Where Does Tenderness Come From?
Maybe it comes from the sad part of joy...a side of joy which knows
that each moment, however beautiful or poignant, passes away,
or maybe it comes from the poignancy itself, as a sign that there
is something more than the clashing of senseless compulsions.
something both divine and ordinary, and very beautiful.
It is the business of philosophical theology to provide a rational understanding of the rise of civilization, and of the tenderness of mere life itself, in a world which superficially is founded upon the clashings of senseless compulsion. I am not disguising my belief that in this task, theology has largely failed. The notion of the absolute despot has stood in the way. The doctrine of Grace has been degraded, and the doctrines of the Atonement are mostly crude. The defect of the liberal theology of the last two hundred years is chat it has confined itself to the suggestion of minor, vapid reasons why people should continue to go to church in the traditional fashion.
- Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas