My daughter arrived home with colored pictures of both “pilgrims” and “native Americans” today (Note: some of the pilgrims were colored by my daughter with dark skin, and some of the “native Americans” with light skin). I quizzed her, to see what language they were teaching her to make sense of Thanksgiving.
Me (holding up a “pilgrim”): Who is this?
Kathleen: A Pilgrim.
Me (holding up a Native American male): And who is this?
Kathleen: A Canadian, I think.
Me (Holding up a Native American female): And who is this.
Kathleen: A Shaker … because she has a belt with bells on it.
My Conclusion: think it is safe to say that her school is not teaching them about Pilgrims and “Indians.” But it is not clear what they are teaching her about!
Today in an ethics class, two students offered a presentation on Rick Grimes, a character in the show Walking Dead. I attempted to propose a counter analysis but was brought up short, primarily because, as it turns out, it is really hard to articulate an adequate Kantian account of the moral status of zombies.
Let me suggest a reason. For all the claims that “everything happens for a reason,” we recognize that some things do not happen according to reason. True tragedy exists in the world, when those who do not deserve it, yet receive suffering.
Our humanity (here, a normative term), demands something else. It demands something like justice. It demands fulfillment, even of those lives that are not capable of fulfillment. This is why we act as much as possible to make lives fulfilling, even for those who cannot be fulfilled by a full life.
The truth of this need, the need for our neighbor to be fulfilled, is a central claim within the Christian narrative. This is a part of my own culture, and a part I cannot reject. It is a basic matter of faith to me. It is the best “argument” for (or perhaps better, “experience of”) Christianity that I know.
Augustine believed that contemplation of the nature of The Trinity would be edifying; spurring on Love of God and neighbor. So, when my girls began to fight in the back seat on the way home from school, I gave them a short synopsis of how Augustine imagined the Trinity as analogous to a Self’s constitutive, willful awareness of itself.
When this didn’t work, I gave each of them a piece of gum to chew.
For the record, the score is now: Trinitarian God – 0, Bazooka Joe – 1.