It All Started with the Family

2013-05-06_19-09-39_483This article was written using the ideas of a group of intellectuals at a discussion today. None of these ideas are my own ideas, only the interpretation of a discussion regarding the truth about the person by analyzing the difference between religious and non-religious groups.

This discussion analyzed the different systems and institutions that developed throughout history, abolished and kept; and the whole debate would always end in the same question, the truth about of the nature of the human person.

Starting with the individual, the questions jumped to systems, and specifically to democracy. The reason why something like this was brought up could have been, perhaps, because in a current relativistic world many things about society, and about people, are established by agreement, respecting different kind of opinions and putting in question the existence of one truth. However, by trying to find common values to set a bridge between different visions of society, the next statement was brought into discussion ‘All systems, even democracy, start in a pre-democratic, pre-political form, which is the family’.

Now, why would this be important in a debate about people´s values and societies’ quest for truth? Well, everything.

Since the core of the debate was about how to find a common point between the religious and the non-religious people, the question remained whether their understanding of life, truth and the way society works or should work, is that different. From the religious perspective, the question is whether society could develop without any moral authority or higher truth, and from the non-religious point of view, the question is whether we need religion to understand things such as freedom or solidarity, and if, perhaps, the dogma limits these values.

But if there could be a bridge between those two sides the thing to reflect about, as it turned out in our discussion, is to define those values. This leads us to the initial statement that every system, no matter what kind of dialogue it entails, starts at the same point: the family.

In a world where everything is questionable, because there is no such a thing as truth unless it is found through a scientific method, how could someone argue a sentence like “My mum loves me”, and how could science prove whether a mother actually loves her child or doesn’t. Can you convince that someone that what he is saying in ‘my mum loves me’ is not actually true? Most people would agree to this being true without needing any type of scientific proof, perhaps because most of them have experienced this kind type of love.  And the question sounds ridiculous anyway, doesn’t it?

The family is the “pre” of any kind of a genuine system that develops. It is perhaps because within the family we experience those values that are common and understandable to anyone without much scientific analysis. The love of a mother, from which a person is nurtured, is actually the one thing that very few people could deny. Understanding solidarity, through the example of parents who give everything, even what they don´t have, for the benefit of their children, is not something that any ideology, religious or non-religious, could succeed to contradict. This leaves us with the idea that the meeting point between all sides; left, right, conservative, liberal, religious or non-religious, exists in the core values that we all share despite differing interpretations we give to them. And those undeniable and irrevocable values that are so intrinsic to our nature start within the pre-system of any society, the family.

By Jessica Baptista, Director of WYA Latin America