Home > Links > A Hermeneutic of Generosity « Intersections: Thoughts on Religion, Culture, and Politics

A Hermeneutic of Generosity « Intersections: Thoughts on Religion, Culture, and Politics

There are no concrete tactics to fuel the imagination here, but what seems like an obvious point is often lost:

“We live in an increasingly partisan world. This is not news. But it’s the news “business,” in many ways, that has made it so… Reasoned debate has been replaced by ridicule and contempt–sarcastic one-liners that seek a laugh while also trying to diminish the other’s humanity. Again, none of this is new(s)…

Calls for civility seem like a good idea in times like these. But civility, I fear, isn’t up to the task. Its other name–politeness–reminds us that it alone cannot bear the burden of what it’s asked to do in and for a deeply divided populace–either at the level of public debate or personal exchanges.

People who maintain long-term friendships with those whom they strenuously disagree with are usually possessed of a repertoire of skills and habits that make such relationships possible, that in fact govern their lives in their totality. They are innately curious about the world and other people…  They are also truth-tellers…

What sums up Farmer’s approach to negotiating the difficulties of… profound disagreements is something he calls the hermeneutic of generosity:   interpreting what others say or intend in a favorable light…

TV’s talking heads have a stake in keeping us alienated from one another, as do many politicians who have learned from the media to trade in fear-mongering and melodrama. But their ways don’t have be mimicked.”

via A Hermeneutic of Generosity « Intersections: Thoughts on Religion, Culture, and Politics.

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