Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Personalism and the Scandal of Particularity

There is an interesting bit on the scandal of particularity over at Disputations. It's a question that never even occurred to me, but apparently "the scandal of particularity" is the theological term for the difficulty in believing God would reveal Himself as a particular man in a particular place at a particular time, rather than in some more universal way. It's a good question, and it may tie into a Christian scandal that I have considered, and which Percy Walker refers to simply as THE Christian Scandal.

The "Christian scandal," Percy says in this interview, is its "emphasis on individual human life." Without that scandalous emphasis, anything goes, including the gas chambers. The importance of encounter of person with immediate existence, the accommodation to this place and this time, which is so heavy a theme in recent literature of the American South, is exactly the issue…MORE >>>

In some subtle way, the particularity of the Incarnation may act to focus our ethics on the particularity of each and every person. “What you do unto the least of your brethren, you do unto me.“ With this overarching insistence on the actual person(s), Christianity avoids the temptation and the horror of utopian and unattached compassion… the kind of compassion that leads to abortion, totalitarianism and the gas chambers.

The inalienable dignity of the person made in the image of God is absolutely and undeniably affirmed through the mystery of Incarnation wherein God Himself becomes a particular person in a particular place at a particular time.

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