Prompt: How important is the idea of covenant sanctions in the week’s readings?
Covenant sanctions refer to the punishments and rewards dished out by the top of the hierarchy. In this circumstance that would be the God of the Christian bible. In chapter 28 of Deuteronomy Moses explains both the positive and negative sanctions, and tells the outcome Israel will face if they choose to obey or disobey the word of God. The positive sanction is told as follows: “Now if thou wilt hear the voice of the Lord thy God, to do and keep all his commandments, which I command thee this day, the Lord thy God will make thee higher than all the nations that are on the earth.” Now on the contrary it also lists the negative sanctions: “But if thou wilt not hear the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep and to do all his commandments and ceremonies, which I command thee this day, all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.” The list of curses include: “You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country,” “Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed,” and “The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.”
Covenant sanctions are not only important in the Christian bible, they are the glue that hold the peoples faith. Fear is what makes people respect Gods authority. Some say it’s love, but at least in the sense of the bible, it’s fear. If the bible was held up by love Moses wouldn’t have to threaten curses on the unfaithful. There would, and I argue there should, be no sanctions. Sanctions set unrealistic expectations that often leave a sense of disappointment in those who trust their truth. Sanctions, at least the negative ones, turn a religion of love into a religion of fear and anxiety. That’s how the Roman Catholic church has gotten so powerful, and unsurprisingly so corrupt. Any religion that gains followers through fear is asking to attract corruption. The only place where these sanctions work to an advantage are with people that are already corrupt, those with low morals who need to be threatened into being a good person.
If you couldn’t tell i’m not the biggest fan of the bible. I find it far too self righteous and intolerant to maintain any personal interest. But that doesn’t mean i’m not a fan of Jesus. The historically accurate Jesus Christ was a very wise man with many wonderful truths to share. He said that God need not be found in a place of religion. God isn’t loitering around a churchyard, or sitting on the tongue of a preacher waiting for the sheep to listen. God is within all of us, and inside yourself is the only place you’ll truly find him. God is that warm feeling of self accomplishment, that tingling joy you feel when a soft wind blows through the treetops, the pure happiness and satisfaction of tucking your children into bed at night. God is happiness, love and light, and in my opinion portraying him as a dictator threatening curses on anyone who doesn’t respect his every law is misleading us into fearing that which we should find comfort in.