Narrative Ethics

Using Scientology and Albert Speer as examples, Paul demonstrates how narrative misdirection or a truncated narrative can result in evil. This points to the need of the alternative narrative community of the church in which to ground our ethics.

The picture, then, of a Christianity that does not take into account [being enculturated] is the failure of Christianity in Nazi Germany—I think it’s the failure of a Christianity in the United States—because what Christians often imagine is that being a Christian in no way means that they have to sacrifice participation in the culture at any level. But that it means you can add those symbols of faith without any sacrifice or suffering while remaining comfortable.

Here the failure of humanity is the way that we would join ourselves together. If we would join ourselves for purposes that are inadequate—well that corporate community is subject to becoming evil. If we join ourselves to a Wall Street firm whose only goal is to make profit, do you think that could become evil? What happens with corporate cultures or cultures per se, is that their story is truncated—it’s too small. If we find our stories in these places, being rich on wall street, a movie star, an athlete, if that becomes a kind of end goal, then we’ve joined into precisely the problem. What Wink has realized is that even church—churches set upon numerical growth… you think they can become evil? Yes, because they’ve truncated the story.

Music: Bensound