What is most significant and modern about Jesus’ ethical teaching, from a sociological point of view, is that it widens the circle of those deserving our love, respect, and concern to include all members of what we now recognize as Homo sapiens. That is, Jesus taught that the family of Man includes all people, not just our biological relatives, nor our group or tribe or race or nation or gender. The Good Samaritan was good because he helped a stranger who belonged to another group; Jesus chose him as example because he was not of the Hebrew tribe, yet acknowledged the humanity of another in need. His teaching was to love your neighbor as yourself—and that the neighborhood has no bounds. In particular he admonished us to love our enemies. Here two issues are addressed at once: to overcome the individual bias of self-interest, and to overcome the social phobia against otherness. Your enemy is your competitor, and often a member of another tribe as well.
RELATED TAGS: [Jesus’/Christian ethical teaching, sociology of Christ, family of man, Good Samaritan, love your neighbor as yourself, love your enemy, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, ethnocentricity]
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