For children it is easier to understand what life is all about, because they don't do it with an abstract concept yet, but with their whole being, with everything they are, and so you can generally make clear to children more fruitfully and effectively what you actually want to communicate - at least, if the child hasn't already become so " clever" that it wants to do so with adult understanding. But fortunately, children are so playful and, yes, actually headstrong, that what the adults pull with them, that doesn't really resonate anyway. I have therefore chosen a little story for children, containing the crux of the matter, the crux of what I would like to put forward today. It is a little story that comes from the collection "A Star Across the Border", which are stories for Advent and Christmas. That is over, of course, but this story is not directly related to it either. It is a very small story and I read it aloud, a story by Dan Lindholm: Why God created humans.
God had created the world with everything in it, from the tiniest little shape in the dust of the earth, to the crowning glory of creation, the human being. And the angels saw it and were filled with wonder. But one thing they could not understand. Why had God created human beings. They thought deeply and deeply, but it remained a great mystery to them. Surely God did not need people down on earth, they thought. Surely he had a heaven full of angels. Together they talked about it and finally decided to ask God Himself. One of the little angels took courage, stepped before God's throne and asked: "Heavenly Father, behold, your house is full of angels great and small. Why then did you create human beings? When God heard that, He cried, "Heavenly hosts, gather!" There He bowed down to the earth and plucked a rose that had just opened. "Behold here!" he spoke to the angels, "Who can tell me what I have here in my hand?" But none of the angels knew what God held in his hand. Silently they stood around his throne and did not know the answer. The Father spoke, "I have created the human being, that in the world there may also be a creature who knows what God has created!"
That is a brief characterisation of the essence of our humanity, and precisely that, that humans can know what God has created, precisely that is what-yes I don't want to say is in danger of being lost, but against which a battle ignites, and that battle actually begins already when you say: The human being is a higher animal. We know - we can also confirm this by dealing with animals - that animals do have a certain kind of understanding, but that understanding is very limited, just for their instinct existence. And if you would look outside that instinct for an animal's ability to understand, you won't find it, while humans are indeed able to think and ultimately understand the whole of God's creation. That we are not that far yet is obvious, that we understand everything. But we as humanity are working very intensively to understand more and more of creation. That is a distinctly human quality. When you say: man is a higher animal, you actually exclude what that very specifically human is - but that also gives certain possibilities, because when you no longer want to see that in human thought there is a, let's say primal being of freedom, and you abolish that, you say: man is a higher animal, you have thereby at the same time created the possibility of treating that man as an animal as well. An animal, think of a flock of sheep, an animal needs a shepherd. When that animal does not have one - the sheep - it wanders and is in danger. The shepherd makes sure the flock stays together and that the sheep are not in danger. If you were to have ambitions to control a group of people you would have to get to the point where those people themselves no longer see themselves as independently thinking and judging beings, but feel a tendency in themselves to obey an authority that then seems wiser, more just, more informed, more in the truth than that person themselves. Well that, of course, is far from the case. We do have in our humanity a number of people who are inclined to follow, but fortunately we also have a very large number of people who still know how to cherish that principle of freedom in judgement in themselves and who stand up independently with their opinions and judgements. But it is a trend and that trend is worrying. And when you then study the 17 sustainable development goals of the united nations, a certain concern can come over you, because in it you see that there apparently exists a group of people who - albeit in consultation with each other - who come to a certain determination of ideals, in this case these are 17 ideals, which when you look at them do have a certain right to be seen as ideal. Those people state: These are our ideals, this is what we want to believe in in the future, and this is what we want to try to realise as much as possible, and you are participating in that. We as united nations, united peoples, we have had your representatives around the table and we have made sure, or so it has happened, that they have all signed that these are our ideals, that these are the right ideals, and now it is a matter of realising these ideals. When you then look at that, what that then entails, it is a very worrying phenomenon, at least for me, that it does not contain an ideal of human freedom. It actually comes down to the fact that the supreme ideal would be the elimination of all distinction between people - and in a certain area that is certainly appropriate. When you talk about the value of human beings, or dignity, yes, as a moral human being you must surely feel that the value of all human beings is equal, that we as humanity are made up of billions of individuals who are equally worthy. And you would like to teach humanity that, of course, but of course that is only possible if the impulse arises in each individual human being to want to feel that, that the value of all human beings is equal. And you cannot then say that all people are equal. And that is the tendency that is there, namely that all differentiation is more or less forbidden, that when there is differentiation, you actually have to ignore it, and that is a certain corridor we then go through as a human race, in which we little by little forget that differentiation is precisely that human quality of thought. We do nothing else with our thinking but distinguish one from the other, and we have to, because if we didn't, we wouldn't find our way from our chair at the table to the corridor and the front door. So we have to distinguish and of course we still do that spontaneously. But there is a tendency to declare discernment in the human being to be something dangerous, and of course I could say a lot about what that is based on and where it comes from, but you can figure that out for yourself. There have been plenty of events in history that show that distinguishing between people is dangerous. But we still have to assume that human beings are good in themselves, in themselves, and that in fact human beings do not wish to do anything other than make the right differences with the ability to distinguish and then not attach any value differences to them. It is very difficult to put it into words; it is much easier if you present a child with an image. But what I really want to say is, let's not let our free thinking be taken away from us, let's be careful that by unlearning distinctions, we don't further and further lose our power of discernment, which isn't too sharp anyway. For it is precisely in discernment that our freedom lies. How are we supposed to discern between good and evil when we hand that discernment over to a government? Surely that cannot be possible at all! The human being must surely awaken in himself the entity that we all carry in ourselves of the ability to discern between good and evil, we must surely awaken that entity in ourselves and keep it awake and become ever more awake in it. When I read 17 ideals, I miss in it that ideal which should actually be at the very beginning of an idealistic course of humanity. And that very beginning is freedom of thought. There is no place in that for any government, any authority, to decide for us what is right and what is wrong. But this tendency is worryingly present.Freedom and Thinking by Mieke Mosmuller