Monday, January 18, 2016

Jerusalem & Athens

I would like to get your takes on this question which has been vaguely in my mind; we'll see if I can articulate it well enough to be understandable.

In theory, it is quite clear why "fideism" is false; but what is our ultimate source of certainty? (I imagine that for certainty in different kinds of knowledge there may possibly be different sources). But let's take moral knowledge for example, and the question of violence. I get a pretty clear set of reasons in natural law philosophy for when violent acts against another human being are justified -- e.g., when necessary as a means to defend the innocent from harm, when other measures are unavailable. This is the answer from Athens.

But on the other hand, there is the example of Jesus, who allowed himself to be "led like a sheep to the slaughter," along with this ethic of non-violence (found in various examples from literature and history -- Alyosha, Gandhi, Jeremy Irons' character in The Mission, etc.). Refusal to strike another is (possibly) the answer from Jerusalem.

The positive law of states to defend their territories and control the admittance of immigrants is perhaps another example where the role and rights of the prince/State are more clearly cut for the Athenian than for the Jerusalemite, on whom the alien can lay a strong claim.