Sunday, April 17, 2005

Honour Thy Father

Honour Thy Father and Thy Mother
Dear Internet Diary,

The Fifth Commandment:
Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Is it a moral absolute that we must always honor our parents? Upon observation, it looks ridiculous to me. In all my many years of experience working with children and schools, I have seen the worst attributes one can find in humanity among the parent-class. Somehow we have managed to give them a special place in society, as if being able to successfully carry a child to term makes one special. No, I'm not attacking all parents, but I have yet to understand the range of horrors afflicted upon children and the rest of us by parents--because they are parents. Successful reproduction might be a cause for congratulations, if it weren't usually accidental, but it sure isn't some kind of unwritten contract insinuated upon the child for the rest of the parents' lives.

The bible makes it clear that the fifth commandment is an absolute. Exodus says that if a child talks back to or hits his parents for any reason, he will be put to death. This is interesting, as Jesus Christ, God Himself, not only says we must hate our father and our mother in order to be worthy followers, but he bad-mouths The Queen of Heaven Herself in 2 John:
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

Yet Jesus claims, in John 15:10
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I HAVE KEPT MY FATHERS COMMANDMENTS, and abide in His love.

There are reasons to respect anyone in a family relationship, of course. Anyone wanting a happy life should know this. But why would a parent want their children to respect them only because of law, biblical or otherwise? That respect does not come freely but, figuratively (and literally, from more than one person I know) at gunpoint. That kind of respect cannot be trusted. And that kind of respect is most easily abused. It all follows, logically, right to the relationship we are supposed to have with our father--in heaven.

But thanks for listening, Diary.

1 comment:

Aaron Kinney said...

That commandment is also worthless in that it has no context or reason behind it.

Respect should be a mutual thing, even in a parent-child relationship. Of course, the parent has authority over the child and the parent gets to have the final say, but part of that "respect" that the parent should have is for the position of power that they are in and the responsibility they have to properly raise a child to be a functional and happy member of society.

Your thoughts regarding this "absolute" are very accurate in that they show the weakness of this commandment. Adults are still humans and they are still fallible. The responsibility, or "honor," must be mutual for it to have any meaning.