Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hart on the cultural contingency of charity

"Compassion, pity, and charity, as we understand and cherish them, are not objects found in nature, like trees or butterflies or academic philosophers, but are historically contingent conventions of belief and practice, formed by cultural convictions that need never have arisen at all."

David Bentley Hart, Atheist delusions: the Christian revolution and its fashionable enemies (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009), 16. On p. 169 he makes the same comment about conscience, and on p. 180, about our "solicitude for human equality". (But this is also, of course, the point of the entire book.)

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