To commit sin is not simply to make a wrong choice, but to succumb to an evil
power. Before the crime, Cain was both a potential prey and a potential master
of a predator called "sin"; Cain murdered, because he fell prey to what he
refused to master.
Just as there is no absolute standpoint from which relative human beings can
make absolute judgments, so also there is no "pure" space from which corrupt
human beings can make pure judgments about purity and corruption.
...one of the most insidious aspects of the practice of evil. In addition to inflicting
harm, the practice of evil keeps re-creating a world without innocence. Evil
generates new evil as evildoers fashion victims in their own ugly image.
Identity is the result of the distinction from the other and the internalization of the
relationship to the other; it arises out of the complex history of "differentiation" in
which both the self and the other take part by negotiating their identities in
interaction with one another. Hence, as Paul Ricoeur has argued in Oneself asAnother, "the selfhood of oneself implies otherness to such an intimate degree
that one cannot be thought of without the other" (Ricoeur 1992, 3).
"Unlike the soul represented by Christian theology," writes Foucault, the
modern individual "is not born in sin and subject to punishment, but is born
rather out of methods of... constraint" (29)... society exercise[s] "a power of
normalization" (308)... As a power of normalization, exclusion reigns through
all those institutions that we may associate with inclusionary civilization...
they all shape "normal" citizens with "normal" knowledge, values, and practices,
and thereby either assimilate or eject the "ab-normal" other. The modern
self, claims Foucault..., is indirectly constituted through the exclusion of the
other (Foucault 1988b, 146).
One way out of the dilemma [in order to enjoy the blessings of God aperson had to be a member of a particular tribe, Israel]... was to regard the
different religions as only manifestations of the one deity, as was current among
learned men and women in the Hellenistic period (Hengel 1974, 261)... As an
example of Hick shows, however, if the solution is to work it must operate with
an unknowable God, always behind each... concrete cultural and religious
manifestation (246-49). The trouble is that an unknowable god is an idle god,
exalted so high... (or hidden so deep in the foundations of being) that she must
have the tribal deities do all the work that every self-respecting god must do.
Believing in a god behind all concrete manifestations amounts therefore to not
believing in one: each culture ends up worshiping its own tribal deities...
'enslaved to beings that are by nature not gods.' (Gal. 4:8)