Equality-uniqueness is not the same as equality-sameness. The firstrecognizes our claim top a unique identity and dignity. The second desires totake away what is unique and to submerge it in uniformity. Thus, modernmovements such us Socialism have disfigured the original Christian impulse ofequality. Like Christianity, modern Socialist movements reject the Platonicstratification of citizens into gold, silver, and lead. But their materialisticimpulse led them to pull people down, to place all on the same level. This wasan ugly program.
4. . It is true that virtually all people havetraditions of care for those in need. However, in most religious traditions,these movements of the heart are limited to ones own family, kin, ornation. In some ancient cultures, young males in particular were taught to behard and insensitive to pain, so that they could be sufficiently cruel toenemies. Terror was the instrument intended to drive outsiders away from theterritory of the tribe. In principle (though not always in practice),Christianity opposed this limitation by encouraging the impulse to reach out,especially to the most vulnerable, the poor, the hungry, the wretched, those inprison, the hopeless, the sick, and others. It told humans to love theirenemies. This is the "solidarity" whose necessity for modernity Rortyperceives.
: The Essay on Christianity was first given by Lady Shelley, in the Shelley Memorials (1859), where it is accompanied by the following note:—"The reader will observe some unfinished sentences in the course of this Essay; but it has been thought advisable to print it exactly as it was found, with the exception of a few conjectural words inserted between brackets." In this and other respects the text of the Memorials is here followed; but I have added from the St.
Yet at the same time, Christianity (like Judaism before it) is also thereligion of a particular kind of God: Not the Deist who looks down on all thingsfrom an olympian height but the God of one chosen people and, in Christianityscase, a God who became The Christian God was carried in thewomb of a single woman, among a particular people, at a precise intersection oftime and space, and nourished in a local community then practically unknown tothe rest of the peoples on this planet. Christianity is a religion of theconcrete and the universal. It pays attention the flesh, the particular, theconcrete, and each single intersection of space and time; its God is the God ofthe "daple-dawn-drawn" poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, the "prudence"of St. Thomas Aquinas, and the respect for the of theUniversity of Paris. Its God is the God of singulars, the God who Himself becamea singular man. At the same time, the Christian God is the Creator of all.
3. . In Platos citizens were divided inthis way: A few were of gold, a slightly larger body of silver, and the vastmajority of lead. The last had the souls of slaves, and it was fitting that theybe treated as ends in themselves. For Judaism and Christianity, on the contrary,the God who made every single child gave worth and dignity to each of them,however weak and vulnerable. «What you do unto the least of these, you dounto me». God identified Himself with the most humble and most vulnerable.