Monday, June 06, 2005

Bonhoeffer's Ethics

I began Bonhoeffer's Ethics today.

It occurs to me that this may very well be the only book of ethics ever written while the author was actively contemplating taking the life of another human being. I can only imagine the urgency that this added.

In Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard considers the problem of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac, and he asks, "Is there such a thing as a telelogical suspension of the ethical?" Bonhoeffer faced this question but without the distance of abstract speculation.

But if I've understood what he's written so far, I think Bonhoeffer would reject the question. I think he's saying the teleological is the ethical. The ethical is not a matter of dividing right from wrong, good from evil, but rather it is being united with the will of God.

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