Justifying Ourselves to Others

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

  • John 13:34-35

“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

  • Leviticus 19:18

“According to the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas, modern society depends not only on technological advances, but also upon our ability to criticize and reason collectively about our own traditions. Reason, says Habermas, lies at the heart of our everyday communications. Somebody says or does something, and we say, ‘Why did you do that?’ or ‘Why did you say that?’ We continually ask for justifications, which is why Habermas talks about ‘communicative’ reason. Reason, for him, is not about discovering abstract truths, but about the need we have to justify ourselves to others.
“In the 1960s and 1970s, Habermas concluded that there was a link between communicative reason and what he calls the ‘public sphere.’ Up until the 18th century, he states, European culture was largely ‘representational’, meaning that the ruling classes sought to ‘represent’ themselves to their subjects with displays of power that required no justification, such as impressive pageants or grand architectural projects. But in the 18th century, a variety of public spaces emerged that were outside state control, including literary salons and coffee houses. These were places where individuals could gather to engage in conversation or reasoned debate. This growth of the public sphere led to increased opportunities to question the authority of representational state culture. The public sphere became a ‘third space’, a buffer between the private space of our immediate friends and family, and the space occupied by state control.
“By establishing a public sphere, we also open up more opportunities for recognizing that we have interests in common with other private individuals-interests that the state may fail to serve. This can lead to questioning the actions of the state. Habermas believes that the growth of the public sphere helped to trigger the French Revolution in 1789.
“The expansion of the public sphere, from the 18th century onward, has led to a growth of democratically elected political institutions, independent courts, and bills of rights. But Habermas believes that many of these brakes on the arbitrary use of power are now under threat. Newspapers, for example, can offer opportunities for reasoned dialogue between private individuals, but if the press is controlled by large corporations, such opportunities may diminish. Informed debate on issues of substance is replaced with celebrity gossip, and we are transformed from critical, rational agents into mindless consumers.”

  • Sam Atkinson (senior editor), The Philosophy Book, Big Ideas Simply Explained

Two notes here: The mission that Rev. David Robertson was called to in Australia was to start a “third space” where the secular society and the Christian society could have intelligent discourse.  It was started by the City Bible Forum, and you can access their website at thirdspace.org.au  I thought of it with the quote using “third space” in a different context.

The other note is that the Scripture talk about loving one another or our neighbors.  Jesus even taught us to love our enemies.  If this public sphere provides a means of “communicative reasoning” in a Christian perspective of loving and respecting, and even at times, loving the person without agreeing with their views, with mutual respect as a result…  If we could accomplish that, which is impossible without God, we could light a fire of love for one another that could not be quenched by any evil despot in this world.  Justifying ourselves to others in love is basically loving one another.  We then obtain justification by our shown love being accepted and returned.

One of the most profound experiences in the life of Jürgen Habermas (1929-   ) was in his teenaged years.  He had grown up in Germany, almost entirely under the rule of the Nazi Party.  During the Nuremberg Trials, he concluded “we have been living in a criminal system.”

Again, like Noam Chomsky last week, he is part prophet when he claimed that when the media are controlled by large corporations, as they are, we are fed with banal information, making us mindless consumers, and even the “news” that is “reported” is slanted to the views of the few who run those corporations.  We are already there.  One of my goals in these philosophy “lessons” is to encourage people to think and fight mindless consumerism.

In a little side note in the article on Habermas, they talked about coffee houses in the 18th century.  It was where “the disaffected met.”  As the discussions in these coffee houses became political, the government made numerous attempts to shut them down.  Maybe that is why there was little opposition to the rule of the Nazi party in that everyone knew that they could not trust any public discussion that was against the Nazi party.

In thinking of our modern situation, we have freedom of speech, but is that freedom widely accepted?  We have universities that provide “safe places” or “safe spaces” so that students are not “harmed” by views that are different than their own.  Yet, Christians are not awarded such spaces.

We have political correctness, that although not all of it is by law, it becomes a framework that if you do not stay within proper parameters, you are cancelled, ghosted, or abused in other ways.  Odd, how we create a system that was created to not offend, and yet, the system, if we really think about it, should offend everyone.

My wife recently watched the movie, Porky’s (1981).  Why?!  I have no idea.  But rather than talk about the sexual overtones, undertones, and blatant teenaged madness, she talked about the words being used for various ethnic groups, not just the “N” word, but words for a half dozen European country’s emigrants.  The changing of the language in that regard is not complete, but it was welcomed by most of society.  Yet, they went from that type of political correctness into mind control and brainwashing, to the point now that those that oppose certain aspects of the mind control, those that still can think, are considered deplorables or some other derogatory name.  From eliminating derogatory names to encouraging the use of them, PC has gone too far and will be part of the destruction of all democratic societies.

And while this website has not been shut down, I have been censored on occasion on social media, with links to articles deleted.  With each loophole in their mind control agenda, the media, social media, and many governments are trying to control all aspects of communication.

We may be left with a coffee house speakeasy, where the only means of intelligent discourse will be by giving a code word through a tiny window in the door before being allowed to enter.

Let it not be so.  One of those freedoms that is on the agenda to be removed is the freedom to tell others that Jesus loves them and the only way to God the Father is through Jesus.

Let us spread the word that God loves us while we still have the freedom to do so.

If you like these Tuesday morning essays about philosophy and other “heavy topics,” but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Tuesday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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