Villain of the week, a banker, had had someone murdered. He said it was his “duty” to prevent losses to his bank and shareholders.
What is the world like? TV dramas range between the reassuring ones where right wins over wrong, and the bracing ones where what matters is power and money- from Person of Interest to The Good Wife with Ripper Street somewhere in the middle. In 19th century Whitechapel, a slum, the decent police inspector is driven to only a little bad conduct, so that those who like good and bad neatly divided may retain sympathy with him- less this series than the first.
We so want the world to be one where good wins and bad suffers, where there are rules which are obeyed by good people, which all good people may understand, so that the bad people are excluded. Me too. So Ardie Bea‘s long, scholarly series on the Bible and homosexuality (he thinks it’s against) follows a tempting line. God sets out the rules. The rules are in the Bible. We can know what is Good.
Unfortunately, Jesus disagrees. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. In Matthew 10 he sends out his disciples, and warns them of the bear pit he sends them into- yet tells them not to take money or spare clothes. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus claims to “fulfil” the law. Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Right conduct is impossible, for unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
What is right is contingent and provisional.