The Words of the Kaufmann Family
Judaism and Christianity: Initial Thoughts on Lineage and Environment
Prepared for the International Conference on Human Rights and Our Responsibilities Toward Future Generations
This paper approaches the question of inter-generationality from purely conceptual and so far as possible theological grounds.
The question of responsibility to future generations invites commentary from a number of standpoints.
This author chooses just two. The question of lineage (as a bio/spiritual reality) and the question of environment considered as the arena in which the divine purpose for human existence is carried out.
In keeping with the conference theme and sponsorship, such a paper should properly conduct this comparison among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. That this paper examines these concepts only from Christian and Jewish ideas is a result of the author's caution based on inadequate familiarity with the theological intuition of Islam on such matters. Islam is by all means a proper counterpoint to these reflections. To be considered complete the paper presented should be expanded to include Islamic concepts which pertain to these questions and issues.
Whence derives any responsibility for future generations? If there does in fact exist such a responsibility, what is its content? Just what precisely is owed future generations, and why that in particular. This paper searches Judaism and Christianity for insights into these basic questions which seem to underlie the conference purpose and recommended themes.
It is concluded that there exists on scriptural and theological grounds the obligation to provide each generation with an in tact access to the Divine, and a healthy natural environment in which to bring to fruition the potential of this access.
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