Monday, February 02, 2009

We Are The World

In my previous blogging on transnationalism, or the general idea of expanding our notions of who we consider us and who we consider them, I have focussed on practical rather than theoretical objections. It is worth challenging myself whether that is the whole story. After all, I do not regard nonbelievers’ criticisms of how terrible many Christians are as determinative whether the doctrine is true. That wickedness is not irrelevant, but neither is it the main consideration.

Those who believe We Are The World certainly believe it is a more moral choice; at a minimum, that it is a higher moral aspiration. It is trivially easy for me to point out that this view consistently leads to greater injustice, or that its proponents reveal themselves to be a zoo of primitive motives which they are oblivious to. Self-righteousness, self-deception, and hypocrisy are always fun to poke at. Don’t get me started, I’ll never stop.

But might the belief itself, the shining ideal, actually be a higher morality we should strive toward, gradually remaking ourselves for a better tomorrow? Is it a more Christian sentiment, that believers should consider themselves obliged to attempt, even with little hope of success? It’s worth considering.

So start thinking about it. I will post soon, perhaps as early as tonight, perhaps as late as Wednesday.

(NOTICE: The following is not fair. Many people who earnestly desire a world of comity and mutual support are not hypocrites, self-righteous, or self-deceiving. Okay, they have to be one of those things, but not all of them together. And they're nice people. Well-meaning people are not in such large supply in the world that I should spend my time kicking them. Yet I do.)

NO, NO, I can't take it! I have to make fun of them before I move on to the serious discussion.
For you younger ones who don't know what WATW refers to, I torture you with this :

PJ O'Rourke did the best summary of it in his excellent book Give War A Chance.
We are the world [solipsism], we are the children [average age forty].
We are the ones to make a brighter day [unproven], so let’s start giving [logical inference supplied without argument].
There’s a choice we’re making, so let’s start giving [true as far as it goes].
We’re saving our own lives [absurd].
It’s true we’ll make a better day [see line 2 above],
Just you and me [statistically unlikely].

That’s three palpable untruths, two dubious assertions, and nine uses of a first person pro-noun, not a single reference to trouble and anybody in it and no facts. The verse contains, literally, neither rhyme nor reason. And these musical riots of philanthropy address themselves to the wrong problems.

Death is the result of bad politics.
Thanks PJ.


Der Hahn said...

I don't know if this objection would be considered 'theoretical' but I think a Christian might object to the teleological direction of progressive or transnational projects.

A Christian should strive to make a better tomorrow by first and foremost remaking themselves so they better express God's will. At that point they can then begin to touch the lives of others for good, and those individual touches then grow into a change that may affect society as a whole. But it all starts with at an individual level with people who recognize they are imperfect tools in Perfect Hands.

Though WATW make some nods in this direction, the teleology definitely seems to flow in the other direction. The world is flawed (needs to be made brighter and better) while We are enlightened. Our efforts (let's start giving) will make everyone else recognize those flaws, and allow Us to persue our lives unhindered by problems (saving our own lives).

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