Growing up, I rarely – if ever – heard anyone in authority discuss the relationship between Judeo-Christian concepts of morality and health. Instead, morals were cast as somewhat arbitrary rules that had to be followed to avoid being cast into hell.
I can’t speak to what may happen in the afterlife. But in my almost six decades on the planet, I have observed that there is a powerful correlation between the foundational principles of morality in Judeo-Christianity and health in this life: physical and spiritual health, emotional and psychological health, and societal health.
The Ten Commandments are an excellent starting point. The simple admonitions contained therein serve as the foundation for a healthy, well-functioning society, set in order of importance. They begin with the relationship between God and man, then allocate time between earthly work and worship, then move to the importance of the nuclear family. From there, they move outward to the relationship human beings have with one another.
The first, second and third commandments sound purely authoritarian: “I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no other gods before me,” “Thou shalt not make idols” and “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” But these are crafted to protect us. At the time the Ten Commandments were handed down – and for millennia before and after – the world was filled with religious, cultural and societal practices dedicated to pagan gods. Such practices were often brutal and bloody,