Monday, November 14, 2005

Do legal systems need religion to survive?

Harold Berman strikes again:

In speaking of a spiritual faith, or religious spirit, that is
needed to support a legal order that crosses all ethnic, territorial,
cultural, and religious boundaries, I start from the fact that every
legal order requires for its vitality the support of a belief system that
links law not only with morality but also with fundamental
convictions about human nature and human destiny. This is an
anthropological truism, not a theological proposition, and should
therefore be easily accessible to all persons. And it is a matter of
obvious importance, although unfortunately it is not taken seriously
by our legal scholars. In all societies religion and law, in the broad
sense of those words, are interdependent and interact with each
other. In all societies there are shared beliefs in transcendent values,
shared commitments to an ultimate purpose, a shared sense of the
holy: certain things are sacred.

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