Veritas Forums the Week Dad Died (January 2018)

What it Means to be Human?

The video for the Veritas Forum from Thursday night, at UCSB with Dr. Steve Smith (a grief counselor) and Dr. S Joshua Swamidass was posted. This was an intense moment. It was just two days before my father’s funeral, and a couple weeks before several people had died in Santa Barbara in mudslides.

My answer to the question: at least part of what it means to be human is to enter into grief. Other animals grieve too, but we grieve in a different way. It is humanizing, for example, to grieve the loss of Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago, and to grieve the segregation of science (just published on this here, Essay: "Grieve the Segregation of Science" by S. Joshua Swamidass). No other creatures perceive or grieve these things.

This was an emotionally intense and meaningful forum for me. I was thinking a lot about this photo of my father and my son. I was grieving his loss this talk, as I continue to do so to this moment. One difference between grief and depression is that grief usually takes place in public. It was difficult, and meaningful, and formative, to grieve in such a public way, just two days before my father’s funeral.

In the Q&A, I also was able to explain how I am coming to view injustice and original sin. Quoting from a recent article:

In our current moment, liberal theology is uncomfortable with the corporate guilt of “original sin,” but often echoes secular discourse on social justice and systemic injustice. Similarly, conservative theology affirms the doctrine of “original sin,” but resists naming anything but individual actions as sinful. Coming to a common language, perhaps working out the corporate nature of original sin might give us a better account of the segregated world. Instead of echoing or opposing secular rhetoric, we might recover a theological voice on injustice.
Essay: "Grieve the Segregation of Science" by S. Joshua Swamidass

1 Like