The Saints in Our World

Robert Wuthnow

in Christianity in the Twenty-First Century

Published in print June 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096514
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853380 | DOI:
The Saints in Our World

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If one of the serious ethical challenges facing Christians in the 21st century is having personal stories that tell Christians how to be caring and compassionate, then a similar challenge exists as Americans think about themselves collectively. For believers and non-believers alike, there need to be heroes, public figures, role models at the collective level who can exemplify the nation's highest ethical ideals. These “contemporary saints” are likely to be different in the 21st century than the ones we admire today. Men and women of compassion have always been included among the heroes and public figures we most admire. Prominent examples are Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Albert Schweitzer, Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta King, Pope John Paul II, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. These people are not only compassionate but also individualistic. We see their goodness and try to draw lessons from it. We also see their individualism, emphasizing it above many of their other qualities, and take comfort from it.

Keywords: contemporary saints; heroes; caring; compassion; individualism; Christians; role models; Mother Teresa; Pope John Paul II; Desmond Tutu

Chapter.  5302 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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