Tuesday, August 07, 2007

a universal moral law

A week or two ago, I was struck by a message from an ancient story. I think it was a Sunday in Claret IHMP that I was listening to the story of the good Samaritan. Amazed again at the power of a story which is not new. It distinctly pointed out the differences of the people involved as its core message. The power of the message doesn't seem to fade with the constant re-telling of the story. At the time that I was listening, I didn't realize how relevant it is indeed in the present. Yesterday, I was compelled to look up the historical context in which it was set. And I found this at Wikipedia.

It is important to note that Samaritans were despised by the story's target audience, the Jews. The Samaritans were also largely taught by their interpretation of history to hate Jews.[1] Thus the parable, as told originally, had a significant theme of non-discrimination and interracial harmony. The message's essential point is that humanity's bonds in brotherhood transcend social and cognitive segmentations which we adopt in our lives.

Thus cast appropriately, the parable regains its socially explosive message to modern listeners: namely, that an individual of a social group they disapprove of can exhibit moral behaviour that is superior to individuals of the groups they approve; it also means that not sharing the same faith is no excuse to behave poorly, as there is a universal moral law. Many Christians have used it as an example of Christianity against racial prejudice.
Luke 10:25-37 (New International Version)

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