Thursday, March 24, 2011

thoughts in my head: ends and means

Clearly, this Religion paper has been kicking my thoughts into a spirals and circles. Fortunately for me, the paper is due tomorrow, so I'll finally have to put the writing aside and focus on other things. But I doubt I'll ever stop wrangling with the concepts we have confronted in this class- but I am happy to sit in the process for a while.

I actually had said Religion class this morning (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 in the morning, sunshine!) and we listened to one of Dr. Fr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s early speeches. I'm not sure of the title, but it definitely comes from either 1955 or 1956 because he was discussing the importance of pursuing justice by nonviolent means in relation to the fabulous Ms. Rosa Parks. Listening to his words never fails to give me chills and tears (much like watching the Ben Kingsley Gandhi film never ceases to completely enrapture me for the entire three hours of its duration)! 

In the sermon/speech, he spoke of innumerable profound things, but a quote that most resonated with me was: "Moral ends must be achieved by moral means." He spoke this in reference to the necessity of pursuing justice by nonviolent means. 

In this line of thought, a well-met end is not moral if it was not from a well-intentioned inception/action. This is very like Tolstoy, who believed that our actions are either inherently moral or immoral, not determined by consequence. Bonhoeffer, conversely, said that the consequence was what deemed an action to be right or wrong (thus justification for assassinating Hitler). 

So the end, then, MUST be justified by the means?

If after this awful, bloody battle in Libya ends in a new government and a free people, is it tainted? I think yes. But then again, despite Gandhi's tireless efforts in the liberation of India by nonviolent means, Pakistan was still created as an independent nation rank with tension between the Muslim and Hindu communities. Also tainted, but not inherently by the religions involved or lack of effort from millions of people. 

Arrgh, this food for thought is really starting to fill my brain with more than it can chew!

In other news, I will be starting a new blog series either later this afternoon or tomorrow (probably tomorrow). This series of "thoughts in my head" will not cease, but I think it's going to be an occasional theme when I've got more controversial/pondering-worthy material worth posting. In the meantime, I will have some lighter posts that will provide an interesting framework to compare my life here, in the states now, to my life in Uganda this summer. 

ALSO: my radio show goes back on air this Saturday from 10 AM - 12 PM EST! If you'd like, you can listen by going to this website ( I will actually be interviewing my Religion professor, John Grayson, about his Top 10 Songs. It's going to be very exciting; he's met Rosa Parks, Archbishop Tutu, and a lot of incredible people (while being one of the most humble and kind people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting). 

Okay, off to wonder about if the universe is shaped like the earth (or just whether I want a chai or not, you know. Life of an eighteen-year-old). 

thanks for coming along on this ride with me, friends.

current jam: "sons and daughters" the decemberists (favorite album of all time = the crane wife)
best thing in my life right now: sunshine-y weather and the weekend fast approaching!
days until departure: 73

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