The Journey series
Today's Mustard Seed is inspired by a conversation with my son about laws. Laws regulate the actions of members within a society. This week I intend only to lay the groundwork for this discussion.
A society is a group of individuals who join together to pursue common goals under a set of basic tenets. Those goals and tenets are defined in its constitution. A tenet is held to be objectively true, therefor unalterable. Laws are particular interpretations and applications of the constitution.
All men being created equal is the foundational tenet of all western societies. Without accepting this, there is no basis for objecting to oppression and domination. But by what authority can we claim this?
Science finds male and female, blonde and dark-haired, young and old. The long and short of it; we are unequal in many ways. In ancient cultures there were rulers and subjects, masters and slaves, conquerors and conquered. Many people's lives held very little value, they were completely subject to the whims of their superiors.
Equality in our western societies derives from the Judeo-Christian understanding of man made in the image of God. Man is in a unique position below God but above the rest of creation. This relationship is just as important to remember as man's equality.
The ideals of society are not the reality. Though every man is created equal, not all men have been or are treated equally. Laws are debated, enacted, and repealed to restore equal treatment but injustices remain. How do we move society from where it is to where it belongs? How do we calculate reparation for past wrongs and how do we determine who should pay? When one man steals from another it is quite easy to say that they should return the property and apologize. But how does one value emotional, psychological and cultural damage? How wide a net should we cast; community, city, state, country, or world?
We hold that all are created equal, but should we force societies who believe differently to conform?
Next week we continue the discussion.
Peter T Elliott