“When you see your brother, you see God.” ~ St. Clement of Alexandria
Given that he was a 2nd century Christian monk, I’m going to take St. Clement’s use of the word “brother” to encompass all and no genders.
So, who is my brother?
In the second century in Alexandria, that probably did mean a man, probably of the same religion. You can see a similar minset in action in some adherents of Islam even today.
But really, who is my brother?
To many, their brother is all of humanity – and well done to them, for they are living in a world fully inclusive of all human people. Even if most other humans aren’t.
My brother then would be male, female, gender-neutral, gender irrelevant, of all races and any religion or none.
Yet how can it stop there?
My brothers live in my house, have 4 paws and are entirely beloved.
My brother grows in my garden, translates carbon dioxide into oxygen, and doesn’t move around much.
My brother – given that I am the child of a microbiologist – has a one-celled body and inhabits my gut.
My brother is being trodden beneath my takkies every time I walk around.
My brother – given, now, that I trained in astronomy – cycles molecules of hydrogen into helium, giving much light and life unto my brothers upon the planets.
Does it stop? Is there a boundary beyond which we can say “this is not life, this is not my brother”?
As a Pantheist I cannot with any certainty draw that line. The very stones of the planet are alive. And are my brother.