Man’s christian invention
The most important lesson learned from historical research is contingency. Things don’t have to be the same as before. For example, the answer to all the most important questions in the history of our civilization is: “What does it mean to be a person?” Since the Enlightenment, many people in the West have given the impression that it is easy to answer this question. Observe human behavior empirically in time and space, and then abstract some universal norms from the data. This is our modern belief: we can read the truth about ourselves in the records of nature just like reading a story in a book. A groundbreaking example of this is the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, which was written at the highest meridian of the Enlightenment with one of its most incandescent minds: we believe that these truths are self-evident, and all people are Equally, they are certain inalienable rights granted to them by their creators, including life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. For Jefferson, and for us who live by his words today, “it is self-evident that”
; human beings have not been born yet, with saddles on their backs, and there is no group of thrilled and thrilled people ready to ride them. “But most people in most places and most of the time have never thought of such a person. We are all equal, unique personalities, and everyone has unfathomable dignity and inviolable rights. This view is a kind of A rare and relatively narrow view. This world once existed without it (there are still many things in the world today). If we forget the source of this idea and the idea that has lasted for so long, it is easy to reappear. We can The origin of the word “person” can be traced back to the ancient Greek word prosopon, which is “mask.” It was originally used in the context of Greek tragedies. Actors wore the body roles of the characters played in dramatic works. But it soon had It has political and social significance, especially in Roman society. The Latin word for prosopon is persona, derived from our English word. According to Roman usage, a person’s character is a person’s social and legal role in the community. From one person to another, from aristocrats to senators to shopkeepers to servants, this role is very different, and it does not accommodate everyone as equally as the current term “person”. People think that different social status is almost They are different species and have nothing in common. Except for the role they play in the country, no one is considered to have any kind of individual existence. For example, Roman slaves are habitually referred to as non-Ha’s own title: literally speaking , “No one” or “No one” because their social function is so mean and like a tool. As we understand now, it doesn’t matter who they are actually the bottom “people”. The word Greek Dramaticism and Roman political usage have an important point in common. In any case, covering up the unique individual behind or the individual who plays the social role assigned to him is not considered important at least. Metropolitan John Ciziolas (John Zizioulas) said: “Many writers represent [ancient] The Greeks considered it to be “impersonal” in nature. In the platonic change, all concrete and “individual” ultimately refer to the abstract ideas that constitute its foundation and ultimate defense. “As they themselves saw, the premise for people in the ancient world to really exist was that they participated in a larger project, whether on the stage or in the city, this was their “ground and final Reason.” Zizioulas continued: “Identity-an important part of the concept of man, makes one person different from another, which makes him unique- [was] Guaranteed and provided by the state or some organized as a whole. For this reason, the historian Larry Siedentop wrote that in the ancient city, “there is no concept of individual rights against the city and its gods.” There is no formal freedom of thought or action. . . . Citizens belong to the city, body and soul. “If the individual has no value at all, it only refers to an organized collective. The advent of Christianity overthrew this ancient order, from the birth of civilization to the morning of the first Resurrection in Jerusalem about 2,000 years ago. This ancient order was more or less unchallenged. The declaration of the first Christians-God has become human-erased the personality concept that prevailed in the ancient world. If Jesus was the apostle of the church and the father of patriotism insisted on” Personality” and he has passed away and has grown to be a representative of the entire race, then we are what we created by society and the country. There has been a gap between our identity and our social obligations. It is the first time that an individual has set foot on the stage of human history. “There are neither Jews nor Greeks, neither slaves nor freedom, neither men nor women; because you are all in Christ Jesus. “Or, as Siddentop said: For Paul, faith in Christ made it possible for all people to assume a major role equally (“soul equality”), while traditional social roles (whether father , Daughters, officials, priests or priests) may appear as slaves-become a secondary role in the main role. For this main role, an indeterminate number of social roles may or may not be added as the attributes of the theme, but they are no longer defined Theme. This is the freedom of Paul’s conception of Christ to introduce