The Meaning & Value of the Person: a Historical Perspective

The Meaning & Value of the Person: a Historical Perspective

For me, one of the most profound contributions to the world is the discovery through Christ that humans are persons of extreme value. What is quickly taken for granted in the broad range of western discussion is a ceaseless societal mantra on human rights and individual value.  Where did the beatific chant of indiscriminate human value come from and why should it persist?  As a Christian, I have good answers to both questions, based ultimately on humanity as created in the image of the triune God–one divine being in the three persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The ultimate Real is Being in difference and Being in unity.  The profound Christian grounding of human dignity gives room for individuality (unity in difference) as well as genuine community (unity in difference).  I applaud  the aspirations and hopes of so many in the Western World, affirming human dignity and world peace, but at the same time, realize that the tree quickly dies that is cut off from its roots of origin. The blooming of human rights is beautiful to be sure, but the tree does not do well apart from its native Christian soil, much less growing in the thin air of post-modern groundlessness.  I can say this because of empirical, red data.  The experiments of the last century’s secular ideologies raise a chorus of over 100 million (big number) persons of value who paid with their blood to feed the appetites of secular leaders who still managed between their guzzling to gurgle out salutes to a higher and better humanity.   The cup to raise for the highest humanism is not the winner’s trophy for parasitic rhetoric, but the tried and true way of the chalice of Christ.

In support of the above line of reasoning, please read and evaluate six pages from David Bentley Hart’s chapter entitled, “The Face of the Faceless.”  I was only able to scan two pages at a time, so will have to click several times to get through the six pages.

Hart 166-167 (click to read)

Hart 168 – 169 (click to read)

Hart pages 170 – 171 (click to read)


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