understanding Origins, Prevention and Reconciliation: Genocide, Mass Killing, Intractable Conflict and Terrorism; and A Brighter Future: Inclusive Caring, Moral Courage and Altruism Born of Suffering.

  • June Tangney

    June Tangney is a psychology professor at George Mason University near Washington, D.C., who has studied how individual traits and situations contribute to forgiveness.

     

  • Julia A. Upton

    Julia A. Upton is professor and provost at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. She is author of A Time for Embracing:  Reclaiming Reconciliation.

  • Edward C. Vacek

    The Rev. Edward C. Vacek holds the Stephen J. Duffy Chair in Catholic Studies at Loyola University New Orleans. He wrote Love, Human and Divine. He has written about gratitude and love.

  • Miroslav Volf

    Theologian Miroslav Volf, director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Yale Divinity School, is a favorite scholar of emerging church leaders. He wrote Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace (Zondervan, 2006) and many other books.

  • David Sloan Wilson

    David Sloan Wilson is an evolutionary biologist at Binghamton University of the State University of New York who has written and spoken extensively about evolution and human behaviors, including altruism, gossip and decision-making in groups. He co-wrote Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior. He has written several books on evolution, including Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives.

  • Paul Wink

    Paul Wink is a professor of psychology at Wellesley College in Wellesley , Mass. He researches adult development and aging and has studied the effects of religion and spirituality on life development and choices, including religious commitment and altruistic behavior.

In the South

  • David Blumenthal

    David Blumenthal is a professor of Judaic studies at the Tam Institute of Jewish Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. He is the author of two seminal books on Jewish mysticism, God at the Center: Meditations on Jewish Spirituality and Understanding Jewish Mysticism. Additionally, he is the author of The Banality of Good and Evil: Moral Lessons from the Shoah and Jewish Tradition. He notes that both perpetrators and rescuers often say they were just doing what was expected of them.

  • Frans B.M. deWaal

    Frans B.M. deWaal is the C.H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior at Emory University, and he directs the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta. His renowned research with primates has looked at the evolution of human emotions and morals, and he has studied whether apes can feel sympathy. He has studied how nonhuman primates reconcile after fights. He says it is easy to spot gratitude among apes.

  • Frank Fincham

    Frank Fincham is Eminent Scholar and director of the Family Institute at Florida State University . One of his primary research interests is forgiveness within families, and he has done research and published articles on forgiveness between spouses and between parents and children.

  • Ruben Habito

    Ruben Habito is a professor of world religions and spirituality at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He is co-editor of The Practice of Altruism: Caring and Religion in a Global Perspective. He specializes in Buddhism and wrote a chapter in Altruism in World Religions.

  • Amy Laura Hall

    Amy Laura Hall is an associate professor of theological ethics at Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C. She teaches courses on Christian love and has written extensively on reproductive ethics.

  • Ruby Bridges Hall

    Ruby Bridges Hall founded the Ruby Bridges Foundation in 1999 out of her experience in 1960 as the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school. The foundation, based in New Orleans, promotes tolerance, respect and acceptance of differences. She is also co-chair of A Campaign for Forgiveness Research.

    Contact: 1-800-798-7829.
  • Timothy Jackson

    Timothy Jackson, professor of Christian ethics at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, focuses on moral philosophy and theology, especially the relationship between secular and Christian conceptions of goodness, justice and mercy. He has written about altruism.

  • L. Gregory Jones

    The Rev. L. Gregory Jones is professor of theology and dean of Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C. Among his books is Embodying Forgiveness: A Theological Analysis. An ordained United Methodist pastor, he is often quoted on the subjects of forgiveness and apology.

  • Lisa Barnes Lampman

    Lisa Barnes Lampman is senior consultant at Dare Mighty Things and editor of God and the Victim: Theological Reflections on Evil, Victimization, Justice and Forgiveness. She formerly worked as vice president of Prison Fellowship Ministries.

  • Joretta L. Marshall

    The Rev. Joretta L. Marshall is executive vice president and dean of Texas Christian University’s Brite Divinity School, where she is also professor of pastoral theology and pastoral care and counseling. She wrote “Covenants and Partnerships: Pastoral Counseling with Women in Lesbian Relationships” for the Journal of Pastoral Theology.

  • Michael E. McCullough

    Michael E. McCullough is professor of psychology and religious studies at the University of Miami in Coral Cables, Fl. He directs the Laboratory for Social Clinical Psychology, where the consequences of forgiveness and related moral emotions and their effects on health and well-being are being studied. He is co-editor of Forgiveness: Theory, Research and Practice and author of the forthcoming Beyond Revenge: The Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct.

  • David Patterson

    David Patterson is a professor of Holocaust studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is an expert on the Holocaust and serves as an adviser to two U.S. Holocaust museums. His book Hebrew Language and Jewish Thought looks at the role of gratitude in Jewish thought.