human identity. For us, it is almost impossible to truly understand the impact of Easter aftershocks on our civilization for thousands of years. To a large extent, we are all in a sense of morality. The basic worldview is within Christians, so that if there is no great imagination, it is impossible to see this from the vantage point of the former Christian society. We cannot feel in our bones the ridicule of criminals, non-Haben legal persons, blasphemous lunatics, and The way Jesus spoke to Pilate at the climax of John John’s Gospel spoke to a powerful ruler. As for the crucifixion itself, the theologian David Bentley Hart wrote that despite our best efforts And for, but we can never really see Christ’s broken, humiliated and doomed humanity, which is self-evidently despicable and absurd. On the contrary, in the true sense, we are destined to see that it covers The mystery of our human beings: lofty fragility, both tragic and magnificent, pitiful and wonderful. Under the grief and victory of one person, the contingency that we think of ourselves and all decent and valuable things in our society always haunts us, For the past 2000 years, all of us have been living in this shadow. We have forgotten that, in a historically provable way, we in the West fully attribute our common universal humanity to Jesus of Nazareth. And his church. Even the tiniest details in the Easter story, such as the tears of St. Peter’s betrayal of Jesus, mark the complete interruption that the Christian revolution has experienced before, until we turn a blind eye to today. Just like Hart (Hart) As pointed out: what is obvious to us is-Peter’s wounded heart, his devotion to the teacher, his torment with sin, the broken knowledge of Christ’s imminent death that he will never be able to obtain forgiveness for his betrayal is-obviously, This is largely because we are the heirs of a certain culture, in a sense, this culture is produced by Peter’s tears. For us, this rather small and ordinary narrative detail is undoubtedly the story A decoration that makes it noble, proves its gravitational force, and expands the embrace of our common humanity. In this sense, all of us, even unbelievers, are our “Christ” for the moral expectations of the world. However, for the illiterate class in the late antiquity, the story of Peter’s cry is more like an aesthetic error. Because Peter, as a countryman, cannot be an object of sympathy for a character person, and his grief may also be possible. Does not have that which makes it worthy of anyone’s attention Kind of tragic dignity. . . . This is not only an infringement of good taste. This is an act of rebellion. As Siedentop described in “Inventing the Individual: The Origin of Western Liberalism,” people have made a long, unbalanced and imperfect effort in the centuries between the beginning of Easter and today. , In order to transform Christians’ belief in universal human dignity into social and political reality. Contrary to what the enemies of Christianity claimed, the Enlightenment was no different from its previous experience, and owed more to the moral infiltration of Christians over the centuries. The scholar Brian Tierney pointed out that by 1300, many rights had been regularly claimed and defended based on Christians’ understanding of personality: “These include property rights, the right to consent to the government, the right to self-defense, pagans, Marriage rights, procedural rights” and take measures to make these rights enforceable under positive law. To a certain extent, we see ourselves as human rights defenders with real responsibility, so we are all cultural products of Easter. However, as the survey of American religious habits shows, the cultural aftermath of the resurrection of the Son of God seems to be fading in the West for a long time. Just last week, Gallup released a new study that showed that the number of church members in the United States fell below 50% for the first time. Even without reliable data as evidence, it is possible to infer many things from American social and political conditions. We are increasingly looking for a way to get along with each other, which looks more like Christianity replacing pagan culture than anything else. Zizioulas described pagan society as an “impersonal” society, in which individuals are “ultimately accused of abstract ideas that constitute their foundation and ultimate defense.” In the United States today, people are ultimately called the abstract political thoughts that constitute the “foundation and ultimate reason” in their social order. We increasingly see each other as flat incarnations of abstract collectives, from which we can get our sense of solidity and meaning. We are Republicans, Democrats, anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, support the dead, support the choosers. The unique and unrepeatable people buried under all these labels, the pre-political people handed over to each of us by Jesus on the cross, are being crowded and suffocated. Furthermore, we have no reason to believe that it will survive the cultural abandonment of the belief that led to its birth. However, we do have a comfort: even in the West, this kind of people-oriented primacy is in the pain of death, it will come out of the grave again. Any of our failures, whether personal or political, will not slow down the arrival of this glorious city. Christ reigns here, free from the ravages of time, eternally ancient and eternally reborn.