Engaging with an idea

One day, having been robbed, the Bible commentator Matthew Henry (1662-1714) wrote: “I thank Thee [God] first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed.”


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1. Is there a difference between Henry’s thanking God and Henry’s (let’s imagine) thanking of the robber? [100 words limit]

2. In the above quote, did Henry agree with what the robber did to him? Did Henry condemn the robber? [Just say, YES or NO]

3. Do you agree with the following comments on Henry’s dairy? Why or why not?

Imagine someone writes

Henry writes: “I thank Thee… because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed”, therefore implying that because he is morally just and follows the law, he is better than the one who robbed himPerhaps this implies that seemingly having goodness in one’s heart makes one better in the eyes of religion, the law, and society. Being morally just, in turn, is highly regarded by society, and will get us further in life. However, if this is how Henry thinks, how do we know that the robber did not commit this act for a larger purpose? Perhaps the robber needed the money to feed his family or to take care of a sick family member. Without knowing the circumstance of the robber, it is unfair to say Henry is morally just and the robber is not. An ethical question then emerges : is it moral to disobey the law if it is for a higher purpose? Is it moral to take from another person for the benefit of one’s own self/community/family?” [200 words limit]


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