  • Graham M. Schweig

    Graham M. Schweig specializes in love mysticism within the religions of India and has published a number of books on the theme of divine love. He is associate professor of religion and director of the Asian Studies Program at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va.

  • Jeffrey Sonis

    Jeffrey Sonis is assistant professor of social medicine and family medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He researches the psychosocial consequences of human rights violations. He has also studied the potential for mechanisms that facilitate justice, such as truth commissions and tribunals, for improving racial and ethnic tension, including in South Africa; Greensboro, N.C.; and Cambodia.

  • Everett L. Worthington Jr.

    Everett L. Worthington Jr. is a psychology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. He was the founding executive director of A Campaign for Forgiveness Research for its first seven years, and he is one of the country’s foremost experts on empirical research about forgiveness.  Among his forthcoming books is Just Forgiving, about the relationship between personal forgiveness and social justice.

In the Midwest

  • Radhi H. Al-Mabuk

    Radhi H. Al-Mabuk is associate professor of educational psychology at the University of Northern Iowa whose research focuses on the psychology of revenge – its causes, consequences and ways to deal with it. He has written a book on that topic as well as several articles on forgiveness.

  • Stephen Angell

    Stephen Angell, who teaches at the Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Ind., can address how Quakers have dealt with the issue of forgiveness.

  • Dan Batson

    Dan Batson is a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He has studied empathy as a possible source of altruistic motivation and the psychological implications of the egoism-altruism relationship. He has also researched other sources of positive social motivation, such as collectivism and principalism. He wrote The Altruism Question: Toward a Social-Psychological Answer (Erlbaum, 1991) and “Addressing the Altruism Question Experimentally” in Altruism and Altruistic Love (Oxford University Press, 2002).

  • Bernard V. Brady

    Bernard V. Brady is a professor and chairman of the theology department at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. He wrote Christian Love: How Christians Through the Ages Have Understood Love.

  • Kim Cameron

    Kim Cameron is professor of management and organizations at the University of Michigan ‘s Ross School of Business. He has researched whether corporations can more successfully weather downsizing if they ask forgiveness from their employees. He has also studied how other virtues, such as humility and compassion, affect the success of organizations.

  • Avis Clendenen

    Avis Clendenen is a professor of religious studies at St. Xavier University in Chicago and co-author of Forgiveness: Finding Freedom Through Reconciliation, which explores forgiveness through Christian teaching.

  • Robert D. Enright

    Robert D. Enright is a pioneer in forgiveness research. He is an educational psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin and a board member of the International Forgiveness Institute, which was set up to disseminate the results of his research on forgiveness. His books include Forgiveness Is a Choice: A Step-By-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope.

  • John Paul Lederach

    John Paul Lederach is professor of international peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. He is known for his international work in conflict transformation, which includes work in Colombia, the Philippines, Nepal and Tajikistan, and in East and West Africa. His books include The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace.

  • Lois E. Malcolm

    Lois E. Malcolm is associate professor of systematic theology at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. She is co-author of the forthcoming book Teaching Healing and Forgiveness: A Multi-Dimensional Approach.

  • Troy W. Martin

    Troy W. Martin is a professor of religious studies at St. Xavier University in Chicago and co-author of Forgiveness: Finding Freedom Through Reconciliation, which explores forgiveness through Christian teaching.

  • Joan Mueller

    Sister Joan Mueller is is professor of theology and Christian spirituality at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and the founder of the Franciscan Sisters of Joy. She is the author of numerous books and articles on Franciscanism and the related topics of forgiveness, reconciliation and discernment, including the book Is Forgiveness Possible?

  • Martha C. Nussbaum

    Martha C. Nussbaum holds appointments in law, divinity and philosophy at the University of Chicago, where she is the Ernest Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics. Her wide-ranging interests include contemporary moral and political philosophy, the history of Western philosophy and the nature of emotions. She is the author of Liberty of Conscience: The Attack on America’s Tradition of Religious Equality.

  • Kenneth Pargament

    Kenneth Pargament is a professor emeritus of psychology at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. His research addressed religious beliefs in various traditions and health. He also researched how the elderly who struggle with their religious beliefs and hold negative perceptions about their relationships with God and life meaning have an increased risk of death, even after controlling for physical and mental health and demographic characteristics. Among other research, he has studied religious coping and the mental health of Hindus in the U.S., spirituality and coping with trauma, spirituality in children with cystic fibrosis, and religion as a source of stress, coping and identity among Jewish adolescents. He can also speak about the relationship between atheism and mental health.

