Thursday, September 10, 2015

Do Mennonite Young People Have Ethics or Faith?

Goshen College: A Mennonite college
Interesting question posed by Richard Kauffman, book review editor of The Christian Century and a practicing Mennonite.

He writes:


Recently a Bible professor at one of our Mennonite colleges said to me that when her Mennonite students talk about faith, it is all about ethics. It’s not about God or worship, but rather what we do, especially work for peace and justice. I’m afraid that these students may have learned their Mennonite lessons all too well.
Stanley Hauerwas has convinced me that many contemporary Christians are Kantians, whether they know it or not. This would include at least some Mennonites. Immanuel Kant wanted to be rid of religious myths (biblical narratives?) and replace them with universal moral principles (peace and justice?). He replaced theology with ethics. Which of course brings us back to our Mennonite college professor’s students for whom faith is about ethics, especially a concern for peace and justice — what I have come to call P&Jism.
Read the rest of Kauffman's piece at Mennonite World Review here.
I know (and have known) a lot of Mennonite (and Anabaptist) young people whose faith does include spirituality and worship.  I also know (and have known) some Mennonite (and Anabaptist) young people (and adults) who define their faith solely in terms of ethics.

Thanks to Kauffman for giving some definition to some of my scattered thoughts on this topic.