On Trust: Book of Proverbs

Society is built on a network of social connections and these connections between people are secured together with trust. There are a great many liars, people who play social games to appear more moral than what they are and so it is easy for one to convince of their trustworthiness without any merit. Much like apologies, words like ‘you can trust me’ can be said, however trust itself is more than just words. It is tied to actions and built over a period of time, thus trust is practical and applied.

There are inherent risks when one trusts and these dangers are articulated in the preventative measures we take – such as controlling or watching movements – in order to mitigate the risk of betrayal. We do not have any way of guaranteeing authenticity of these connections and thus central to all of our interactions involves trust. We are vulnerable because we are removed from authority and the power to hold others accountable, which in ethical terms is a complex dynamic.

However, is trust merely an instrument that enables this implicit ‘cooporation’ where connections involve logical tests to confirm the trustworthiness of others, or is it possible to believe these connections are authentically true without holding to any evidential reason?

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Turkey: The Seventh Seal

You may or may not have heard it. They are the Christian Zionists – or the Christian Right – a sophisticated political and social movement organised in the United States who are ambitiously attempting to spur the Second Coming of Christ. These evangelical fundamentalists have popularised the idea the Bible must be read literally. While perhaps a portion of the scriptures may clearly articulate laws and behaviour to correspond directly with our reality, to take the poetic and figurative narrative literally in other sections of the book would make the contents of the Book of Revelations, Book of Daniel and the Book of Ezekiel is real.

As such, they are actively participating in the implementation of the coming rapture or Armageddon despite the highly ambiguous and dream-like apocalyptic content by interpreting those descriptions into a physical reality. For instance, Ezekiel’ Temple Vision has been interpreted as the restoration of the temple that replaces the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. While they may appear a strange and insular people driven by eccentric beliefs and a violent do-it-yourself form of salvation, they are a powerful community now even more visible under the leadership of Trump who are committed in their efforts to endorse all the proxy-wars and other terrible activities in the Middle East. Read More

Evil: The Book of Isaiah

It is our society that shapes and dictates standards of morality and how we should behave, creating prohibitions based on ethical definitions often aligned with its own best interests. What one nation or community could view as grossly immoral may by another’ standards be considered moral, i.e., female circumcision, thus moral and ethical behaviour is a practice that is socially constructed and conditioned. However, the broader conception of evil includes offences such as vicarious negligence, poor leadership or ignorant decision-making that results in greater civil wrongs, or even physical illness and natural disasters that stand apart from an intentional motivation ascribed to individuals that knowingly and decisively act in a manner that endangers others. While ignorance is no excuse, intent stands outside of these socially constructed or conditioned evils and becomes universal in its condemnation of moral evil. The line of good and bad behaviour with moral agency could be blurred, so what are the conditions that can sufficiently explain the characteristics of evil? Read More

Moral Symbolism: The Book of Enoch

In 1077, Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV remained barefoot and on his knees in the snow for several days to express an act of penitence following his ex-communication by Pope Gregory VII, this symbolic gesture followed the power struggle between Church and State during the Investiture Controversy where appointed church officials had aligned their interests with the ruling nobility rather than the church that led to decades of civil war in Germany. There is implicit power in a symbolic gesture, a subtle and pre-reflexive understanding of an abstract, ritual discourse or exchange that represents a feeling or idea expressed using a non-verbal form of communication. Floriography explains the symbolic language of flowers, for instance, where the Lily and other flowers are used as a symbol in the Song of Songs to describe the purity, passion and beauty of the protagonist. The flower becomes the instrument to communicate feelings – as a gesture of friendship and love, to celebrate or mourn and thus the medium to explain these emotions. It is an implicit discourse embedded in our language and how we communicate with one another and gives meaning and significance to our experiences and personal interactions. Read More

Justice: The Book of Micah

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

The origins of human rights law in western legal tradition is said to have begun in 1215, when King John of England signed the Magna Carta Libertatum treaty that established the first set of rules protecting civil rights and liberties. The Magna Carta was not an immediate success but it became embedded in political discourses over the centuries until 1689 when the English Bill of Rights signed by William III and Mary II officially improved civil rights and enabled access for ordinary people to trials by jury and the ability to petition the King relating to disputes. More importantly it was the beginning of what we know of today as the ‘separation of powers’ between the jurisprudential, executive and legislative branches of governance, where the powers of the monarch became limited to ensure constitutional rights were equitable and where they built a democratic and egalitarian society on the foundations of justice. Read More