Finally, something has been done about the Episcopalian Church’s flagrant acceptance of homosexuality and same-sex marriage in defiance of Church of England’s teaching. The pessimist in me thinks this disciplinary action is not enough, is just delaying the inevitable split of the church, and was probably forced upon the Church of England’s native leaders by its conservative bodies abroad. I would love to hear the thoughts of anyone living in England or part of the Episcopalian Church.
January 20, 2016
October 26, 2015
The predominant sexual ethic today is built on three moral principles: 1) Consent; 2) No harm involved; 3) Whatever feels good. As long as it feels good, no one is getting hurt, and those involved are consenting to it, it is deemed to be morally acceptable. Timothy Hsiao has written a great article showing why consent and harmlessness are not sufficient to justify a sexual behavior.
Regarding consent, Hsiao argues that consent ought to be based on what is good for us (not just desired by us), and thus the inherent goodness of the act – not just consent – is required. Furthermore, to give consent is to give someone moral permission to do what they would not be justified in doing absent the consent. Giving consent, then, presumes that one has the moral authority to give that permission to another. But if one lacks the moral authority to grant such permissions, consent is not sufficient to make an act ethical. If the act in question is not morally good, then the consenter lacks the proper authority to give consent.
August 23, 2015
LifeWay Research conducted a survey of 1000 American adults and 1000 Protestant pastors to get their take on what is considered a justifiable divorce and what is not. Only 38% of Americans think it is a sin to get a divorce on the grounds that a couple no longer loves one another. It’s no wonder we have so much divorce.
Ironically, the percentage of American people who see divorce as being wrong is consistent, despite the reason. For example, 39% think it is sin to divorce one’s spouse for adultery, and 37% think it’s a sin to divorce one’s spouse due to physical abuse. Protestant pastors, on the other hand, were much more discriminate. Here is a chart detailing the responses:
July 19, 2012
The evidential problem of evil points to the improbability that the amount of evil we see in the world – particularly gratuitous evil – would exist if an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God exists. The argument usually takes the following form:
(1) If God exists, gratuitous evil would not exist
(2) Gratuitous evil exists
(3) Therefore God does not exist
Many theists attempt to undermine this argument by attacking the veracity of premise two. For example, William Lane Craig and William Alston argue that humans are not in an epistemic place to judge any act of evil as gratuitous since we cannot see the big picture of history. For all we know, an act of seemingly gratuitous evil will result in a greater good years or even centuries from now, either in the life of the person who experienced the evil or in the life of another person in another country. Our cognitive limitations should not be used as evidence that gratuitous evil exists. At best we must remain agnostic on the question.
This is an appeal to the Greater-Good Defense, which argues that God has a morally sufficient reason for permitting all evils—including those that appear gratuitous to us—such as using them to bring about some greater good that could not have been brought about apart from those evils.
In the latest issue of Philosophia Christi, Kirk R. MacGregor provides some reasons for thinking that this response to the evidential problem of evil is misguided. Just because our cognitive and temporal limitations make it impossible for us to prove that any act of evil is truly gratuitous does not mean that gratuitous evil does not exist. He argues that the belief that some evils are gratuitous is a properly basic belief. For example, we do not believe that every time we are bitten by a mosquito or stub our two that these evils have some greater purpose or will be used to accomplish a greater good. Such things make virtually no difference in our own lives, yet alone on the grand scheme of things. Given the proper basicality of belief in gratuitous evil, MacGregor says the burden of proof is on those who would deny the existence of gratuitous evils, and to meet their burden of proof they must explain how every instance of gratuitous evil actually results in some greater good. This is not possible, and thus the person who believes in the existence of gratuitous evil is prima facie justified in maintaining that belief, even given his cognitive and temporal limitations.