BBC Radio 4:Bishop Richard Harries - 09/03/2018


Good morning. People who spy against their own country arouse strong feelings. Mr Putin has apparently compared Russians who do this to Judas. After all, we are meant to love our country, not betray it. But what if we feel that our country is taking totally the wrong path and proving a deadly danger to itself and others? We have no idea who poisoned Sergei Skripal or what motivated him to become a spy but we do know of people who have worked against their own country for the highest reasons, and I think in particular of one of my heroes, the German pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Bonhoeffer saw that Nazi ideology was opposed to every Christian value in which he believed and on the outbreak of war knew that he was faced with a stark choice: wanting Germany to succeed, which meant the death of Christianity or wanting the survival of Christianity, which meant the destruction of Germany. He could have made that choice safely in New York where he had a job but knew that he could only make it with integrity in Germany itself. So he returned home, and through his high level contacts obtained a job in the Abwehr, the German secret service. He travelled to neutral counties officially to gather information for the Nazis but secretly to use his contacts to convey a message to the allies that there was an opposition in Germany trying to assassinate Hitler. He himself was part of that opposition, and after one abortive attempt was arrested and eventually hanged.

All this time a fierce struggle was going on inside him, for what he was doing went against everything he believed. Not only had he been shaped by the Lutheran tradition of absolute obedience to the state he had, in the face of German militarism, become a convinced pacifist. So how could he contemplate being part of the group trying to kill Hitler? He felt there was no help in the ethical codes he had been shaped by, and that even if he did nothing he would be as guilty as he would be by planning murder. The only answer he decided, was first to ask what Christ asked of him. What did faith’s obedience require? And secondly, what was the quite specific most responsible action he could take at the time?

Thank goodness most of us don’t have to face the extreme situation of being a spy or a double agent, but we are all likely to have ethical dilemmas at one time or another in our lives. For a Christian Bonhoeffers stance still stands in all circumstances. What does Christ ask of us? And for all of us, whatever our beliefs, so does the second part of his answer. What is the most responsible course of action we can take in our particular circumstances? That, for Bonhoeffer, was what it meant to be a morally mature human being.

来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: