What makes a law unjust

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by bwallac2335, Feb 17, 2021.

  1. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    1 Cor.2:14. So what's so good about natural then? :laugh:

    Social Darwinism is the elevation of naturalism to a worshipped ideology much endorsed by The Nazis. The Law is given to curb the 'natural' state of man and creation after the fall, which is become corrupt. Even many made laws and political systems are naturally corrupt unless in line with the will of God.
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  2. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Yes of course, you’ve got it, it is an approach. Thankfully it isn’t some list of random proclamations.

    The reason to embrace it is that it’s the only chance of arriving at an objective answer, one which corresponds and serves the actual state of things, the state of things as they are.

    So yes there is an answer to the moral dilemma of selling spoiled milk, one which is based not in personal preferences, but in reason and objectivity. We can get into it if you want, I was just more bothered that no one tried to approach it as that. Everyone just launched into “well here is my favorite politics and you all should succumb to it”.
     
  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    My impression is that natural law has its roots in Mosaic/Judaic law, with considerable influences from Greek and Roman philosophies. Is that about right? If so, my question would be: how do we decide whether those Greek and Roman ideas are good influences or contaminating ones? Just wondering. I've never made any study of it.
     
  4. Thomas Didymus

    Thomas Didymus New Member

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    Stalwart said:
    True--while not all feelings, emotions, and expressions of gratitude demonstrate genuine rejoicing in God (Proverbs 15:26), who loved us when we did not love him (John 1:11), objectivity and reason is not necessarily opposed if other choices can be presented without infringing on the truth as long as there's no rejoicing in oneself, which would be acting hypocritically.

    It would be unreasonable to narrow hypothetical choices down to one being presented as the whole truth, and the other being seen as entirely absent, should neither of them bear what the truth actually is. This would be a false dichotomy. The real threat against objectivity and reason is when personal experiences become the focus for what determines truth, and not love for God for what He is in Himself. This could just be an issue of semantics creating misunderstanding where none exist. I could be mistaken.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  5. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    That actually would be an argument against natural law, for the natural law would need to be reflected in the Mosaic/Judaic Law. The argument of natural law is that it is irrelevant of race, culture, creed, time, for it is that which is innately true and correct in the grand scheme of things.

    There are some questions that it raises. For example, most (hopefully all) of us would argue that slavery is morally reprehensible and generally wrong. Yet for most of the 2 and half thousand years we have been discussing it, slavery was an accepted given, it was simply part of the accepted order of things. So is slavery wrong, and if so is it always wrong, was it always wrong, or has it somehow become wrong?

    When it comes to Raw Milk, of course until we needed to process it, that was all there was. We developed processing as the supply chain became longer, and it was no longer reasonable for each house to keep their own cow*. So Natural Law can't really answer the question that way. I think that there is a Natural Law Principal that if an action puts others at risk, a known and verifiable risk, then we should not do that. That is kind of Golden Rule Stuff. That is why now that the TB and Smallpox issues of Milk have largely been resolved, and of course we have had the advent of refrigeration, some would argue that we should be able to buy/sell it, whilst others go on the extend the principle, now citing salmonella and Ecole. The arguments about Government involvement in this process then leaves us subject to the biddings of the various lobbyists who assail our governing authorities.

    So I would argue that whilst an appeal to natural law may be good and reasonable, I am not convinced on its own that it has the capacity to resolve the question without some further intervention.

    * That was a side issue in urbanisation. My Great Great Grandfather was a 'cow keeper' in Kensington in London and his Son, My Great Grandfather was a Dairyman in Kensington. They lost their baby daughter 'Fanny' to smallpox during an outbreak of the disease, which is partly why their are no longer cow keepers living in Kensington. Mind you I hate to think what the price of milk would be for milk from cows kept in Kensington these days! Sorry for the side-track but it is sort of interesting.
     
  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Certainly unjust laws exist but it would seem that they fall into a more serious category than milk vending restrictions in some states of the USA.

    Woe to unjust judges and to those who issue unfair laws, says the Lord, so that there is no justice for the poor, the widows, and orphans. Yes, it is true that they even rob the widows and fatherless children.
    Oh, what will you do when I visit you in that day when I send desolation upon you from a distant land? To whom will you turn then for your help? Where will your treasures be safe? I will not help you; you will stumble along as prisoners or lie among the slain. And even then my anger will not be satisfied, but my fist will still be poised to strike you.
    Isa.10:1-4. TLB.

    I couldn't find any other reference to laws being considered 'unjust'. Neither could I find any other definition of unjust laws in scripture than this one.

    Laws that withold justice from and rob the poor, widows and orphans, i.e. the deprived of society.

    So any laws passed which enrich the rich and penalise the poor seem to be condemned in scripture as 'unjust laws'.
    Laws essentially passed by the rich to ensure they stay that way.

