Thursday, December 16, 2010

The limits of "private virture"

German pastor, theologian, and co-conspirator in efforts to eliminate Hitler,Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke of "religionless Christianity."  He offers important insights that we should consider on those who, in the face of grave evil in the world or society, retreat to "private virtuousness." 

Hear him out:

Such people neither steal, nor murder, nor commit adultery, but do good according to their abilities.  But. . .they must close their eyes and ears to the injustice around them.  Only at the cost of self-deception can they keep their private blamelessness clean from the stains of responsible action in the world.  In all that they do, what they fail to do will not let them rest.  They will either be destroyed by this unrest, or they will become the most hypocritical of all Pharisees (page 470).

from Bonhoeffer:  Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy,
by Eric Metaxas

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