Solidarity: From Civic Friendship to a Global Legal Community

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The emphasis is on the joyful recognition of similarity, of sameness, of having found a 'soulmate'. Herein lies the mystery of human solidarity, of the sense of corporate identity and the longing for community. As we seek, behold and discover the 'other' in all of her strangeness, we also recognize who we truly are. In acknowledging our shared humanity through all the differences - in gender or in culture - we grow as fit members of a society. See also Peters This sameness is physical woman taken out of the man , experience of a unity , shared humanity woman taken out of the man and aims becoming one directed at forming a family.

From the beginning, the human being exists in unity of sameness as each other's helpers Gn , who also moves outwards in love from their multiplicity and unity and help and support their family Gn 4.

In 17 of the 20 times that the Hebrew word for 'help' ezer occurs in the Old Testament, it is used in connection with God. In this first covenant, Eve even mentions that she has brought a child into the world with the help of God Gn The human being as the image of God has to follow this creation covenant. Just like God uses sameness to create solidarity from which help flows, it is the duty of the human being to bring about different kinds of sameness from which help will flow to people in need.

It is part of the creation of the human being that as an image bearer he or she will give himself or herself as a gift and help to others. It is appropriate now, however, to point out that sin in Genesis 3 afflicted the image bearing of the human being in such a way that there is an unwillingness sometimes to create the structures of solidarity with a view to help other image bearers of God Clark Maggay refers to the protest of Cain that he sees no reason why he should care about his brother because of their sameness Gn The second covenant that one can refer to is the covenant with Noah Gn In the grounding of solidarity in the covenant, Clark draws the attention to Genesis 'God said to Noah: "This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth"'.

The Bible reveals that God's covenant with Noah included all living creatures, which also implied all humanity.

Hauke Brunkhorst, Solidarity: From Civic Friendship to a Global Legal Community - PhilPapers

VanDrunen explains it further in his book Bioethics and the Christian life :. Genesis and are particularly relevant. In both of these texts God ordained a system of human justice not as the sole possession of those who believed in him but as the common possession of the human race.


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Because God is good to all people Mt ; Ps , the human being has the commission to do good to all people Gl , among others to protect their lives. The human being has to promote the common good Douma Genesis is an indication that God will provide earthly authority in the form of universal codes, such as the UDBHR and Article 13, with the purpose of encouraging and even putting the human being under the obligation to promote solidarity among all people Vorster ; see also Rheeder The third covenant is God's covenant with Abraham and Sarah Gn God created a relationship with Abraham and thereby with a homogeneous group, namely the Israelites.

God promised his blessing to Abraham and the Israelite people. From this relationship of sameness stemmed the duty of not only receiving blessings but also to be a blessing to people close to you family , as well as people far from you, namely the whole earth Gn ; Clark ; Matz The fourth covenant of importance is God's covenant with Moses and his people Ex God also stepped into a relationship with Moses and his people sameness , and from that relationship, he brought glory to his people in love because he had saved them from Egypt and established a rule of law Clark Just like God saved and provided protection, so the people of God sameness had to be a 'priestly kingdom' to the world Ex ; Matz In his sameness with the people of God, Moses followed God in solidarity with the people and as their leader he became part of saving them from Egypt MacLaren The word gives expression to the content or the nature of the covenantal relationship between God and his covenantal partners Ps , as well as between covenantal partners, and it has the meaning of promoting the well-being of the covenantee Ex ; Ps , From a certain togetherness of marital relations Gn ; Rt , Es , 17 , family relations Gn , friendship relations Gn ; 2 Sm , 3, 7 , the well-being of the other is promoted.

Gollwitzer summarises the meaning of the covenantal term, saying, ' … this is the reason for the making of a covenant … in order to make possible for him the behavior of chesed, the behavior of true solidarity'. Christological perspective. In his theological perspective on the grounding of solidarity, MacLaren puts forward in the first place :.

Solidarity is centred on following Christ who 'in assuming human nature … has united to himself all humanity in a supernatural solidarity which makes of it one single family'. In MacLaren's discussion of Christological solidarity, he uses as his starting point the fact that Christ purposively assumed the human nature and thereby created a sameness with the human being.