    "Where will your treasures be safe? I will not help you; you will stumble along as prisoners or lie among the slain. And even then my anger will not be satisfied, but my fist will still be poised to strike you." This is the word of The Lord.
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  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    My sister and her husband own a dairy farm, and IIRC my sister once told me that they do not dare to sell raw milk directly to a friend or neighbor because they could be shut down (effectively put out of business) for the violation if it were discovered. For a country that was founded on liberty rights, that seems incredibly draconian and a gross overreach of the administrative state.

    Is it any wonder that some of us are pushing back against the erosion of our rights? Any time we make a concession and let the government have an inch, they take a mile (centimeters and kilometers for many of you).

    Their farm is in a different state, btw. In Oklahoma, the dairy farm I mentioned that has been selling raw milk direct to locals for nearly 100 years is the only one in the state that has been permitted to continue the practice.

    What of the people who would prefer raw milk for perceived (real or imagined) health benefits? What if they preferred the taste of raw milk? Most of them are out of luck. So much for freedom.... :( The "nanny state" feels entitled to "protect us" from ourselves, but who will protect us from the administrators who set regulations? They are unelected, so we have no recourse.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    The "nanny state" is mandated to "protect consumers" from unscrupulous vendors. That is not protecting you from yourselves unless you are buying your own dodgy milk. :laugh:

    What it is not mandated to do though, as you rightly point out, is to deprive scrupulously responsible vendors from making an honest living. There must be a better way of seeing to the safety of customers without draconian, catch all, measures, when there are scientific ways of ensuring food and drink are safe for consumers.

    Vending laws need to be amended to account for scientific advances and vendors required to employ them in ensuring their products are safe for consumption to required and legally stipulated standards.
    .
     
  9. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Natural law isn’t any more rooted in Scripture than our walking on two feet, one in front of the other. It’s just the way the world is. Walking on our hands is against natural law, against the way things are. If we were octopuses, natural law for us would be to walk on 8 feet, and walking on just the 2 would then be against nature. Natural law is simply that every thing acts according to its nature. Since nature is objective, appealing to nature, appealing to reality, is the only objective way of resolving disputes. (Natural disputes, not supernatural matters that deal with theology or revelation.)

    Now that being said, scripture establishes that this natural law exists: Romans 2:14. It’s a law written on the heart of every man, whatever their beliefs. Moreover, most of the moral teachings in Scripture are actually natural law teachings, not revelation. For example the 2nd Table of the Mosaic law (honor thy father) is just natural rightness, true for Hindus, and atheists, and Muslims. Also, the golden rule taught by Christ (do unto others as you’d have them do unto you) is a natural ethic found among most nations of mankind. That’s what St Paul says, Romans 2:14:

    “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.”

    Or as Cicero writes,
    “There is indeed a law, right reason, which is in accordance with nature ; existing in all, unchangeable, eternal. Commanding us to do what is right, forbidding us to do what is wrong. It has dominion over good men, but possesses no influence over bad ones. No other law can be substituted for it, no part of it can be taken away, nor can it be abrogated altogether. Neither the people or the senate can absolve from it. It is not one thing at Rome, and another thing at Athens : one thing to-day, and another thing to-morrow ; but it is eternal and immutable for all nations and for all time.”

    We should appeal to this law for all natural disputes (such as laws, justice, etc). Whole countries such as America have been founded on this principle.
     
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  10. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    HPP Raw Milk, where the Raw Milk is subjected to High Pressure Processing, as against Pasteurisation or Homogenisation. HPP is of course significantly more expensive, and also relies on a much greater investment in herd management. On a cost comparison HPP Milk is likely to be 7.5 times the price.
     
  11. Thomas Didymus

    Thomas Didymus New Member

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    Hey Rexlion, I hope you find this helpful.

    There are two Hebrew concepts:

    (1) Halakhah ("the path" or "the way")
    = All-embracing Jewish law which regulates every aspect of daily human behavior. It governs every area of life -- intellectual, physical, social, and economic.

    (2) Kedushah (sanctification, holiness of self and environment)
    = Integration of the secular and the holy, a counterweight against triviality and profanity. All human activity is conjoined with a persuasive sense of religious meaning and direction -- time, place, and person.
     
  12. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Well, I have a problem with that. :discuss: I'll try to express what I'm perceiving.

    "Natural law," or the equivalent term Tiffy used, "naturalism," implies by its very name a "natural" origin. It seems to mesh best with the idea that mankind, being naturally more intelligent, more sentient, and more wise than other animals, has developed a sense of moral values on his own, over the course of millenia.

