In my contemplation of our current political environment, the word nobility keeps coming to mind, in two very different connotations. The dictionary provides two different definitions of the word and in one sense nobility seems totally lacking in much of the political debate and in the other it is the underlying motivation.
In the more positive sense, the word "nobility" means the state of mind and action characterized by virtue, goodness, honor, decency, and integrity. In a less flattering form, the same word can indicate those who claim hereditary honor and entitlement. It is a term often applied to the old style aristocracies we often condemn for their presumption and arrogance.
In the debate about the role of government and its associated costs the positive notion of nobility seems absent. Nobility of this kind is predicated on a commitment to that which is right without regard to whether it is easy, convenient, or self serving. Nobility gladly accepts the cost of doing what is right and decent because to do otherwise is to diminish oneself, to be less than God intended.
In a real sense the second form of nobility is the polar opposite of the first. Those operating under this concept of nobility claim superiority and privilege as a birthright. Their claims supersede and preempt those of all others because they were born to be highly regarded and privileged. Since birth is mere happenstance, such entitlements are easily claimed as God given. Thus this form of nobility is thus often justified by reference to religion and it's picture of God.
In that regard, it is hard to imagine how a people can exhibit a greater nobility than the deity they honor and invariably emulate. Frequently, man's idea of God is merely a mixture of those characteristics a society may esteem in men. Those admired characteristics may of may not be noble in the sense of virtuous and decent. Men readily praise and envy strength, power, and wealth even when demonstrated in destructive ways. Thus, divine beings in many religions resemble fantastic super humans, displaying all the pluses and minuses of humanity in general.
So in the final analysis I ask myself two questions. First, do I want to be noble or known as a noble. Second, which form of nobility logically characterizes the noble God who can inspire me to nobility.