“[I]n the West, Christianity not only fulfilled the initial cognitive conditions for modern structures of consciousness… Christianity has functioned for the normative self-understanding of modernity as more than a mere precursor or a catalyst. Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom and social solidarity, of an autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, of the individual morality of conscience, human rights, and democracy, is the direct heir to the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in the light of the current challenges of a postnational constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle postmodern talk.”
Pulled from the tail of Jürgen Habermas’s book-length interview Time of Transitions. There’s been some controversy about this quote, but the above is the real thing. The word he uses in German is erbe — heritage or legacy.
- Mark Steyn on why jokes are our social glue
- Cornel West’s testimony (which involves Sly Stone)
- Steven Pinker on how women civilized the West