By Laurent Gagnebin
Translation Louise Thunin
Here’s a word we don’t like very much. « Values » do help us bring together very different people, even with opposing views, on the subject of the same exalted ideal. They promote universal humanism. They offer something everyone can agree on.
But the Gospel doesn’t propose an ideal. It doesn’t mobilize us around ideas. In fact it tells us to prefer loving our neighbor rather than someone far away. In the name of a certain conception of a Human Being, capital H) too many human beings have often been sacrificed.
Values (Justice, Truth, Liberty, Solidarity, Equality and so on) can become morbid abstractions. In the name of THE Truth, have we not, for example, persecuted, tortured, condemned to death, lit pyres or built « reeducation » and extermination camps ? Dictators as well claim they are struggling for liberty and to free their subjects.
The defense of values is easily found in simple and conformist discourse. You don’t risk being contradicted on values. They don’t ask you to commit to much. They bring people together in a floppy form of unity which leads to nothing. On the subject of these values, the philosopher, Dominique Collin, in 2018 in « Christianity Doesn’t Exist Yet », « Their inoffensive emptiness leads us to think that all we need to do is preach to appear illumined by the best of intentions. » Thanks to them and their vague discourse, we don’t have to live an everyday Gospel, which invites us to simple and concrete acts : « I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. » (Mt. 25 : 35-36).
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