Archives For Morality

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“Your worldview has to have the same shape that reality does.”  – J. Budziszewski

 

As noted in the opening post in this series,  I believe Christianity offers compelling reasons to believe that truth is found most fully and consistently within the framework of a Christian worldview. The second post addressed the need for an objective foundation for morality. The language of morality only makes sense if we are significant moral agents who have an obligation to choose good and avoid evil, so my third post addressed the issue of whether or not we are really free.

The concepts of freedom and moral obligation brings with them the idea of justice. If right and wrong are objectively real, and we are people deserving of praise and culpability based on how our choices align with moral goodness, then part of the morally obligatory good would be to treat people justly. So, what is justice?

Wikipedia defines justice as, “A concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, natural law, religion, equity or fairness, …taking into taking into account the inalienable and inborn rights of all human beings…”  As C.S. Lewis noted,1 certain standard ideas of justice seem to permeate all cultures. It’s the “inalienable and inborn” that creates the controversy.

In spite of standards that permeate cultures, some cultures implement legal codes or approve of social norms that allow for activities that others generally perceive as unjust. Is justice of such a nature that we can genuinely judge the justice of particular situations, or are we simply talking about an concept that seems really good but has no foundation on which to take an objective stand? Is there a criteria that grounds our recognition of  and longing for justice? Continue Reading…

  1. The Abolition of Man []
“Your worldview has to have the same shape that reality does.”                     – J. Budziszewski

As noted in the opening post in this series, I believe Christianity offers compelling reasons to believe that truth is found most fully and consistently within the framework of a Christian worldview. Considering some recent front page headlines, it seems appropriate to begin by Continue Reading…

For those of you interested in the intersection between religion and pop culture, I have been posting a series of worldview analysis based on The Walking Dead and Philosophy, a book that looks at the deeper questions in AMC’s wildly popular series.

From “How Do You Solve A Problem Like A Zombie?”

“Even before The Walking Dead and Jersey Shore became popular, the world had been introduced to the notion of philosophical zombies, theoretical creatures identical to human beings with one tiny distinction – they have no consciousness, qualia, or sentience. Imagine a twin who is identical to you in every possible material way but lacks any type of inner subjective experience.  Clearly something is different between the two of you, but how and why?”

From “Much Undead Ado About Nothing”:

“Daniel Dennett says that ‘…mechanistic theories of consciousness…do, in fact, explain everything about consciousness that needs explanation.’   We may think we are conscious people with subjective experiences of rationality, self-awareness, thoughts, ideas, and emotions, but we aren’t. If Dennett is correct, then at some level ‘machines,’ ‘conscious beings,’ and ‘humans’ must have at least compatible, if not interchangeable, natures.  But do we have compelling reason to believe that our subjective experiences can be reduced to emergent qualities of complex biological and chemical machinery?”

From “Leviathans and Zombies: Social Contracts and the Walking Dead”:

“Beneath this story line lurk several serious questions:  Do people have rights?  If so, where do we get them?  Are they innate or contrived? And even if they exist and are codified, how are they best enforced?”

From “Absurd Heroism: Camus and the Real Walking Dead”:

“If Camus and his disciples are correct, we have always lived in a post-apocalyptic world. Which is worse, I wonder – a world in which human are wiped out, or one in which human have always roamed an earth devoid of meaning, hope, morality and truth?”

From “Deconstructing Humans”:

“The subhuman zombies of AMC’s The Walking Dead have reanimated a hot philosophical topic: What does it mean to be human?  It’s one thing to identify deviations from the norm. Clarifying the standard from which we are deviating is a bit more difficult.”

In the previous posts, I noted two key points in relation to Old Testament law. First, the laws cannot be understood apart from their context and purpose. Second, many of the laws that seem unusually restrictive served an important purpose: God wanted a people who understood what it meant for something to be “holy” – separate, undefiled, and distinct.  God used laws governing seemingly insignificant things to help the Israelites understand what it meant for them to be distinct from the cultures around them.

Even with these caveats, it’s hard to read the Law without cringing at more morally significant mandates, such as those concerning slavery or the treatment of women.

It is important to note that while the Israelite Law was a solid move toward a better world, the laws were usually incremental instead of complete.  The laws were intended to show a redemptive movement in the broader context of the world.  In Christian terms, this means God at times used progressive revelation to reveal truth.  The cultural climate of world was at a particular place; God used the Law to begin a redemptive movement away from injustice and toward justice.  It was a cultural shift that can only be appreciated by understanding what God was pulling people from and what he was pulling them toward.  The Old Testament shows the beginning of a restorative work in a very broken world through a particular group of people. This was the start of that process, not the finished product.  Continue Reading…

If you have been patient enough to read the previous series, you have read several key insights that help us understand God as he is revealed in the Old Testament:

So why does all of this matter to us today? Continue Reading…