A new idea of humanity

“To convert [to a religion] is to announce your allegiance to a new tribe, or a new idea of humanity.”
           Andrew Brown

I’ve had this quote sitting around in my ‘drafts’ for a long time. Andrew Brown is a writer for the Guardian and editor of the Guardian website’s ‘Comment is Free’ Belief section. He’s not a Christian (or a member of any other religion), but he does seem to have a really good understanding of what faith is all about.

I like his last five words – ‘a new idea of humanity’. Every belief system (and I include philosophies and atheism in that term) has an idea of humanity. It has a story about where we came from, what the problem of humanity is, what the solution is, and where we’re going.

Aligning yourself with a religion or a philosophy – particularly when done deliberately or self-consciously – means living differently in the light of what you believe about those (and possibly some other) core questions.

Even if your answer is ‘I don’t know, and I don’t think it really matters’, that belief will shape how you run your life, how you relate to others and what you value.

What do you think?
What’s your understanding of who we are,
what’s wrong, how we can fix it and where we’re heading?

And how is that shaping how you live?

1 Comment On This Topic
  1. jon
    on May 21st at 4:08 pm

    hey! it’s been far too long since i’ve plugged into your blog… for me, i can definitely say i like the concept of an allegiance to a “new idea of humanity” more than the idea of “allegiance to a new tribe.” but maybe i’m showing my hand a bit in saying that. i want my allegiance to be to the way of Jesus alone, and i know that includes being a part of a tribe (the body, the church), but desirous to fully love yet being consistently frustrated by members of that tribe challenges me (meanwhile i’m sure that i’m no better).

    so, while i wish to stay dedicated to that tribe (uhh… however that looks like… insert minefield here), it seems to resonate more fully with me (or is simply easier for my head to focus on) to pledge my allegiance not to a flag but to an idea (or a story as maybe donald miller might say)… one that points to a Kingdom… and yet not to a kingdom with physical boundaries and hate, fear, or pride-filled nationalistic tendencies and border guards, but a realm that is the Way of Life…

    hmm… did i just say a lot and nothing at the same time? i hope not…


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