Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Specificity vs. Generality

A seemingly frustrating aspect of the bible at times is that the bible prefers to lay down general principles rather than specific guidance. The bible always turns to wisdom to decide between priorities of principles rather than delve into specifics.

Why is this? Does God not know the proper answer to tell us?

The reality if we think very clearly is that each situation in life is too specific for a hard and fast complete rule book. We often see this in human governments where laws to protect people seem to harm some people.

A sort of rigidness to rules is the difficulty. Ethics carries a certain degree of situational to itself. The bible is wise to not overextend itself on guidance to people.

An over extended set of rules produces wrong outcomes at times. This is why the bible always expounds wisdom.

A lot of philosophers have noticed the situationality of ethics and wished to move away from absolutes. The basis of postmodernity is an understanding that there is a grayness to the world and how we should live that the modernism has missed.

I believe that absolutes are important. We can have absolutes, but also realize that while there are many absolutes in the world there are also many situations where ethics are situational.

We can clearly see that many things are always wrong. But there are things which are sometimes right, sometimes neutral, and sometimes wrong.

The parable of the good Samaritan is a good example. The many people on the road would often be right to hurry to their important business, but in this case they were wrong.

Ethics has both absolutes and grayness where discernment is needed. The bible has already seen this. This is why the bible is neither a friend of modernity or postmodernity in an absolute sense.
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