Sunday, October 5, 2008

Suicide, the Market, the Eigth Commandment, and Human Value

While waitng for my husband to come our from his office this morning, I heard on the news that a woman had attempted to take her life. The reason was blamed on the market. Anaylsis was given that the woman "had other problems" besides her mortgage.

Just this morning I couldn't sleep, so I decided to get up and write on my blog. The subject was on suicide and human value. In that entry I argued that life's meaning was given within the context of community and when the social structures do not affirm the life, there can be the response of suicide. Suicide is not done within an isolated context, but an incident that illustrates what has happened over a lifetime. It's "speech/act" is of a de-valued life.

This morning"s sermon was on the Eigth Commandment, "thou shalt not steal". In the sermon, my pastor argued that the OT's boundaries were different from the NT's. The Old Testament regards the boundaries of self and other. He argued that the Sermon on the Mount asked us to "give all" without any regard for "self" in how, or what was required. In fact, if we do not give, we are stealing, in effect, for all things belong to God. While I agree with this in premise, I wondered to myself, and this was before hearing of this woman's suicide, how in disregarding another's improper behavior toward you would enlarge the "greater good"? Wouldn't it only empower evil? and make a statement to the guilty that there needs to be no guilt? My pastor went on to make an illustration of a burglary he had experienced, where this young man broke into his house on four occassions. Wouldn't it be appropriate to get him help? And wouldn't part of the help be reabilitation for his behavior?

Nations certainly don't maintain the NT's standard of "turning the other cheek", unless one adheres to pacifism. I find that the "ideal" of the Sermon on the Mount is just that "ideal" in an imperfect world. Idealism is impractical. What I really think my pastor meant and what I believe the Sermon on the Mount means is that possessions should not "own us". That means we are not making decisions based solel y on the market. But, that does not mean that we do not consider the market, otherwise there is no justice in our form of government. Justice is not what the Sermon on the Mount is about, but mercy. And certainly, my pastor was not asking us to disregard justice.

What does my blog's early morning entry, the woman's suicide, and my pastor's sermon have in common? A person's value....A person's value is worth more than the money he makes or has, and yet, if the community, state, nation, condones market values on life, then my pastor's sermon becomes an absurdity to the individual whose life has been weighed and measured by those standards and not loved and embraced as an individual.

I wonder if the woman who attempted to take her life, was only acting out what society's message to her was in the first place?

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