I will be analyzing each episode of the fourth season of Downton Abbey from a worldview perspective. There will, of course be SPOILERS for each episode, and I will assume readers know about each previous season and episode’s content as well. It will be assumed that readers are familiar with the characters and circumstances. I will not be summarizing the plot of the episode; I will merely interact with the content from a perspective of worldview. BE COURTEOUS AND DO NOT BRING UP LATER EPISODES THAN THE ONE DISCUSSED HERE IN YOUR COMMENTS.
I can’t help but think of the opening line of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Here, however, we have “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of good fortune must be in want of a husband.” Lady Mary is highly eligible widow, and the men are lining up. It will be interesting to see on what criteria she ultimately chooses, if she chooses any of them. Matthew was a genuinely good man, and it took him quite a while to be convinced/convince Mary.
The Disappearing Bates
Bates disappeared to York for a day. Then, the man who raped Anna turned up dead in an accident. Shocking. It looks like my prediction may come true. From a Christian worldview perspective, one has to ask whether Bates would be justified in killing the man. I would think the answer is fairly obviously no. I recall reading many comments from friends who said they’d kill the man and they really wanted Bates to do so. Although I understand the rage behind such comments, I have to wonder what justification one could get from a Christian worldview for doing so.
On the Christian worldview, such punishment should never be done in a vigilante fashion. Rather, the government has been given the sword (Romans 13:4) in order to carry out justice and punishment as a representative of God on Earth. Interestingly, this is the view of civil government I think we are taught in the Bible: we are to submit to the authorities because they are given as God’s agents on Earth. Does that mean governments always do right or do what God would desire? No, governments are run by sinful people and often for sinful purposes. However, God did not issue “the sword” to the individual; even in the times of ancient Israel, punishment was most often a communal thing: the whole community would present witnesses (at least two in order to convict), and punish through stoning. There is, of course, the notion of the avenger of blood, but even in those cases cities of sanctuary were provided and witnesses were needed.
So, to return to Bates, I do understand his extreme rage, but if he killed the man–as I suspect he did–then his action is not justified. Now, the question may arise as to whether the government would have done right had Bates gone to it. That is a separate issue as well. This episode brought up many things to contemplate regarding justice.
What are your thoughts on this issue?
It seems Lady Edith has chosen to keep her baby. Again, as I noted last time, I hardly see a ringing endorsement of a pro-life message here, but it is, nonetheless, a good thing to not have to face that in this series (yet). This episode highlighted another aspect of injustice, however: namely, that in order to not face public ridicule and shame, Lady Edith has to be whisked away to privately have the baby and then give him or her away. Such a society is inherently not a society which fully would support the pro-life message. Women should not be faced with shaming if they choose to have children.
A culture in which the primary reaction to pregnancy is essentially to shutter women away (whether married or not) as if it were an illness, and in the case of unmarried women, to socially scorn them, is not a culture in which a strong pro-life message can succeed.
Lady Edith’s pregnancy will be outed.
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