The Making of Humanity

What is humanity? What is to become of humanity? As speaking animals, human beings have constantly asked such questions, because our humanity is not only what we are given but what we make of it. Religions are concerned with such questions. SoF rejects their supernatural claims and regards religions as human creations but nevertheless thinks they embody valuable human wisdom.

In the Christian religion Jesus preaches the gospel of the kingdom or 'reign' of God, which is good news to the poor: 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now for you will be filled.' Jesus inaugurates this 'reign' but it is not yet complete. It is both now ('among' or 'within' us) and not yet. Jesus thought that God guaranteed it and perhaps that it would come quite soon. But of course people on Earth are still poor and hungry and we are still waiting for the reign of justice and peace. If we do not believe in a supernatural God, we have no guarantee this 'reign' will come, but the vision of a global just society in which everyone has a decent life is a noble one, for which we humans ourselves can struggle. It is a humanist vision.

Paul's Letters focus on Jesus as the Christ — his incarnation, death, resurrection and second coming. He is both Jesus the person and the eponymous hero of his people, the new Adam, representative of humanity in all its potential. His epic story becomes a poem or drama of humanity's — and the whole Earth's — struggle for fulfilment. In Christ, in this new humanity, 'all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell'.

In the book of Revelation humanity's fulfilment is seen as a marriage: of Christ and his bride who is 'the holy city, the new Jerusalem', bringing God down to Earth: 'See the dwelling of God is among humans. He will dwell with them. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'

Jesus' preaching of good news to the poor and hungry, Paul's vision of the cosmic Christ and Revelation's marriage of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem coming on Earth, have inspired countless thousands over the centuries to struggle for a kinder world and to live good lives themselves. Still, some might think even more nobly without a supernatural God to guarantee it, the struggle continues.

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