Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Trying to be Human?

I was recently browsing the forewords/introductions of a number of books written by some Christian theologians /social ethicists, (Tillich, Schweiker, Wink) and I come across a curious connection. In all of these books, there is a common belief that the quest of social ethics is to "become Human". I find this irritating. Theologians/ethicists of such renown as these can't possibly be allowing themselves to fall for the great desire on the part of many to whitewash human character?

     The goal of ethics is NOT simply to be truly or authentically human. Stalin was as authentically human as Schweitzer. Martin Luther King Jr. as authentically as Genghis Khan. Hitler as surely as Helen Keller . Human beings are good and evil personified. All that is glorious and all that is truly nauseating in this universe is reflected and revealed in man. And every human being is capable of  the most unspeakable vileness in thought if not in deed. As Arendt might put it, the banality of evil is everywhere demonstrated.
So, what is our goal? To be relational, i.e. loving, human beings. As far as I can perceive, all social ethics, regardless of source and origin, is trying to either instill in humans the capacity /desire for Universal love, or conceding the impossibility of Universal human love, trying to ameliorate the effects of living in a world  where humans will never be able or willing to love everyone by instilling rules of  good conduct and behavior. 

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