Views Of Detrich Bonhoeffer And Socrates

Views Of Detrich Bonhoeffer And Socrates

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"The great masquerade of evil has played havoc with all our ethical concepts. For evil to appear disguised as light, charity, historical necessity, or social justice is quite bewildering to anyone brought up on our traditional ethical concepts". Evil should not have a place in the name or eyes of the law other than for the law to bring justice onto the evil which as been committed. The law is there to protect and provide equality and justice to all. People are equal. Each and every person has the ability to make their own decisions which ever way they choose to. Some people make grand decisions and some make poor ones. The majority of the time people are good and they strive to help each other. They generally realize that what they do will have an affect on others. Sometimes however, people's judgment, morals, and how they judge others can become warped. This is when crazy things can start to take place.
Socrates believes that in order to have a fair and just trial everyone involved must be considered equal. He states that he is very unpopular with many people because of the slanders that had been brought against him. The fact that he had become "unpopular" with many people hints that his trial would have been an unjust one considering the jury may have already based their opinion of him. In the same way that Socrates was slandered the Jewish people were also slandered against, making them unpopular and disliked. Both Socrates and the Jewish people because of the slander done to them had started out on the lesser side of equal in the eyes of the law. When evil judgment corrupts the ones doing the judging it begins to weave a troublesome web.
Some people make the decision to be good people, and some people make the decision to be bad people. There are different levels of each of course, but the principle of each is the same- good and evil. The law is good (supposedly) and the people of the law are supposed to be good. They are the ones who bring peace and justice to the countries and communities. If the leaders of the law are corrupt the communities and countries will become corrupt, the barrier between right and wrong will become smaller and smaller, until chaos breaks loose.

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This is what took place during Bonhoeffers time. The rulers of Germany had evil, distorted, and delusional beliefs. They then passed these beliefs onto the citizens. The citizens had been taught to follow the norms and laws passed on to them by it s leaders. These citizens had most likely realized the things that were taking place in their country were horrifying and inhumane but when they had been taught to obey the law how would they make the decision? It would be wrong to break the law and also wrong to follow it. Bonhoeffer states "It is a moral rather than an intellectual defect." The citizen's morals became tainted. They began to believe what they know to be unjust to be in fact justifiable. They began to think of ways to justify their actions and their leaders' actions, leaving what they know deep down to be unjustifiable. "The power of some needs the folly of others." The corrupt leaders relied on the citizens to be cowardly and to not stand up for themselves, each other, and their beliefs. The leaders make it look as if their actions are for good purposes and are trying to help the country and the people. The citizens are too afraid to be thought of as out of the norm and will go on doing what they are told even if it is against their beliefs. There were some people like Bonhoeffer whose morals were much too strong to sit back silently and watch what taking place was, they knew it was wrong, their conscience and morals would not let them rest.
"Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behavior." Those citizens who did not agree with the leaders but did not stand up for what they knew to be right may as well have just agreed with the leaders anyway. What good was it for them to know there were so many people being treated with such an unjust and for them to do nothing about it? This is why it is so dangerous when countries' leaders have anything but the best good intentions for their people.
It can be hard to consider ones self equal to another if one does not know the way of life of the other person. Often people of higher classes think themselves "better" than the people of lower classes. The old saying "don't judge another until you have walked a mile in their shoes" holds very true. If these higher class citizens had to spend time seeing what it was like for the lower classes and even the poverty struck, maybe they would change their minds about what equality was. Bonhoeffer says "we must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer." He means that we have to look into the reasons a person would have for doing what they do. If a person committed a crime for what reason did they have for committing it? Was that person trying to survive? Were they trying to help another? Or were they acting a purely evil manor?
The supposed wise men of Athens and the corrupt leaders of Germany were very much alike. The wise men of Athens believed themselves to be very wise and important. They believed that they were of higher status and class than the rest of Athens citizens. Socrates points out that their knowledge means nothing. He tries to show them that they are just the same and equal to the rest of Athens citizens. This makes him disliked, and it angers the wise men. Like the wise men of Athens the leaders of Germany believe that Jewish people are of a lower class than themselves, and the non Jewish citizens. Like Socrates had been punished for trying to point out the equal ness of the citizens of Athens, anyone who went against the German leaders and tried to stand up for the equality of the Jewish people was also punished. The feeling of believing ones self to be better than another is a very dangerous thing it leads to many, many problems and in particular, if it is the leaders in power who believe the citizens of their country to be unequal it can lead to injustice in the law.
Both Socrates and Bonhoeffer believe that trusting one another and telling the truth are what leads to greatness, peace, and prosperity. Socrates states over and over again that he must tell the truth and even though it ashamed him to do so. If people do not tell one and other the truth they will never be able to trust each other and trust is one of the most valued things in life. It is there until it is broken and when it has been broken it can be near impossible to regain again. "Trust will always be one of the greatest, rarest, and happiest blessings of our life in community, though it can emerge only on the dark background of a necessary mistrust. We have learnt never to trust a scoundrel an inch, but to give ourselves to the trustworthy without reserve." If a country cannot trust the leaders in power then how can the people of that country trust each other when what they are being taught by the leaders themselves is nothing but mistrust?
"The Christian is called to sympathy and action, not in the first place by his own sufferings, but by the sufferings of his brethren for whose sake Christ suffered" People need to reach out and help when another is in need. They must put there own worries and fears far behind them. Being there for each other and lending a helping hand when someone needs it is the single most important most important part of life, it is what life is all about. They need to do this for each other regardless of the other persons color, race, religion, bank account size, height, weight, last name, first name, job, or what ever the case may be, prejudice should not exist. Each and every person is equal.
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