Reflection Based on the Book Scandalous Obligation by Erick Severson (Essay Sample)
The paper was a reflection based on the book Scandalous Obligation by Erick Severson.The Paper required me to identify a major theme in the book and write on it from my own perspective.source..
Scandalous Obligation: Rethinking Christian Responsibility is a Christian centered book written by Erick Severson.One of the main themes in the book is responsibility. Responsibility touches on ethics and is defined as the act of looking out for the interests of others. Erick intelligently delves into the issue and examines what Christian responsibility is all about. According to him, responsibility entails more than the perceived definition given to it by religious doctrines, legal systems or human communities. He looks at the issues which prevent Christians from practicing true responsibility in their daily lives (Severson, 2011). They include the dilemma of competing calls, the temptation to avoid responsibility and the slippery nature of the obligation.Severson brilliantly uses scripture, Insights and illustrations from classical literature to drive his point home. This paper will examine one of the issues raised by Severson in his work, which is the question of “I” and how it ultimately summarizes the whole argument about responsibility.
From the first chapter of his book, “Responsibility Reconsidered,” Severson highlights the meaning of responsibility in different contexts. On the religious context, the Jewish and Christian factions advocate for a certain responsibility whose main goal is to secure divine approval. Thus, whenever individuals are acting responsibly, it is because they want to please the higher being. The person they might be caring for through their acts is only secondary.Severson refers to the bible, (Mark 10:17) where a young rich ruler approached Jesus enquiring what he must do in order to inherit eternal life. Jesus told the man that he must sell all his property and help the poor. On doing that, he could now come and follow him hence gain eternal life (Severson, 2011). The young ruler was after his own eternal bliss. He was discouraged because Jesus asked him to be more responsible than he could have expected. Very many Christians find themselves in a similar predicament today. They ask the question of responsibility for the sake of themselves but not for the sake of others. Jesus challenges this kind of thinking and wants his followers to ask responsibility not based on “I” but “Others”.
On the Human context, communities declare responsibility where fault is found. People take responsibility for acts they have caused. Sadly, there is a lot of suffering out there for which no one takes responsibility. This leaves the aggrieved at the mercies of fate and destiny. Even in cases where people take responsibility, they are blatantly ignorant of the damages and harm they have caused to others. The current problems of racism and sexism being experienced today are as a result of this. In the legal context, courts find themselves at crossroads when administering justice (Severson, 2011). They simply reduce responsibility to a formula. From the above arguments by Severson, it is evident that the main problem as pertains the question of responsibility revolves around the “I” mentality. I am going to provide a reflection of the paper based on this argument.
The “I” mentality has faced criticism from time immemorial. Kant, an early philosopher, urges us to act in a manner that we treat humanity as an end in itself and not a means to an end. This thinking is important in instilling the sense of responsibility amongst peo
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