No government can restrict itself to timing stoplights.
Each government — each unified state — promotes an ethics, spirit, and values embraced culture-wide — or it is not unified.
The west: Greco-Roman in spirit, Judeo-Christian in the derivations of common law.
With exception (like Leviticus), the Torah tells much less than it invites or induces in lively ethical and moral argument. Some results of the great conversation with the universe stand up to time — and some don’t.
Is Abraham to be emulated for his instant obedience to God, or should he be chastised for not having had the courage to speak his conscience before God when tested?
That’s a Jewish argument if ever laid out for generations.
The aesthetic and moral evolution of the Jews, as with all tribes, comprises an ethnic part, but the universalism exceeds the same and borrowed into Christianity and Islam (start with jurist Hillel the Elder, who dies around 10-CE after updating Judaism in its legal aspect and making it more accessible to converts) may after 2,000 years and much spilled blood brought us to something new: a fresh start for everyone from an old base.
Israel won’t go backward to rote obedience to anything: we are always leaving Pharaoh and crossing rivers and going to the Promised Land with a mixed multitude. The labels give us fits — and that is something to address — but the general and more kind contours of our humanity may be something to build and prize together.
With fewer than 7,000 living languages extant in the world — and many disappearing annually –the first sound basis for peace may be judicious ethnolinguistic separation and some recognition of related distribution cores and margins across space. To obtain that within a compressed socially integrating information system, one might want the guidance of a few helpful principles and virtues (perhaps like those listed in the upper left part of the sidebar of this blog).
Stimulus for the comment:
“Secular” refers to many principles of fairness, but it does not mean merely “clinical” or “practical” or somehow “disembodied” and divorced from all that informs cultural self-concept.
The Jews caught a good break and bad one in their struggle with adverse and evil relationships and their striving for a different kind of culture, one diminishing the power of tyrants while being also kind and fair and just not only to its own throughout but to others as well.
Many interpretations have been offered as regards the inclusion in Exodus of “a mixed multitude” — but all agree on its inclusion and presence in the flight of the Jews from Pharaoh and out into the wilderness leading to the river leading to the Land.
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