Posted by David FG on October 17, 2004
In Reply to: Re: Am I my brother's keeper posted by Smokey on October 17, 2004
: : : last night, I went in to a gas station to buy a couple of things. two friendly, african workers helped me. at the cashier station, they asked me if I was my brother's keeper. I hadn't heard the term before and I had some difficulty understanding due to their accent. I asked them to repeat the phrase, and they continued to explain. I had a nice conversation with both of them for a while, somewhat holding up the line ;) yet, I still do not completely understand the meaning of this phrase/term. I found it on this site, and it looks to have some religious origin. any comment would be appreciated.
: : It sounds like they were evangelical Christians trying to recruit you. To be your brother's keeper in Christianity means to take and interest in your fellow man and to share his burdens in the way that Christ is supposed to take on the suffering and shoulder the burdens of all mankind. It's a way of asking you "Are you a Christian"
: When Cain came back from the fields without Abel, Eve, his mother, asked him, "Where's Abel?" He responded, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Eve did not answer directly, and the interesting story unfolded without any answer at all, except what one might read into it. Talmudic scholars may have supplied an answer, I don't know. Everyone who wants an answer has to answer the question himself. Liberals tend to answer, "Yes, you are. WE are." That is, we are responsible for the welfare of our brothers and sisters, of helping those who have fallen to get up, and to try to keep them from falling in the first place. For brothers and sisters read, fellow members of the human race.
: The conservative answer is, "Hell, no! Why should I waste time and money on my fellow citizens not directly related to me. Let all those other poor bastards accept individual responsibility. If they can't do that, screw 'em!" SS
I could well be wrong here, as it is a long time since I took any interest in matters Biblical, but I thought that God, after Cain had killed Abel, asked Cain where his brother was (pointless if God is omniscient, but no matter) and Cain replied 'Am I my brother's keeper?'. The point being that we are our brothers' keepers in the sense that we are responsible for their welfare.