Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Bonhoeffer Today

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Bonhoeffer Today

Article excerpt

Pastor Dietnch Bonhoeffer, born in 1906 and martyred by the Nazis on April 9, 1945, well understood the demonic nature of political utopianism. When "eternities are demanded of life," the powers of the earth readily pay the price of death in order to force life to deliver on the demand. Pastor Bonhoeffer wrote in his Ethics:

The miracle of Christ's resurrection makes nonsense of that idolization of death which is prevalent among us today. Where death is the last thing, fear of death is combined "with defiance. Where death is the last thing, earthly life is all or nothing. Boastful reliance on earthly eternities goes side by side with a frivolous playing with life. A convulsive acceptance and seizing hold of life stands cheek by jowl with indifference and contempt for life. There is no clearer indication of the idolization of death than when a period claims to be building for eternity and yet life has no value in this period, or when big words are spoken of a new man, of a new world and of a new society which is to be ushered in, and yet all that is new is the destruction of life as we have it. …

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