Monday, 13 March 2006

The gulf between means and ends

“Before we can take the right way we must know what it is. Before we can mobilise our forces to put justice into action we must know what we ought to want. The specific malady of our age, as compared with earlier ages, is groping in the dark and confusion of thought. At the very time when people have means of realising their aims such as they never had before, they are utterly at a loss as to what those aims should be. In their preoccupation with discovering and devising those means they have forgotten even how to inquire into their aims. The way in which the gigantic forces of technology, formerly unknown, have been harnessed to the purpose of destruction in war is the perfect expression of the gulf between the means and the end of intention. The condition of the world at the end of this war [i.e. World War II] will provide the dreadful proof ... of the primacy of ends over means.”

—Emil Brunner, Justice and the Social Order (London: Lutterworth, 1945), p. 227.

3 Comments:

Jim said...

Fascinating juxtaposition- Emil Brunner on one side and Brokeback Mountain on the other. Especially considering that Brunner saw homosexuality as "perversion". "The perversion of the divine relationship is especially recognizable in the perversion of the sexual relations". (Cf. his commentary on Romans, ch. 1 ad loc).

Randy S Furco said...

I have always found theologans interesting.

Sometimes they think so much with their natural minds, they quench any voice of their spirit.

Christ said the gospel was so simple a child could understand it. He said that unless we become like a child, we can not see the kingdom.

So I guess my question is, does too much theological knowledge blind a person from the deeper spiritual truths of Christs message?

God bless.

http://randyfurco.blogspot.com/

Ben Myers said...

Hi Randy -- thanks for your honest question. Let me try to answer:

Theology is not the same as faith in Christ -- rather, theology is the attempt to understand faith in Christ. So on the one hand, you certainly don't need theology in order to have faith. But on the other hand, your faith can be enriched through a deeper understanding.

Let me give one example: You can have faith in the death of Jesus without understanding much about it. But if you come to understand more deeply the meaning of Jesus' death, you may find that this has also deeply enriched your faith. In this case, theology hasn't added anything to your faith; it has simply given you a better understanding of your faith. In my own experience, theology has always been enriching in exactly this way.

I hope this answers your question!

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