Virtue and Bonhoeffer Actions Essay Example
Virtue and Bonhoeffer Actions Essay Example

Virtue and Bonhoeffer Actions Essay Example

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  • Pages: 3 (818 words)
  • Published: September 17, 2016
  • Type: Essay
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Bonhoeffer’s unique ethical beliefs center on the idea that Christian ethics are a manifestation of God's reality as revealed through Jesus Christ. According to him, humans are incapable of being the ultimate judge of good and evil. As he states, "man is not, and cannot, be the final arbitrator of good and evil" (Bonhoeffer). He argues that our understanding of good and evil is inherently flawed due to the absence of absolute certainty. In the film, Maria discovers his writings on ethics and witnesses his unwavering belief in what he has written.

Maria appears to have doubts about this, but it also makes her contemplate their significance. Bonhoeffer wrote "Being evil is worse than doing evil" during the Holocaust, and I believe he meant that he might be engaging in evil acts to rebel ag


ainst Hitler, but with noble intentions. Consequently, Hitler is evil because his actions do not prioritize the welfare of others, whereas Bonhoeffer's actions did. Bonhoeffer also stated "It is better for a lover of truth to tell a lie than for a liar to tell the truth".

Bonhoeffer expresses to his cell guard that if a teacher were to inquire whether the student's father arrived home intoxicated the previous night, it would be justifiable for the boy to lie and defend his father. This response stems from the teacher's abuse of authority in posing such a question. Maria's reading of Bonhoeffer's ethics note concludes with his phrase, "To escape sin may be the ultimate guilt" (Bonhoeffer). In this statement, Bonhoeffer suggests that engaging in sin for a noble cause holds value, while avoiding sin through cowardice may

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lead to profound remorse. Notably, he specifically refers to the Holocaust.

If he had not rebelled against Hitler, a sin, his Jewish friends and family would have died and he would feel guilt for not taking any action. I agree with this set of ethics more than those proposed by Levinas, Aristotle, and Kant. I find Bonhoeffer's ethics to be more practical than the other philosophers' ethics. While the other sets of ethics make sense to me, they are not the ones I would choose to live by. I believe that if individuals incorporated this ethical stance into their choices and actions, many modern social injustices could be resolved.

By adhering to Bonhoeffer's ethics, it is possible to address various injustices, such as hate crimes against homosexuals, bullying, genocide, child soldiers in Uganda, human trafficking, and the oppressive role of dictators in societies. If standing up for these issues, even if it means committing a sin, can potentially resolve them, then the guilt of being a bystander would outweigh any moral implications of sinning. However, if Bonhoeffer's ethics are misinterpreted, they could potentially exacerbate modern social injustices.

Bonhoeffer's statement that "Better for a lover of truth to tell a lie than for a liar to tell the truth" emphasizes the potential harm caused by continuous lying. Similarly, his phrase "Being evil is worse than doing evil" highlights the importance of understanding the context in which these statements are made. Without a full understanding of Bonhoeffer's ethics, these phrases can be misinterpreted and lead to acceptance of unethical behavior. It is crucial for everyone to comprehend and apply Bonhoeffer's ethics to effectively

address injustice.

Bonhoeffer's perspective on the necessary changes in religion is practical. According to him, the essence of Christianity lies not in conforming to societal norms, but in truly understanding the person of Christ. The crucial aspect of Christianity is to have knowledge of and follow Jesus, regardless of the potential sacrifices. Bonhoeffer advocated for sharing the sufferings of others in a world devoid of godliness, as he believed that experiencing divine suffering was integral to faith. In my opinion, if we fail to share the suffering of others, our faith would undoubtedly be diminished.

When we have awareness of the suffering of others, it leads to the development of new emotions towards them and instills a stronger sense of gratitude within us. It is conceivable for humans to come together in a purposeful manner within organized institutions, yet such structures also impose constraints. When we are not restricted by institutions, our genuine faith becomes apparent as it is not coerced but inherent. The absence of churches would trouble me as they serve as solace for many during moments of distress.

Although not a practicing catholic, having the option to attend a service would make me more comfortable. It is unsettling for someone in need to not have that choice. I anticipate feeling the same way in twenty years as maturity may bring me closer to my faith. This question may be targeted towards those who claimed they would not be impacted by the absence of churches. The presence of institutions does not determine the significance of faith - it remains important regardless.

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