Sunday, December 13, 2009

The humanitarian

(from Bonhoeffer's "Ethics")

"The despiser of humanity despises what God has loved, despises the very form of God become human. There is, however, also a sincerely intended love for humanity that amounts to the same thing as contempt for humanity. It rests on evaluating human beings according to their dormant values--the health, reasonableness, and goodness deep beneath the surface. (This love for humanity grows mostly in peaceful times. But also in times of great crisis these values can on occasion shine forth and become the basis for a hard-won and honest love for humanity.) With forced tolerance, evil is reinterpreted as good, meanness is overlooked, and the reprehensible is excused. For various reasons one shies away from a clear No, and finally agrees to everything. One loves a self-made picture of human beings that has little similarity to reality, and one ends up despising the real human being whom God has loved and whose being God has taken on.

Only because God became human is it possible to know and not despise real human beings. The reason for God's love for human beings does not reside in them, but only in God."

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