Religion 2/21/04

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the values presented in the Beatitudes by Jesus. The values that I have chosen are honesty, peace, and tolerance. I will discuss each of these values, and whether mankind will be able attain these goals in the future.

The first value that will be discussed is honesty. Honesty is a value that the human race has always valued and aspired to for thousands of years. It is present in the Antithesis concerning adultery. Honesty is related to adultery in several ways. In order to have a successful relationship honesty is a necessity. Also, when people marry, they usually promise to be emotionally and sexually faithful to their partner. When discussing this law, Jesus tells his people whoever has lusted after someone other than his or her spouse, has committed adultery. He revises this law to say that humans should not have any lustful feelings for anyone other than his or her spouse. I feel that, while eliminating adultery is not a realistic goal anytime in near future, people should be mature enough to take their marriage vow seriously. I also think that how Jesus revises the law to say that we cannot lust after anyone if you we are in a relationship is very unrealistic. There is a difference between thoughts and actions. Admiring someone else but remembering the marriage vows is the most important thing. This value is also discussed in the Antithesis, Concerning Oaths. The original law states that one should never lie. Jesus then revokes the law to say do not lie at all. This law relates to the value of honesty because, especially in ancient times, people depended on the value of other peoples’ words. I think that this law may never be fully accomplished by humans, because humans are not perfect and the temptation to lie is sometimes there for all of us.

The second value that I will be discussing is the value of peace. While peace is a common theme found in the Bible, I will be discussing its significance in the Antithesis, Concerning Anger. This Antithesis tells the Jewish people that they will never be forgiven for their wrongs if they cannot forgive others of their wrongs. Jesus tells the people that, when angry, they should not worship at the temple until they have reconciled their argument. This law is related to the value of peace in several ways. Jesus tells the people that worshipping while you are angry is wrong because you have not readied your soul for God if you are distracted by negative feelings. The second example of peace found in the Sermon on the Mount is in the Beatitudes, Blessed Are the Peacemakers. This beatitude tells that the peacemakers are those who actively seek peace, and who try to settle arguments. I think that, unfortunately, peace is not possible for mankind anytime in the near future. Hopefully future generations will be able to overcome war and hate in order to have lasting world peace. If the history of mankind tells us anything, it predicts that, without major economic, political and emotional changes, we will continue to hurt each other through wars.

The last value I chose to discuss is tolerance, which is dealt with many times in the Bible in the Antithesis, Concerning Retaliation, the original law uses the statement “an eye for an eye”. Jesus looks at things differently. He says, when a law is violated, simply look the other way. In other words,” turn the other cheek” rather than “an eye for an eye”. This shows a more peaceful way of dealing with conflict. During Jesus’ time, because the Jews were prosecuted for their religious beliefs, looking the other way was a very powerful statement because it suggested non-violence. Tolerance is also found in the Antithesis, Love for your Enemies. The original law tells the people that they must hate those who have harmed them. Jesus continues to tell the people that love is better than hate and forgiveness better then bitterness. I think that non-violence is, unfortunately, not probable for this generation because we are unable to move beyond the differences that often cause wars and hatred. Until all societies are just, peace will be an unattainable