On Human Dignity

Deuteronomy 25:1-10

Synopsis     Deuteronomy 25:1-10     3/12/2018

Moses commanded the children of Israel: Do not whip a man with more than 40 lashes. Do not muzzle an ox that is used for threshing grain. Brothers must protect the legacy of deceased brothers by building up their line.

On Human Dignity

Although some of the Mosaic laws seem strange and deeply archaic, the essential motivation of the law of Moses is designed to recognize the dignity of every human person. They are designed to respect the actual, intrinsic value of ordinary things.

Over-punishment is a cruelty that fails to recognize the intrinsic value of each human person. Refusing to support widows and orphans similarly fails to respect and love the life of a brother.

Authenticity and I-Thou

On the one hand, progressive social contract communities like to imagine that humans have had great success in making a world that is more humane, less vicious and more tolerant. And perhaps there is something to this advance.

On the other hand, legislation that defines legally accepted behaviors through enforced constraint doesn’t really get to the heart of the issue. It may be that we’ve written out of the social contract “death by stoning”. But is that the same as “love your neighbor”?

I-Thou. I see you as I see myself. I see in you what I see in myself. I see in you the Christ that I see in myself.

What law will bring me to live like that? That’s the question.

“When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled” John 11:33

March 12, 2018

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