Most of this is from a moment of thought sitting in a class on moral issues in ministry. It is not thought out too much, but I think it is still important. It is a revelation for myself, and I thought I would share it. Some of the thoughts are random one liners, but there is a cohesion to it, I hope that comes across.
We were talking about what it means to be made in the image of God and the idea that the state can enforce natural rights, such as the right to liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and so on. This is a problem because, think hard about it, it destroys mutual care and mutual respect. In a laughable sense, it creates bubbles and no one wants another person in their bubble, or you will get sued, right? The whole idea of state enforced natural rights makes the individual the prior reality of the community. This means people are pushing each other out of the community. This “don’t bother” me attitude leaves people in isolation and removes God from the picture (one reason Christians can only be Christians in the community of the church).
We must come back to the biblical sense of value and reality, which is God, not the individual. This idea is against the world’s idea of individualism. The idea of dignity and rights comes from God, not the state. Think of it this way. Why treat a person with dignity? Well, what dignity does God extend to them? Then think about how, out of duty and love and gratitude, can you treat that person? God’s condition of love for that person (He sent His son to die on the cross for them) conditions my response of love for them. Natural rights erodes and removes the idea of value in the Christian worldview. We should not only acknowledge legal rights, but we should focus more so on God-given dignity.
Think about your neighborhood. There is no covenant, no social contract, the only thing I/you have to do is leave the other person alone. If this continues, and it is getting worse, how will America survive? On artificial social networking sites like Facebook? This kind of society cannot last because it is void of God. Think of people wanting to hold on to everything they have and not willing to make life better for others by having a death grip on things they have “earned” (like social security). Think of this: What if the things we earn were not for ourselves? What if God has given us talents, skills, and employment to give to those who need help? Think of that community and how long and prosperous (mentally, socially, and emotionally) that society would last. God-given dignity.
Say for example, a sister in the Lord has a disease that can be treated by proper procedures, treatments and surgeries, but like most healthcare systems and insurance, she cannot make her bills. Then say God has blessed me with a surplus of money. So much money in fact, I have everything I want. Actually, I am overwhelmed by how much stuff I have! Is God in my relationship with my sister when I fail, or refuse, to extend to her the gifts she needs, which are in fact, the gifts God has given me, and maybe He has given me these resources for this very reason.
Being made in the image of God supersedes legal rights, it supersedes citizenship, and it supersedes selfishness.