Jürgen Habermas on Christianity

What Jürgen Habermas, renowned atheist and sociopolitical theorist, has to say about Christianity's cultural legacy:
"Christianity has functioned for the normative self-understanding of modernity as more than a mere precursor or a catalyst. Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom and social solidarity, of an autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, of the individual morality of conscience, human rights, and democracy, is the direct heir to the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in the light of the current challenges of a postnational constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle postmodern talk."
I personally think our continual secularization of the public sphere and repudiation of Judæo-Christian values will eventually disintegrate our society.


Spaceman Spiff said...

I think we're losing some Judeo-Christian values we once had, but we're also rediscovering some that had been lost. But ultimately, I suspect our everpresent greed, arrogance, and our willingness to plan, commit, and benefit from violence will be our undoing. I don't think there was a time in our history when these seeds of our disintegration were not present.

Speaker for the Dead said...

It's funny, our willingness to plan, commit, and benefit from violence might be at one of the lowest points in history. :P

But I agree with the sentiment of what you're saying. Which ones do you think we've rediscovered?

Spaceman Spiff said...

As far as violence, I think our aversion to being aware of it is higher than ever, but I don't think we're really willing to give up much in order to stop benefiting from it. We sure aren't willing to go much out of our way to make peace.

As far as more positive changes, well, I'd say a lot of the changes with respect to race and gender relations have been good and needed. I think for a lot of folks in our generation (not nearly all) are dissatisfied with materialism. I think in the church, there's a growing recognition that the denominational divisions we've been taught are not right. That's typically coupled with a growing epistemic humility, which I think is a good thing.