Resisting the Therapeutic Reduction: On the Significance of Sin
Christian Bioethics 2007 January-April; (13)1: 105-127
Sin-talk, though politically incorrect, is indispensable. Placing human life under the "hermeneutic of sin" means acknowledging that one ought to aim flawlessly at God, and that one can fail in this endeavor. None of this can be appreciated within the contemporary post-Christian, mindset, which has attempted to reduce religion to morality and culture. In such a secular context, the guilt-feelings connected with the recognition of sin are considered to be harmful; the eternal benefit of a repentance is disregarded. Nevertheless, spirituality appears to have therapeutic benefits. Therefore attempts are made to re-locate within healthcare a religion shorn of its transcendent claims, so as then to harvest the benefits of a spirituality "saved from sin". This reduction of religiosity to its therapeutic function is nourished by a post-modern constructivist construal of religion. This article critically examines the dis-ingenuity marring such recasting, as well as the incoherence of related attempts to reduce transcendence to solidarity, and to re-shape the significance of religious rituals.
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