In our discussion of theologically related topics in the 20th century, we have discussed Civil Disobedience in the interests of justice. Before we proceed with matters of science, philosophy, religious belief, practice, and theology we will first discussnotions of Natural Law (or the unwritten law concerning general notions of justice – how one is to behave consistent with natural purposes and structures) as it relates to positive law (or the recognized legislative law of localities, states, and the Federal government.)
In general, we discussed civil disobedience as it related to the violation of legislative law as well as social expectations in pursuit of Truth and Justice. Natural Law is to be distinguished vrom civil disobedience in that it focuses on notions of justice within the natural order of the world, whether or not it is popularly or politically recognized as authoritative. For example, Augustine believed that in the natural order of things, as established or intended by God in “His” creation of the world, war was not justified except in particular situations, such as self defense. That issue of what justified war again arose when the US initiated the “Gulf War,”then,after 9-11, the wars in Iraq against Sadaam and then the war against Al qaeda in Afganistan was it justified under Natural Law? Gandhi, on the other hand, believed that no violence was justified, even as a defense to aggression or offense; rather, Ahimsa required that one, in the words of Jesus, “turn the other cheek.” Gandhi believed that Great Britain could not recognize its offenses against Indians in South Africa and in India until it could recognize that they it denied to Indians, to their great injury, the very principles of Justice and Truth that it enjoyed, indeed demanded, for itself.
The next posts will consist of chapters addressing the following subjects relating to notions of justice:
How can we know the authoritative commands of justice?
What can we know of spirit?
Justice: obedience to rules or to right relationships?
American democratic theory: the practical framing of the Constitution upon notions of Natural Law.
The Constitution unfolds: Americans’s struggles with the practical and the ideal.
Erosion of Natural Law throughout the 19th and 20th centuries
Retreat from Idealism to Pragmatism