Legalism V Minimalism

Topics: Law, Idea, Need Pages: 2 (472 words) Published: October 11, 2008
There are two ways of having an attitude towards law- minimalism and legalism. Minimalism refers to an attitude of doing only the least that is required by law in our moral life. Legalism refers to an attitude of strict observance of laws regardless of circumstances and possible harm to people involved. Minimalism and legalism are deceptive partners in our attempts to lead moral lives, and Jesus does not agree with having either of the attitudes. Towards minimalism, Jesus encourages us to do more, and towards legalism, he encourages us to place concern for people and love of God over observance of law.

Minimalism is basically just doing the bare minimum required of us by law, which means that in most cases we would not really have to give a care about others. This attitude means that we do not consider the needs of others. Examples of this attitude towards rules are rules such as traffic rules. They are broad and they do not mean that we have to be courteous drivers, it does not mean that we should give other drivers space to merge. Jesus would want us to give the space to merge and to be courteous and if someone is having trouble on the side of the road, rather then pass them, stop to help them.

Legalism refers to emphasizing strict observance of the law. So, this means that we can completely ignore love because the law does not say that we need to love everyone or anything for that matter. However we are called to love and to keep in mind the needs of other people so there is obviously some controversy between what we are taught during mass and what law says if we have a legalistic mindset. An example of legalism is obeying speed limits and going the speed limit when a road is covered in ice, which is clearly not a good idea because you are at risk because the car is harder to handle and stop on ice. We are legalistic if we consider people good guys or bad guys on the basis of how they follow law.

Jesus was against both these attitudes towards law. He...
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