martes, 27 de julio de 2010

Law (Aleph)

I wrote this several years ago, when I was a mainstream Chr-stian. However, I think this is still interesting.


A@NATURAL LAW: A CHRISTIAN UNDERSTANDING OF JURISPRUDENCE

Daniel Montero B.

I am interested in the Evangelical Church because I am a Jurist and my life’s core is the law. I will like to ask you if you could PLEASE give my e-mail address to other Evangelical people interested in law. Not the law of sin and death, but the law of the Spirit (Romans 8 and many more) that has freed us from sin and death. The Spirit has Her law. It is not a legalistic law, but a law that is born out of the grace of HaShem (G-d) that forgives us and enables us to live in agreement with this justification, by forgiving others and living each day closer to HaShem’s will. G-d’s will is tzedaka (justice), which is another way of saying the law of the Spirit. She enables us to live according to the fruits of the Spirit and provides us with the gifts of the Spirit. The core of this is love to the human being incarnated in specific actions of help to others. Kant has presented the best explanation of what it means to love others in the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. There he stresses the importance of human dignity as the commitment to treat each person as an end in herself, and NOT as a means nor instrument to something else, no matter how important, urgent or hallowed this something else maybe. This concept of human dignity is the abstract concept that contains all human rights, which are the specific ways of loving the fellow human being, which is the core of the law of the Spirit.

Quoting Kant provides us with the opportunity of becoming aware of the shortcomings of many Churches. Kant, as many Churches do, separate moral from law as if they were two completely independent realms. The purpose of this separation is good: to grant the rights of liberty of conscience, by prohibiting authorities to legislate on matters of moral or conscience. However, this separation of law and moral has had terrible effects, like the neutrality so many Jurists (and so many Reverends) facing Fascist law, and like the neutrality of so many Jurists and Christians concerning contemporary decisions which are Fascist. For example, the decision of the Supreme Court of the USA allowing people to be tortured in Guantanamo.

The Church needs to be aroused to a new sense of its role by pacifically struggling not only for the rights and liberties of conscience, but also for a law that is in agreement with the law of the Spirit. The law of the Spirit has two sides, like two sides of the same coin: first, the sphere of moral and conscience, where no legislation is warranted, except that one that protects the rights of conscience and election of personal morality. This is understood by all Churches. What Churches do not understand yet is the other side of THE SAME COIN: the law of the Spirit is also a law, a law of human rights and dignity, and every tyrannical statute or Court decision that directly destroys this dignity is void, in the same way that a statute that violates the Constitution is void. This sphere of the law of the Spirit means that law is the ensemble of interests which ought to be protected by public coercion in order to advance forward in the process of bringing human rights and dignity to the world. This is law. Law is not what the Parliament or the Courts say. This may be law only in so far as they protect human rights and dignity. But this is not only law. Law is also, in the absence of statutes or Court decisions, those interests which ought to be protected in order to advance forward in the protection of human rights and dignity. And, if a law or decision is tyrannical, then it is not law, but is void, and instead of it what becomes law is what is necessary to protect human dignity.

The concept of Natural Law needs to be reawakened in this process of making the Church more and more committed to this understanding of law. In this scheme of things, the Evangelical Church has a clue role to play, because it is free from the mistakes of Rome, but is at the same time loyal to the Christian heritage, part of which is Natural Law. The problem of Natural Law is that, in the way it is usually presented, it is meaningful only for believers. In the same way, Kant’s Rechtslehre is meaningful only for those who share his understanding of rationalism.

What is needed today is a new understanding of Natural Law that (like the one I’ve written before) is meaningful both for believers and non-believers. The Church has a key role to play in creating and struggling for, this new understanding of Natural Law because it is free from the mistakes of Rome and, at the same time, it is loyal to the Catholic legacy which includes Natural Law. I have begun this short summary by writing from a believer’s point of view, because I am or at least want to be a loyal believer in G-d and Jesus as the Son of G-d. But my explanation of this Natural Law for non-believers will begin by summarising Erich Fromm’s atheistic re-interpretation of the concept of G-d, including the concepts of Rabbis such as Mordecai Kaplan and Michael Lerner. Then I will show that the secular commitment to human rights and dignity was born out of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Nietzsche has shown us what paganism is really like, and its nature as one that, by definition, is away from human rights. So the Atheist person should accept the value of Judaeo-Christianity for human rights and dignity. Then it is needed a summary of the Bible as the historical struggle for human rights and dignity. Then must go a brief summary of history that will show that all the institutions created for the advancement of human rights have faded, but the Church (and synagogue) is the only institution that has the power to transcend time and, despite its shortcomings, to continue preaching the message of a liberating law of the Spirit. The Atheist shall see then the importance of the Church, and the need she has to participate in the Church in order that her commitment to human rights and dignity may transcend time, and continue being loyal to this cause despite time, and also in order to be able to raise her children in the Church, because the Church is the only really working institution that will enable the children to be risen and educated in the commitment to human rights.

This understanding of Natural Law and the Church will hopefully make the Atheist think, turn down her emotional defences against Christianity, and enable her to re-value again the Bible… This new beginning will enable the non-believer to think again in G-d free from emotional barriers and appreciate anew the importance of G-d and, hopefully, to give a try to a more deep belief in G-d.

The Church has a key role to play in this struggle.

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