Thursday, October 1, 2009

Secularizing the Mosaic Covenant

Secularizing the Mosaic Covenant: The Mosaic Covenant symbolizes a specific contractual agreement between God and His chosen people, namely the Israelites. God put forth his Ten Commandments to guide the Israelites in their collective quest for communal harmony. Yet with the birth of Christ, which Kierkegaard refers to as "The Instant," a New Covenant permeated the Judeo-Christian tradition. By no means did this New Covenant invalidate the Mosaic One. It was still immoral (against God's will) to murder and steal and commit adultery. But the Old-Testament consequences behind such actions became somewhat muddled, as the New Covenant offered salvation to even those who broke the Mosaic Law. And it was precisely this kind of redemptive Grace that weaved its way into the founding documents of republican societies throughout the Western world. A social contract, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau once wrote, forms when "each of us places his person and authority under the supreme direction of the general will, and the group receives each individual as an indivisible part of the whole." This statement speaks to the fundamental principles of Christianity whereby man holds Faith in Christ to fashion wholesome communities rooted in self-evident truths like liberty and equality. Rousseau merely uses secular language like "the general will" to avoid having his argument corrupted by the controversial nature of the Catholic Church in eighteenth-century France.

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