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Kwame Appiah talks about how moral hostilities can be disarmed in 21st Century America. This topic is interesting because the modern church today and specifically American protestant churches continue to battle with issues related to unity because of schisms and separations. This was epitomized by sectional conflicts during the civil wars hence mainline Protestantism and evangelicalism.
The moral hostilities between the mainline Protestants and the evangelicals have taken different forms like when the Supreme Court made a ruling that barred government-sponsored prayer in public schools and subsequently allowing abortion in their 1963 ruling, some mainstream churches were on the offensive and instead advocated for a Christian America that cherished family values and various militancy (Neusner 38). At that time when the slave trade was still thriving in America, the Baptists and the Methodists blatantly encouraged the slave trade in the south. They instead opposed it in the north.
Justification for choosing this work
I specifically chose to listen to this Radio interview between Kwame Anthony Appiah and Krista Tippet because I intended to listen to the actual stand Appiah had on how to disarm moral hostilities in our society other than reading it from a newspaper or magazine where there may be distortion largely due to paraphrasing. Other than that, Krista Tippett’s show is reputable and any information that comes from it is credible.
Connection to class work
The interview captures how moral hostilities in the present day America can be disarmed. Tippett begins by giving a brief History of Anthony Appiah who was born to an African father and British mother in 1953. Their marriage influenced the production of the movie “Guess who is coming to Dinner.” Theirs was a multinational and multiracial marriage. On moral revolution, human identity, and ethics, Appiah talks of a world full of strangers.
He believes that a republic can only be built by people coming together. On matters relating to morality and religion, Appiah believes that people should not face off directly. They should instead undertake to slide off liking talking about soccer. His parents came from leading respective families, the mother being the daughter of former chancellor exchequer of the British government. Their marriage was therefore a morally unthinkable union.
It rocked the British Empire (Kwame 10). It deeds mark the beginning of generation change. However, all these seemed less to him. Appiah talks of a time when they went to visit their maternal grandmother in England and people were all over his mother asking her whether she had left her husband. But the mother simply said she came to visit her parents.
To shame those who doubted the marriage, his father and mother lived together up to the time of their death. Appiah’s mother was buried in Ghana. He says that the marriage between the two parents was sustained by the Christian values they ascribed to. They did not oppose interracial marriage. They never had any suspicion that whatever they were doing was wrong. He says his formative days in medical school was hectic and risked being discontinued due to poor performance because he found medicine so boring.
This made him alter to philosophy because he loved sitting down with all kinds of questions that touched on moral codes, metaphysics, or epistemology focusing on them for most of the night. As a young evangelical teenager, he cherished philosophy and theology. He preoccupied himself with questions that bordered on “What is it for human life to go well?”
Lessons from the Work
The theme of his philosophical work was anchored on why many things are relevant (Tippett, 1). The most challenging responsibility of human beings is to endeavor to explain why human life is the way it is. On hostility, he does not like rebuking people instantaneously because in the world we live in people express themselves without editing. He says that when he felt like sending an angry letter to someone the grandmother always advised that he puts the letter under his pillow and see how he feels the next day.
He says that the most important thing in taming hostility is to consider the distance in time between what you say and when it goes out hence before sending some provocative mail to someone through the internet one must know that the send button does not come with a 24-hour delay built into it.
He reckons that the kind of language used on the internet would be very difficult to use on a face-to-face basis. It is evident from the interview that media does impact the study of religion and can therefore be used to institutionalize moral principles in the society or can be used to fuel moral hostility. It is also clear that sliding as opposed to facing off can be used to tame religious hostilities. Our religious beliefs can also help in saving the imminent collapse of our families especially in set-ups where racial bigotry heavily influences people’s day-to-day lives. Moreover, our religious beliefs can help in shaping our future careers.
Kwame, Anthony. Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in the World of strangers. New York: Norton, 2006.
Neusner, Jacob. World Religions in America: An Introduction. Westminster: John Knox Press, 1994.
Tippett, Krista. Sidling up to the difference. On Being. American Public Media. 2011. Web.