  • Janet Ramsey

    Janet Ramsey is associate professor of congregational care leadership at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. She teaches a cross-disciplined course on forgiveness and healing at Luther, speaks frequently on the topic at churches and conferences, and is the author of several articles and two Sunday school series on forgiveness. She is co-authoring, with systematic theologian Lois Malcolm, the forthcoming book Discerning Forgiveness: Deep Theology, Wise Practice. A licensed marriage and family therapist, Ramsey has particular interests in ways that object relations theory and the humanities can help us explore the complexities of forgiveness.

  • Steven J. Sandage

    Steven J. Sandage is associate professor of marriage and family studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn. A psychologist, he is co-author of The Faces of Forgiveness: Searching for Wholeness and Salvation and To Forgive Is Human: How to Put Your Past in the Past.

  • Sue Savage-Rumbaugh

    Sue Savage-Rumbaugh is executive director and head scientist at Great Ape Trust of Iowa who has studied how youngsters learn forgiveness from caregivers.

    Contact: 515-243-3580.
  • Caroline J. Simon

    Caroline J. Simon is the John H. and Jeanne M. Jacobson Professor of Philosophy at Hope College in Holland, Mich. She specializes in the topics of virtue, moral knowledge and sexuality and wrote The Disciplined Heart: Love, Destiny & Imagination.

  • Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet

    Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet is an associate professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, Mich. Forgiveness and health constitute one of her primary areas of interest, and she is researching how the emotion of forgiveness relates to health.

  • Wendy M. Wright

    Wendy M. Wright is a theology professor who holds the John C. Kenefick Chair in the Humanities at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. She specializes in the Salesian tradition, a Christian spiritual tradition founded by St. Francis de Sales, and can speak about the place of love in Salesian spirituality.

In the West

  • Eileen Borris

    Eileen Borris is a licensed clinical psychologist who promotes forgiveness in the healing of emotional wounds on personal and political levels. She is the author of Finding Forgiveness: A 7-Step Program for Letting Go of Anger and Bitterness and Forgiveness: The Ultimate Freedom. She is also the director of training and program development for the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy in Arlington, Va., where she works in international conflict resolution. This work has taken her to the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia, India and the Tibetan government in exile. She is the former president of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence of the American Psychological Association. She lives in Paradise Valley, Ariz.

  • Thomas Bradbury

    Thomas Bradbury is a psychology professor at the University of California at Los Angeles who studies causes of satisfaction in marriage and educational programs for couples, including forgiveness.

  • Roy L. Brooks

    Roy L. Brooks is the Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego in California and the author of Atonement and Forgiveness: A New Model for Black Reparations.

  • Antonio R. Damasio

    Antonio R. Damasio, University of Iowa neurology professor, studies fundamental mechanisms of cognition. He is the author of The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness (Harcourt, 2000).

  • Elliot Dorff

    Rabbi Elliot Dorff is a professor of philosophy and university rector at American Jewish University in Bel-Air, Calif. He is an expert in Jewish family issues, including adoption. He has studied the Jewish perspective on assisted death, transhumanism and ethics in general.

  • Andrew Flescher

    Andrew Flescher, religion professor at California State University, Chico, has taught a course on religion and film that looks at religion and self in contemporary American society; religion, redemption and recovery; and religion and ethnicity. He also directs the Center for Applied and Professional Ethics, where he focuses on religion, ethics and society. He is the author of The Altruistic Species: Scientific, Philosophical and Religious Perspectives of Human Benevolence.

  • Marie M. Fortune

    The Rev. Marie M. Fortune is founder and senior analyst at the Faith Trust Institute in Seattle, which works to end sexual and domestic violence, particularly in faith communities. She co-edited Forgiveness and Abuse: Jewish and Christian Reflections and is a United Church of Christ minister.

  • Richard L. Gorsuch

    Richard L. Gorsuch is a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. He wrote the article “The Development of a Scale to Measure Forgiveness” in the 2001 Journal of Psychology & Christianity. He has also done research on religion and prejudice, religion and substance abuse, and miracles.

  • Peter C. Hill

    Peter C. Hill is a psychology professor at the Rosemead School of Psychology at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif. He contributed to the 2005 edition of The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism. He specializes in the psychology of religion and has done research on individuals’ right to choose whether to forgive, restorative justice and the role of apology.

  • William Hurlbut

    William Hurlbut is a physician and professor of human biology at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., whose training in medical ethics and theology informs his work on the biological basis of moral awareness, and the integration of theology and philosophy of biology. He edited  Becoming Human: Evolutionary Origins of Spiritual, Religious and Moral Awareness. His chapter, “Empathy, Evolution and Altruism,” appears in the book he co-edited, Altruism and Altruistic Love: Science, Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue (Oxford University Press, 2002).

  • Dacher Keltner

    Dacher Keltner is a psychology professor at the University of California , Berkeley; co-director of the Greater Good Science Center; and director of the Berkeley Social Interaction Laboratory. His research focuses on “prosocial” emotions, such as love, sympathy and gratitude.