For Macaleer , the incarnation of Jesus forms the primary grounding of universal bioethical principles in general and solidarity in particular. It means that all instructions and deeds of Christ regarding vulnerable people have to be understood in the context of this sameness. Christ knows the human nature. In the second place , the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar is of the opinion that the deepest grounding of the principle of solidarity is found in the doctrine of 'descended into hell' descendit ad inferos ; 1 Pt , ; Mk This dogmatic concept as it is found in the Apostles' Creed can be understood in two ways as grounds for the concept of solidarity.

The first way is based on a figurative understanding of descending into hell, which refers to Christ's physical suffering, God-forsakenness and rejection on the cross on the Friday. The Biblical grounding for this point of departure is found in the call of anxiety by Christ on the cross Mk ; Cahill Flowing from this sameness, Christ died in the place of the human being on the cross to bear the punishment for sin and in that way brought about salvation Cahill The human being as the image of God must show this self-sacrifice of Christ:.

Solidarity implies a self-transformative process in which everyone involved, oppressed and oppressors alike, place themselves in the condition and situation of 'the other' out of love and respect. Solidarity represents a practise of sacrificial love and self-denial by everyone involved. Magallanes Balthasar , 49 supports the above interpretation, but distinguishes between the events of the cross and descending into hell, thereby suggesting a second way of understanding the latter phrase. According to him, it forms the essence of Christology.

On the Holy Saturday, Christ 'descended into hell', which means he was passively obedient to God as opposed to the crucifixion, when he was actively obedient. The passiveness of Christ is the outstanding feature of the doctrine. On that day, Jesus moved into a situation of extreme passiveness with no possibility of action or communication. Balthasar contends: 'In that same way that, upon earth, he was in solidarity with the living, so, in the tomb, he is in solidarity with the dead'.

Christ went through the condition of death, the condition of total and complete desolation and darkness to show that the human being could be in such a condition and get through it Balthasar , The sameness regarding death changes the lives of human beings now in the sense that death does not pose fear and anxiety and that there is always hope in the darkest situation. Cahill summarises Von Balthasar's grounding of solidarity as a duty as follows:. The solidarity par excellence is found on Holy Saturday where Christ joined in utter passivity and solidarity with the dead, suffering the forsakenness that humanity was due.

Democracy under siege: Democratic solidarity between global crisis and cosmopolitan hope

Similarly, we who are in a privileged position are to seek to be in solidarity with those who are in the darkest places, those most seemingly forsaken. According to Barth , solidarity means to descend into hell together with other vulnerable people every day.

The individualized solidarity of otaku culture

In the third place , grounded in the incarnation and his descending into hell, Christ calls upon the human being to love God and his neighbour, which is according to Nolan a call to solidarity at its very core. Magallanes supports this core idea:. From a Christian perspective … solidarity is grounded in the practice and principle of loving our neighbor, which in the biblical narrative is extended to our enemies.

Mt ; Rm ; p. Between Christ and the believer a bond of love exists that binds believers together as a unity or one body of Christ Col From this sameness of love, the believers are called upon to love others together by searching for and bringing about peace and thus improve the circumstances of people Col Peace brings that which is good into the lives of people Ps , ; Matz For this reason, Christ places so much emphasis on changing people's circumstances and bringing about peace by means of love Mt , 9. In the Old Testament, in the fourth place , there are suggestions of close solidarity, loyalty and preference for what is motivated by a sameness of identity: language, culture, class, ancestors, family, descendants, political and religious denomination Ex Love for your neighbour primarily meant love for the own people and faith group Lv ; MacLaren ; Nolan Clark is of the opinion that the parable of the Good Samaritan Lk as an appeal for love is a clear call for solidarity, not only with family, friends or the local community, or the nation, but also with the other or the stranger.

