Probably one of the most emphatic statements uttered in the book of Genesis. Such words have been read by generations of individuals for several millenniums. For some reason, this verse either rubs us the wrong way, instills a sense of emotion or inspires some form of reaction.
After slaying his brother, Cain met Jehovah's (God's) query of investigative priority with contempt. Instead of leaving it at "I know not", he adds more: "Am I my brother's keeper?" Such a response warrants further investigation as it implies a defensive nature and a guilty conscience.
Genesis 4:10 - "And he said, 'What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.'"
If you don't know the rest of the story, you can read it here. It's not very long, so it won't bare too much on your time. If you have trouble reading it in that context, scroll up to where it says "King James Version", click the arrow, and click "New King James Version". This article isn't to tell a story you can read on your own though. It is to review the aforementioned verse, which is, conveniently, the topic name; "Am I my brother's keeper?"
Such scrutiny goes to demonstrate human nature, in of itself. Such a follow-up question goes to elucidate upon mankind's indisposition to take responsibility for their actions. If we paint the verse as an analogy, we can see the deeper context:
"Am I responsible for my neighbor?"
Indeed, as a collective society, we are "brothers" in a sense. And when you take into account Adam and Eve and their banishment from the Garden of Eden not due to their sin, but from their inability to accept responsibility for it and, instead, blamed the serpent for coercing them, it begins to come together.
So, what can this one inquiry tell us about how our demeanor toward one another should be? Barring the obvious deduction of humans taking responsibility for their action, consider this:
You are responsible for your neighbor.
Furthermore, consider a popular existentialist accusation/inquiry: "Why does God let bad things happen?"
Well, this thorough analysis of this renowned verse may lead us to insight on the matter. If you're not following me by now, I'll explain in very cut and dry terminology:
God does not stop bad things from happening because we, as fellow human beings, are responsible for our actions.That may not be the explicit answer, but I believe it does provide some insight. Whether you agree or not, you have to at least admit that it allows for free thinking.