The Christian-Judaic Ethic Put Into Effect
Oscar B. Johannsen
[Reprinted from The Gargoyle,
The Holiday season always brings to mind the striking contradiction
between what we apparently believe in and what we practice.
The whole Christian-Judaic tradition has been predicated on the
dignity and individuality of each person -- that each man or woman is
a self-reliant person capable of taking care of him or herself. The
teachings of the great religions are designed to give guidance to the
individual but the individual is expected to travel the road on his
own two feet, and not to be carried along on someone else's back.
The more carefully he listens to the instructions of the
Christian-Judaic ethic, and the more scrupulously he follows them, the
more likely he will reach his destination, not only safely but with
pride, on his accomplishment.
And most of us believe this. But, yet a disinterested person
observing our actions would come to the conclusion that we do not
believe it, but rather the reverse.
... Increasingly, we look to the State to solve our problems.
Unemployment is high, so all eyes are focused on the incoming
administration to do something which will reduce unemployment. The
fact that political action of the type contemplated solves nothing,
but merely defers to later time whatever hard actions by individuals
are necessary is forgotten over and over again.
People may be destitute. Who is to help them? You or I? Today we say,
No, the State. It will provide the welfare those destitute require.
But it does this with a coldness and inefficiency which is detrimental
not only to these unfortunates needing help, but to those bureaucrats
assigned to provide assistance. They become, if nothing else, callous
and indifferent, not only because they see too much of it, but because
they find many claiming to be in need who really are not.
The Bible relates the story of the Good Samaratan. But what did he
do? When he saw the man who needed help, did he take out his big gun
and go into the Inn and force all there to give him something with
which to help the unfortunate? That is what the State does. Instead,
the good Samaratan helped the man himself and out of his own pocket
paid for the man's needs. By doing it voluntarily, he was living up to
the precepts of the Christian-Judaic ethic. He was treating the
unfortunate as a man who at the moment needed help. The help extended
probably was just sufficient to aid in putting the man on his feet
again. After that it was expected that he would take care of himself.
The aid extended was done with charity and kindness - not with
indifference and boredom. Somewhere along the line, we will have to
put into action the beliefs we profess when we enter our House of
Worship. When things are rough, we must look to ourselves to smooth
them. If we are unable to do it alone, we should look to our friends
and relatives for help if they can give it. If they cannot, and if
voluntary organizations are unable to assist, we must simply work out
our problems the best way we can. To force others to help us, using
the big gun of the State is a violation of our fundamental beliefs. In
the long run, it is questionable if Statist help is really effective.
What this all boils down to is the necessity of each of us to live
his life in accordance with the Golden Rule. -- "Do Unto Others
As You Would Have Them Do Unto You." If we do that the likelihood
is great that we will have a full life. It will not be one without
sorrow and problems, but it will be one in which you can keep your
head high for not having taken unfair advantage of another human
being. It will be one in which you will have not only the respect of
others, but possibly even more importantly, your own self-respect.
The Holiday Season is a time for renewal of the values we cherish and
also the beginning of a New Year, in which we can practice by our
actions the things we believe in.