This is an appeal for universal solidarity. This statement is confirmed by the fact that Jesus calls upon believers to love their enemies Nolan The Good Samaritan gives expression to the image of God, which like God moves outwards and brings about glory. From the sameness of being human and a feeling of empathy, the Samaritan moved out to help the stranger, and the fact that solidarity is practised with enemies indicates that solidarity does not expect anything in return Nolan At the root of love or solidarity is a feeling of empathy or sympathy Lk ; MacLaren The basis of solidarity is the emotion that wells up from the innermost of the human being when he or she sees the need of another human being Lk ; Nolan In my opinion, Nolan goes too far when he says that love and solidarity with the stranger and enemy replaces own or group solidarity.

I think that Jesus broadens the call for solidarity and states it as a duty, but that he does not replace group solidarity with universal solidarity. People form close groups and communities that are frequently the first objective of solidarity and give expression to the duty to show first or more solidarity to the own without excluding the other Gl ; 1 Th , Pneumatological perspective.

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As regards the early Christian community in Acts 2 and 4, Jurgen Moltmann states the following:. This community is the primal image of all Christian communities, and the origin of the fundamental idea of Christian social doctrine: solidarity. If we ask today about a new culture of solidarity in a world of individualization and globalization, we can begin here.


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  • Magallanes affirms the explanation of Moltmann saying, 'Acts is a community where solidarity is well presented'. According to Moltmann and Magallanes, the five themes that form part of a pneumatological understanding and grounding of a culture of solidarity are found in the narrative of Acts 2 and 4. First theme: A community of people existed. The community in the narrative was a group of people that had come to faith in Christ and formed the church Ac , 47; One of the singular characteristics of the community was the diversity of people that had not known each other previously Ac ; Moltmann, Second theme: It was acknowledged that in that community of believers there were people that were in a more privileged position because they possessed abundant sustenance such as land, property and food Ac , 47; ; Magallanes Third theme: The community acknowledged unanimity or sameness with regard to cultural activities, experience and aims Ac The Greek word that is used for 'unanimity' has the meaning of 'sameness'.

    Louw and Nida classify the Greek word for unanimity epi to auto in the subdomain, 'Same or Equivalent Kind or Class', and give the following possible meaning: 'pertaining to that which is identical to something - "same"'. Green translates 'unanimity' as 'solidarity', which is according to him, a synonym for 'koinonia' Ac Furthermore, according to Paul, koinonia means 'sameness' or 'solidarity' 1 Cor ; Hessel From the second part of verse 44, it can be deduced that the believers acknowledged and experienced community.

    With reference to the idea of unanimity, it is also found 'that the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul' Ac - NSRV. It means there was a sameness regarding the feeling and thoughts about specific matters Moltmann Believers further acknowledged and experienced sameness unanimity, one of heart and soul, koinonia regarding faith in Christ Ac ; and cultural, religious practices Ac , ; Fourth theme: Acknowledgement and experience of sameness led to conscious and purposeful actions and help Green There was an active awareness of vulnerable people that did not have the necessary sustenance such as housing and food and it led to help and alleviating their challenging circumstances Magallanes Those in a privileged position sold some of their land with a view to improving the living conditions of the vulnerable people Ac ; Green shows that Acts solidarity with regard to global hunger indicates that solidarity was not only a national phenomenon, but that it indeed also had a global horizon.

    According to Moltmann , further motivation to give help is found in the experience of faith in the resurrection from death by Jesus Christ Ac Some people acknowledge that there is only one life and realise that everyone will die. Fear of death sometimes leads to a reaction of avarice where people cannot get enough out of life. Because believers live from the experience that there is an abundant life after death, they do not have to possess everything in this life and therefore they can share their earthly existence with each other.

    Fifth theme: There is also a connection between solidarity and health Moltmann The sameness idea is continued in the New Testament with the 'we-are-one-body' image of the church Rm ; 1 Cor It is clear that Paul describes the church as a unity and one body, and the sameness is found in the fact that the church is the body of Christ in Christ.

    From the sameness, the duty originates to care for weaker members with the gift of healing 1 Cor , The idea of solidarity is further strengthened by the idea that if one member of the body suffers, all the members suffer together 1 Cor ; Matz Moltmann links solidarity and health as follows:. It is a counter-image to all the societies with social inequality and want … The opposite of poverty is not wealth, but community. In community individuals become rich, rich in friends who can be trusted, rich in mutual help, rich in ideas and powers, rich in the energies of solidarity.