In the afternoon on October 23, a theological lecture, entitled as “Why ethics? Take the ethical perspectives ofBonhoeffer as an example”, was held at Barclay Memorial Church of Tainan Presbytery. In a joint project to commemorate Reformation 500 by PCT General Assembly and South & North Press, famous Christian ethicist Prof Wolfgang Huber was invited as the speaker of this lecture.
The main issue of Prof Huber’s lecture focused on the relationship between the church and ethics. He pointed outthat a Christian life should be responsible and the faith of the church is therefore a responsibility. “The church is not an independently self-sufficient organization, but a fellowship closed knitted with the society. The church has to be the voice of the voiceless, And this is our responsibility!”, said Prof Huber.
As an ethics professor in the University of Heidelberg and a member of Germany’s Ethics Council, Prof Huber pointed out straight forward in the beginning of his lecture that there were indeed various ethics theories depending on different cultures and contexts, though, we human being came to face more common problems under the impact of globalization. “Look at the original place of our daily goods, you can see we are not living in a closed world”, said Prof Huber, in particular the popularity of internet and digitalization would further blur the border lines among nations and bring up more economical problems.
Huber remarked, our responsibility toward the other would increase, especially when our economics were greatlyinfluenced by the internet and the unbound space became increasingly scaled down. “We are living in an age that you are unable to escape bumping into another culture”, said Huber, adding that the challenges from the field of ethics would naturally multiply as the biological sciences kept re-writing human’s definition about what the life is.
So, what is the criteria of ethics? Huber indicated the point should be placed on “a thought in advance”. The senseof responsibility is not only to focus on “now”, but also a perspective about “future” founded on the concept of “sustainability”. “If the consequences of what we do now could not be figured out, then we have to watch out!”, said Huber. He took the example of current Germany’s policy to abolish all nuclear powers as an understanding that the potential nuclear devastation is beyond any affordable compensation, especially the horrific results of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was such an apocalyptic revelation.
As to the question, how to face our ethical challenges theologically, Huber suggested the church have to thinkdeep about what kind of impact brought by the Reformation ethics. It seemed there were two kinds of ethics existent in the world: the secular selfish ethics vs the divine altruistic ethics, said Huber. But the real problem was that every person is equal in the eye of God, said Huber, and it cast doubt this division of ethics generated from the Reformation.
What is the solution to solve this parochial ethical divisions since the Reformation? Consideringabout a major question, i.e. how to let our next generations live on? , three points extracted especially from the prison letters of Bonhoeffer were concluded by Prof Huber: (1) religion[faith] is not an independent dimension of life, but lived in our daily lives; (2) the messages of the Bible should not be confined within the church’s wall only, but has to go beyond and share with the world; (3) the church should not live for self’s sake, but live for the other to become a true Christian church!
Source: The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan