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Catholic Dictionary




In general, the state of being equal. There are, however, two divergent interpretations of what this means. Theism, which assumes that there is a personal God, defines equality as the capacity that all men have to reach their eternal destiny, and therefore have the right to the means required for attaining the end for which they were created. Given these postulates, theism recognizes that no two people are completely equal in their possession of anything, that whatever they have is ultimately a gift from God. The nontheistic view of humanity considers man essentially earthbound with no assured destiny beyond the grave. It therefore redefines equality in this-worldly terms, as equal access to the good things of life on earth. Inequality, then, becomes any deviation from this mathematical sameness in sharing the world's available resources for giving satisfaction to mankind.