    Christians believe, however, that humans are not merely "more intelligent, sentient animals." We believe that we have been created in the image of God (all other animals were created by Him, but not in His image!). Many would say that God wrote a law on the hearts of every human being, from Adam until today. The sense of morality in each person throughout history has come from God, though the person knew it not and likely assumed that it was innate and "natural" within him. In truth, there is nothing natural about the law; its composition, source, and impartation are all supernatural. Without this law on our hearts, we would be no better than the animals; the only morality would be the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest, "dog eat dog and the devil take the hindmost!" :o

    This law on our hearts, this sense of right and wrong, is far too often misperceived, misinterpreted, or outright ignored by individuals as they live to suit themselves (the searing of the conscience can be total, or it may be merely partial and selective, depending on the individual). For this reason, the inner-written law failed. It was predestined to fail because of man's fallen nature. The failure is supposed to prove to man that he is fallen and needs supernatural help. To make up for this failure of man, God has introduced ever-increasing guidance through the centuries, a progressive revelation, and this guidance has been collected and preserved for us in the Bible (and shown to us in Christ). This is why the best source for the law is not "natural law." Our best source is God's written word.

    I surmise that God's law written on men's hearts has seeped into the "natural law" in sufficient measure during the millenia to have influenced it favorably, and so has the Mosaic Law. Perhaps the aforementioned even formed the bulk or primary basis of the "natural law." But man's own cogitations and philosophizing during many centuries and civilizations have also contributed. I can't see how these ideas and reasonings of men which have contributed to the natural law, wheresoever they disagree with the precepts of the written word, could be at all helpful; quite frankly they would have to be regarded as pollutants of the pure precepts of God, don't you agree? :hmm:
     
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  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I've never encountered those words before, Thomas. Where in your life's background did you pick up that interesting bit of knowledge? :)
     
  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I looked this up. HPP milk does not appear to be available in the US at all. I'd try a bottle if it were sold here. But I note that some people think it's misleading to call HPP milk "raw." Using high pressure in lieu of high temperature is still a processing step that kills all the microbes, just like conventional pasteurization. Although flavor of raw milk is preserved, it seems that some enzymes are altered and there might be other changes from true, raw milk.
     
  15. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_law

    Natural Law is a complex subject, as evidenced by the length of the Wikipedia Article, however I share it here to perhaps provide a little clarity and a little guidance as to what it might or might not be.
     
  16. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    That's a very helpful link Botolph. Now at least we can all be almost singing from the same hymnsheet, and understand what is meant by the term 'natural law'.

    The Nazis put a very dark twist on the idea of the 'laws of nature' rather than 'natural law', which led them to their cruel and excessive fanaticism. I was therefore off the mark when thinking that was what was being meant by 'Natural Law'.

    Alfred Baeumler and Martin Heidegger followed Friedrich Nietzsche's anti-Jewish/Christian philosophy and combined it with Social Darwinism, a perverted type of evolutionary theory of the 'survival of the fittest', in which the Arian 'Master Race' were of course the 'fittest' who should naturally, of course, 'survive', at everyone else's expense.

    There was therefore nothing very natural about any of the law produced by this cruel and Godless regime. One might describe it rather as Super-natural, even Demonic.
    .
     
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  17. Thomas Didymus

    Thomas Didymus New Member

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  18. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Christian philosophers over the centuries have rejected this tension between natural law and Christian revelation. I don’t want to get too much into it here, and maybe we can start a separate thread, but to make it short, things like original sin do not play into discussions of natural law.

    Why? Because when you’re dealing with something grounded in nature, for example, with walking, and figuring out how to do that best, Christians don’t walk better than anyone else; original sin doesn’t affect the skill of walking. Similarly with reason, just because Christians have access to Grace, does not automatically mean they think more clearly; in fact most of today’s great scientists are not Christian which shows that nonbelievers are capable of exercising the gifts of logic and rationality better than the Christians are.

    Man’s original sin only becomes actual when having to do with the supernatural virtues: Faith, Hope, and Charity, which are unavailable to nonChristians. This was the argument made by St Augustine.

    So natural things are available to both the Christian and the unbeliever alike. Matters which fall under natural law, such as honesty, justice, filial piety, are accessible to a Buddhist and a Hindu as much as to any Christian.

    That is why philosophers through history, when devising natural institutions like countries, laws, etc, have relied on natural foundations. And the same applies to law and justice.
     
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  19. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I am shocked that hunting is not a big thing in Australia. Most of my meat comes from hunted deer.
    As for raw milk there are ways to do it safely and legally. In many states you can sale it legally but just not across state lines.
    https://rawfarmusa.com
    https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/AHFSS/Milk_and_Dairy_Food_Safety/rawmilk.html

    There are ways to do it safely. As we can see you can do it safely with proper regulation so any states that outlaw it are over stepping their proper bounds.
     
  20. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Seems like the natural law can be subject to change as societal perceptions change. The word of God never changes.

    But if someone can demonstrate that there is constancy throughout the centuries in natural law, I'd be obliged to modify my opinion of it. :thumbsup: