Our Earth as Our Common Home

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 28 Jun 2010

Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

The modern means of technology that were developed over the past several decades made our planet Earth become much smaller. Travel between far distant countries is no longer measured in terms of miles or kilometers. It is merely measured in terms of time. Besides, what one nation may do for the better or the worse may eventually affect other nations as well. This explains, in part, why today we ended up facing so many insurmountable problems all of which may be solved if we were to take the appropriate approach.

Vital Needs of People

The only way for our earthly communities to live together peacefully and successfully is to do their best to protect properly and effectively their mutual interests. These interests may relate to survival, health care, education, and adequate living facilities, in addition to other important factors. Needless to say, since humans, by their very nature cannot be termed to be perfect, we have to make sure that we do not allow anything harmful to be done, especially when it could be avoided.

From a careful study of history we may likely discover that most of the problems people were faced with stemmed from fellow human beings who were egoistic to the point that, to get what they want, they were ready to cause harm to others without any hesitation. This explains why it is of paramount importance for every nation to put top priority on the vital needs of all people without exception. Since a nation is composed of human beings, a strong nation would be one that has been blessed with healthy people.

Besides, a nation reveals to be as productive as the talents of its respective people. Such talents could be well developed and cultivated through a good education. Today, the whole world is benefitting immensely from so many discoveries and inventions that originated from human minds. Of course, we need to keep in mind here the words of St. Catherine of Siena who said: anima sana in corpora sano – a healthy mind is found in a healthy body. This means that we cannot take the quality of our environment lightly.

In our earthly society, we are provided with a set of hierarchical laws to protect us from unneeded frustrations. They are hierarchical because in the event we have a clash, the one that is higher should be observed while the one that is lower should be disregarded. Such laws are: the Divine Positive Law, the Natural Law, the Ecclesiastical Law, and the Civic Law. Once we develop the real concept of such laws then we are likely to live happier and more harmoniously.

The Divine Positive Law

This law involves the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses in the Old Testament. They are found in every religion and culture under different names. Such commandments are simple and they do not allow any exception. Among such laws we find: You should not kill, you should not tell lies, you should not destroy the property of others and you should demonstrate respect for your parents.

The Natural Law

This law was implanted by God in nature so that everything, in our planet Earth especially, moves in perfect order. Among such laws we find: the law of gravity where everything heavier than air will go down, the law of conception where in due time the birth of a new creature would be expected, be it a human or an animal, and the law of plantation where the roots go down below the surface while the tree or the plant grow up above the surface.

The Ecclesiastic Law

This law is enacted by clergymen or by those responsible for a religious culture. Among such laws we find guidance to various religious practices, like praying and fasting, in addition to recommendations relative to the practice of virtues such as humility versus pride, love versus hate, honesty versus dishonesty, altruism versus egoism and so on. Such laws are usually inspired by either the divine positive law or the natural law.

The Civic Law

This law is enacted by governments for purpose of establishing order in their respective nations. Among such laws we find traffic laws as to make people be safer, the establishment of business norms as to promote honesty and to prevent exploitation of some kind, and codes to various buildings as to assure better safety for people. Since this law is at the bottom of the hierarchy, no government can establish laws that may go against the other three laws.

Since the first two sets of laws were made by God Himself, there is nothing wrong about them. In fact, if we were to analyze carefully the sources of problems we have had in planet earth since the very beginning, we can trace them to human deliberate violations of such laws. These laws, by their very nature, go way above the civic law, which can change from time to time, often as to fit the taste of those responsible for such an enactment. When human beings enact laws that are contrary to the divine positive law and the natural law, they constitute an abuse of power, which should be viewed as criminal.

Respect for the Divine and Natural Laws

Of course, the ecclesiastic law is meant to create norms and regulations as to enable people observe better and more productively both the divine positive law and the natural law. However, in the event religious leaders were to enact laws that go against the first two laws, then such laws should be ignored. Throughout history we find wars waged in the “name of God!” This means we try to please God by killing his other children and destroying their property! Such actions go against God’s Commandments, which were often disregarded by three of the most affluent religions, namely, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

We need to learn from the lessons of history not to repeat the same mistakes. We should become well familiar with the traditional saying: To err is human and to persist in error is diabolical. We also should be fully aware of the fact that prevention is better than cure. This would help us avoid a lot of regret through needless loss of sacred human lives and their places of habitation. We need to replace hatred with love, pride with humility and anger with patience. Some ascetical writers tell us that if God behaved toward us like we do with each other, human life would have been exterminated long time ago.

Our perpetual motto should be: Our earth is our common home. This would give us a feeling of real brotherhood, a feeling that, after all, we are truly members of one big family that all depend on each other. This would lead us to a genuine love and respect for each other. The very concept of war not only would become remote but it would instill in us real shame and remorse when we think of our past human actions throughout our earthly history. This way we would become genuine peacemakers, which would classify us truly beloved children of God, our common Father.

In view of this, the job of every government should be to take all needed steps toward the creation of a global community that would be fit for our total well-being. Besides, the job of every human being should be to perform daily services that would eventually make our planet our common home.

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Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.:

President, International Association of Educators for World Peace, Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education, Environmental Protection, Human Rights & disarmament.

Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University.

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 28 Jun 2010.

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