  • Douglas L. Kelley

    Douglas L. Kelley is associate professor of communication studies at Arizona State University , where he studies communication patterns in families and personal relationships. His recent published work has appeared in the Journal of Family Communication, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and Communication Quarterly.With Vince Waldron, he is author of the scholarly text Communicating Forgiveness and the forthcoming general audience book, Marriage Is For-Giving.

  • Frederic Luskin

    Frederic Luskin is a senior consultant in health promotion at Stanford University, where he teaches classes on spirituality and health and positive psychology. He serves as director of the Stanford Forgiveness Projects and was co-director of the Stanford-Northern Ireland HOPE Projects, which explored the effectiveness of his forgiveness methods on victims of political violence. He gives lectures and workshops on the importance, health benefits and training of forgiveness across the country. He is the author of Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness, co-author of Stress Free for Good: 10 Scientifically Proven Life Skills for Health and Happiness and author of an upcoming guide for forgiveness for couples, Forgive for Love: The Missing Ingredient for a Healthy and Lasting Relationship.

  • Nancy M. Martin

    Nancy M. Martin is an associate professor of ethics and department chair in the religious studies department at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She teaches a course in gender in world religions and can discuss the role of women in Hinduism. She co-edited Love, Sex and Gender in the World Religions and wrote the chapter “Love” for The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Emotion.

  • Jeffrie G. Murphy

    Jeffrie G. Murphy is professor of law, philosophy and religious studies at Arizona State University in Tempe. He is the author of Getting Even: Forgiveness and Its Limits and co-editor of Before Forgiving: Cautionary Views of Forgiveness in Psychotherapy.

  • Samuel Oliner

    Samuel Oliner is emeritus professor of sociology and director of the Altruistic Personality and Prosocial Behavior Institute at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif. Oliner co-founded the institute in 1982 to study altruism and seek ways to enhance altruism and prosocial behavior in society. A native of Poland, Oliner was rescued by a non-Jewish family at age 12 and has made a lifelong study of altruism. The Altruistic Personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe (Free Press) was published in 1988. Do Unto Others: Extraordinary Acts of Ordinary People (Westview Press, 2004) explores what gives an individual a sense of responsibility, what leads to the development of care and compassion, and what it means to put the welfare of others ahead of one’s own.

  • Doug Oman

    Doug Oman is an assistant adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkele , School of Public Health. He has researched the health benefits of empathy, of learning from spiritual role models and of spiritually oriented meditation.

  • Thomas Jay Oord

    Thomas Jay Oord is professor of theology and philosophy at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, and works with the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. He wrote Science of Love: The Wisdom of Well-Being (Templeton Press, 2004).

  • Vilayanur S. Ramachandran

    Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego, is a pioneer in experimental neurology who found that patients who suffer seizures from temporal lobe epilepsy display an unusual obsession with religious matters. Among his research interests is the neural basis of empathy.

  • Ken Sande

    Ken Sande, an attorney and engineer, is founder of Peacemaker Ministries, a nonprofit based in Billings , Mont. , that helps Christians and their churches resolve conflicts using biblical principles. He is also president of Relational Wisdom 360. He is the author of The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict and co-author of Peacemaking for Families: A Biblical Guide to Managing Conflict in Your Home.

  • Jeffrey Schloss

    Jeffrey Schloss is professor of biology at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., and evolutionary research consultant for the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He is interested in the relationship between evolutionary and theological understandings of altruism. Schloss co-edited Altruism and Altruistic Love: Science, Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue (Oxford University Press, 2002) and Evolution and Ethics: Human Morality in Biological and Religious Perspective (Eerdmans, 2005).

  • Mark Lloyd Taylor

    Mark Lloyd Taylor is an associate professor in the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University. He teaches Christian theology and wrote God Is Love: A Study in the Theology of Karl Rahner.

  • Carl Thoresen

    Carl Thoresen is a professor emeritus of education, psychology and psychiatry/behavioral sciences at Stanford University and senior fellow at the Spirituality and Health Institute at Santa Clara University. His most recent book is, as co-editor, Spirit, Science and Health: How the Spiritual Mind Fuels Physical Wellness.

  • Ming T. Tsuang

    Dr. Ming T. Tsuang is a leading researcher in human genetics, behavior and neuropsychiatric diseases. He holds many titles: Behavioral Genomics Endowed Chair and University Professor at the University of California; Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and director, Center for Behavioral Genomics, department of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego; and director of the Harvard Institute of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Genetics. He has studied the role of forgiveness and spirituality in the process of coping with combat trauma.

  • Vince Waldron

    Vince Waldron is professor of communication studies at Arizona State University . With his colleague Douglas Kelley, he is author of the scholarly text Communicating Forgiveness and the forthcoming general audience book Marriage Is For-Giving.

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