Is there such a thing as a universal covenant between people today that is unspoken, yet understood?  Or are we all doomed to the niches of our own faith? 


Is a covenant more sacred than a promise or a vow?

If we were to define together the “Covenants of Modern Faith” — what would you include as universal values and morals that chain us together in unity and save us from our darkest selves?

We will define “covenant” as a “one way agreement” that is unenforceable.  The covenanter can only break a covenant.  No “meeting of the minds” is necessary for a covenant to be enforced and enforceable. 

The beauty of a covenant is that it is based, in essence, on faith and the honor of your word and action — and if a covenant is broken or not renewed, the only person wounded in the exchange is the covenanter. 

15 Comments

  1. That’s a good one, anne! Getting along with each other — a choice, not a mandate, a covenant and not a contract — is an important indicator of an advanced theory of social interaction.

  2. There’s a saying in Judaism that we have to always remember to give honor to the government because if there were no government everyone would swallow their neighbor whole. Not literally. Okay, sometimes. literally. Food for thought. (Bad choice of words?)

  3. Gordon —
    I like that warning! We do need government to civilize us. Without some sort of external structure we would gorge on each other’s fruits and labors.

  4. David! a covenant has to be more sacred than a promise because it is a promise we make to ourselves. and if we cannot keep the promises we make to ourselves, how can we even expect to keep the ones we make to others?
    as for the government, it’s also good to remember that if we don’t watch out, the government will be more than willing to swallow its citizens. and what makes it worse is that it’ll make it seem legitimate and there’ll be nothing to stop it! order is not its own end, true, good and lasting order comes from balance.

  5. I appreciate your warning, Dananjay. There is certainly a danger in a government devouring its citizenry. I’m not sure how we protect against that from happening.

  6. David–
    I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time answering this question.
    Everytime I come up with something, I seem to shoot it down.
    It used to be that taking care of our elders was an important thing and universal in all if not many cultures.
    But we’re not doing a very good job in this country and I fear what’s in store for us all as we age.

  7. I struggle with the issue too, Donna. We did used to value the elderly. Then they became expensive to keep because they lived longer, but not healthier, and so the drain on the modern family became too much and warehousing them in nursing homes became the next best awful and inhumane choice. I also think the plastic surgery movement changed a lot of morals and values as anything old and wrinkled became “bad” and “dangerous” and no longer relevant.

  8. Hi David,
    According to me the “covenants of modern faith” should be “to have an extra ounce of patience, understanding and tolerance” – its collective value worldwide is going to be huge.

  9. I like your thinking, Katha. Extra patience is, indeed, something that we all require — but can only offer — requiring it is impossible!

  10. >If we were to define together the “Covenants of Modern Faith” — what would you >include as universal values and morals that chain us together in unity and save us >from our darkest selves?
    Respect for the truth and respect for persons. As for when a “person” first exists to warrant our respect, Roe v. Wade has a huge claim to consensual validation through the passage of time.

    Aloha ~~~ Ozzie Maland ~~~ San Diego

  11. Hi Ozzie —
    Is all life viable and valuable? In the past here we have discussed that the “sign of life” is generally considered to be human breathing.
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2007/11/02/measuring-the-commodity-of-human-breathing/
    I’m not sure if something that relies entirely on something else for nutrition and “breathing” while growing inside its host is a defendable or sustainable life form — especially if we first remove the host from consideration.

  12. >Is all life viable and valuable?
    Some cultures have supported infanticide, where newborns are blind or afflicted by other major disabilities. I think a strong argument can be made for allowing the first year after birth to be a probationary sort of existence, so as to avoid both a major support burden for society and a hellish prolongation of existence for an infant. But it will be a very long time before this issue will be addressed seriously in any sizable state or country (owing in no small part to religious creeds), and I may be putting myself up as a homicide target just by bringing the matter up. Certainly no one person should have the legal power to opt for infanticide, not even the mother, but if both parents and a duly authorized agency gave approval, I would have to consider the potential benefits.

    Aloha ~~~ Ozzie Maland ~~~ San Diego