Did you know that the Founding Fathers referred to Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, more than any other source? What is it about this book that is so special? Dennis Prager has answers.
This video was made possible through our partnership with Dallas Baptist University. To learn more about DBU, please visit www.prageru.com/dbu.
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The only way to become a good person, or make a better society is by studying goodness. Many people think that all you need to do good or be good is to have good intentions.
But you can no more be good without studying how to be good than you can play piano without studying how to play piano or practice medicine without studying medicine.
There is a word for the study of goodness and how to make a good world: wisdom. Unfortunately, however, for much of the last century, few schools and few parents have taught wisdom.
The result is moral chaos.
Most of the wisdom of Western civilization—the civilization that has been the most successful in history in making good societies—comes from the Bible. That’s why the Bible is the most influential book ever written.
So, I will share with you some of the wisdom from just one book of the Bible—the fifth, Deuteronomy.
One. “Do not show partiality in judgment.” Chapter One, Verse Seventeen.
A compassionate society is built on justice, not compassion. That might sound counterintuitive. But while we should be compassionate in our private lives, the state must be preoccupied with justice. That is the reason for this law: judges are forbidden not only to show favor to the rich but also to the poor. The purpose of a judge is to dispense justice.
Two. “Do not be afraid of anyone.” Also Chapter One, Verse Seventeen.
Every human being has fears. The question is whom do we fear? And for most people, only if you fear God will you not fear men. Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer,one of the few Germans to actively oppose the Nazi regime—and who was executed for doing so—feared God more than Hitler. If more Germans had feared God more than they feared Hitler, and if more Russians had feared God more than they feared Stalin, tens of millions of people would not have been murdered.
Three. You will find Him if you seek Him. Chapter Four, Verse Twenty-Nine.
Just as finding a spouse can take years of searching, so, too, finding God can take years of searching. But like a good spouse, the effort is worth it. Without God, life has no ultimate—no objective—meaning. If there is no God, every one of us is as insignificant as a grain of sand. It is not a coincidence that as fewer Americans take God and religion seriously, suicide and depression rates have risen dramatically.
Four. “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Chapter Five, Verse Seven.
We have more ‘gods’ in modern life than idol-worshippers had in the ancient world. Just to cite one of a dozen examples, many secular people believe in science the way religious people believe in God and the Bible. But there is a big problem with that. Unlike God and the Bible, science has nothing, simply nothing, to say about good and evil or about the meaning of life.
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