Christian heritage

Christian heritage

Fr Bernard McGrath

Christianity works well for the greater good of society despite some doubters. It benefits millions by the moral improvements due to the churches, schools, hospitals and institutions it runs.

Three of the greatest commandments of our Judeo-Christian heritage form the very bulwark of our civilisation: the sacredness of human life, the purity of marriage and the right to private property. Without these laws, many unwanted or allegedly useless lives are killed for convenience: the unborn, the defective, and the aged. And without these laws increasing numbers cannot be trusted to be honest in their dealings regarding property, and the fair time, money and effort needed for work and social affairs. Fewer seem to care anymore and the trend is tragic.

Even 4,000 years ago Hammurabi of Babylon had the wisdom to discern six of the ten commandments for the peace and prosperity of his people, recognising the natural laws of good behaviour/morality. But unique to our Judeo-Christian heritage are the commandments against polytheism, idolatry, and evil thoughts. These are ennobling rules and are hard to account for without a revelation of God as a loving creator, law-giver and saviour giving us the necessary reason and strength to be self-sacrificing, when required, for the sake of others, and the truth.

Churches preach, teach and practise persuasively against hate in thought, speech and deed whereas mere civil laws on such are easily used to suppress free speech and religion by those who claim to be offended "victims" of others' beliefs.

Democracy works best when most people, most of the time, are virtuous and can be trusted. Few laws are then needed: "He governs best who governs least". A South-Sea Islander once reproved a soldier for using the thin pages of a Bible to roll his cigarettes: "If it weren't for the Bible, you'd be in my cooking pot!", he said.

What will stop the present mad rush into lawlessness and the slaughter of the innocents?

What the gods (devil) wish to destroy they first make mad. How mad is it when evil becomes a free choice?

FR BERNARD McGRATH
Bendigo, Vic

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