Be More Human / Mehr Mensch Sein
February 14th, 2008 - Zermatt, Switzerland
I am not a Christian. Indeed, I do not believe in God - or at least not in anything remotely resembling God as he (or she) is represented in any of the mainstream religions. But I am a spiritual person. Had I been born two thousand years ago, I may well have been a pantheist, seeing the divine (in its most very abstract sense) in everything. And nowhere do I feel more spiritual or closer to understanding the essence of existence than in the mountains.
I admit too to being at best ambivalent about organised religion. But that does not prevent me from respecting those who sincerely believe, nor from admiring much religious iconography and art.
I'm not sure what a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Sikh must feel upon reaching the highest point of the Klein Matterhorn, 3883 metres above sea level, and finding himself confronted by a giant wooden representation of Christ on the cross, but whatever my personal beliefs I found it stunning, if nothing else then from a purely aesthetic point of view. And it's hard to argue with the exhortation engraved in four languages beneath the cross :
Mehr Mensch sein.
Uomo prima di tutto.
Be more human.
This image was used on November 7th, 2009 to illustrate an article on a Catholic newsblog regarding the recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights against crucifixes in Italian schoolrooms, which, unsurprisingly, has generated a quite heated debate.