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Letter To NZine - How Appropriate Is The Story Of The Good Samaritan Today?
Bob Bargh - 14/1/00

Bob Bargh looks at the myths of the Good Samaritan and George Washington and the cherry tree. Are their values current today or should they be revised?

A couple of our ancient and founding myths need to be revised in view of the redefined values which have been universally embraced throughout the world, especially among its succeeders.

Jesus' story of the Good Samaritan is no longer appropriate. Today one can identify with those who attacked and robbed the man going down to Jericho; they had something to gain. We can appreciate the actions of the priest and Levite when they stay clear of trouble. Today the Good Samaritan of the original story invokes no sympathy at all. He failed to recognise that the plight of that Jericho-bound man was of his own making and he got what he deserved for not being able to look after himself.

The old chestnut about George Washington "I cannot tell a lie, Pa" and the cherry tree also needs re-evaluation. William Jefferson Clinton would not have admitted to the offence. He would have challenged his father's definition of 'cut down'. Today lying is no longer a question of morals; for all of us it now falls into the category of expediency. Those old timers who admire George Washington's compulsion to tell the truth must realise that in today's world, when great issues are at stake, the truth is irrelevant.

In the past respect for the truth, both individually and socially, must have stretched back beyond even the founding of the great religions but today's world doesn't remember offensive yesterdays; it only anticipates lavish tomorrows for the fortunate few.

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