Friday, June 10, 2005

Values and Life vs Chaos

Part 8: Values larger than Judaism or Christianity

The combination of Jewish Scripture (the Old Testament) and Christian thought and activism has forged something larger and more universally applicable than either Judaism or Christianity alone. American Christians chose a Torah verse – “Proclaim liberty throughout the land” – for their Liberty Bell; learned and taught Hebrew; adopted the Jewish notion of being chosen to be a light unto the nations; saw their leaving Europe as a second exodus. While the Jews provided the text, the Christians brought the text and its values into the world at large and applied them to a society composed of Jews, Christians, atheists, and members of other religions. Those Judeo Christian values have made America the greatest experiment in human progress and liberty and the greatest force for good in history.

Part 9: Choose Life

There are good people on both sides of the Terri Schiavo tragedy, but chances are that if you affirm Judeo-Christian values, you have opposed pulling the feeding tubes from the severely brain damaged woman's body. Why? Because if there is anything that Judeo-Christian values stand for, it is choosing life and rejecting death. As the Torah puts it, "I have put before you today life and death, and you shall choose life." Egyptian civilization was steeped in death. One of the greatest insights of Sigmund Freud was that human beings have a Death Instinct, a death wish that is as strong as the Life Instinct. The biblical and Judeo-Christian transformation of human thinking from death- to life- orientation has been a staggering accomplishment.

Part 10: Chaos

It is difficult to overstate the depth of the differences between the Judeo-Christian view of the world and that of its opponents, most particularly the Left. For example, it involves the very question of whether there is order to the world. Basic to the biblical worldview is the proposition that God made order out of chaos -- order expressed largely through separation and differences. God separated light from dark and created day and night; separated the waters and created land; and so on. Differences reflect the divine order, while attempts to abolish those differences represent a denial of that order and a yearning for primeval chaos, moral and otherwise.


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