Ethics


In light of my recent post regarding religious freedom, Lowder with Chowder has a great video talking about this issue.  He illustrates it by showing what happens when a supposedly homosexual man asks a number of Muslim bakeries to bake him a same-sex wedding cake.  The end is great too.  He addresses the idea that people should not go into business unless they have no conscience or are willing to violate their conscience are willing to provide their services for any purpose.

Some people value Christian ethics, but deny that Christianity itself is true. This makes no sense. The truth of Christian ethics is directly dependent on the truth of Christian metaphysics. If Christian metaphysics are mistaken, then the ethics that flow from those metaphysics have no basis in reality (on the Christian worldview).

Granted, it could still be the case that Christian ethics are still true in toto or in part, even if Christian metaphysics is false. But in that case, they are true in virtue of the truth of some other metaphysical worldview or meta-ethical system. So why continue to embrace these ethics as CHRISTIAN ethics if their truth is grounded in something other than Christianity? It’s one thing to affirm that Christian ethics are true even if Christianity isn’t, but it’s another thing to subscribe to Christian ethics as CHRISTIAN ethics while denying that Christianity is true.

One of the distinguishing marks of the new atheists is that they not only think religion is false, but that it is dangerous and immoral too.  Even God himself is not above their judgment.  They regularly chide the God of the Bible as being a moral monster!  They accuse Him of being pro-genocide, anti-women, pro-rape, pro-slavery, etc.  Rather than the paradigm of moral goodness, God is an evil despot that is to be shunned.  You know it’s a bad day when even God is evil!

Is what they say true?  Is God – particularly as He is portrayed in the OT – morally evil?  Many Christians are sympathetic to this charge because they themselves struggle to understand God’s actions and commands, particularly as revealed in the OT.  Thankfully there have been some well-written responses to the problem of “theistic evil” written in recent years to dispel this negative portrait of God.  

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Sam Storms has written an insightful analysis of the idea that we can or should “forgive God.”  While a few snippets cannot do it justice, the heart of his argument is as follows: 

First of all, let me say that I understand where this sort of question comes from. I understand how people quite often are confused by what God does or doesn’t do. … But my struggle is with the language of “forgiving God.” For one thing, I don’t find it ever used in Scripture. That alone ought to give us pause before we incorporate such language into our Christian vocabulary or allow it to shape our theology or our understanding of spiritual formation.

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I have a theory about racism.  While I know racism is real, I think a lot of what passes for racism is actually a misdiagnosis of ethnocentrism (the idea that one’s culture is superior to others).

Each culture has its own unique worldview, values, and practices.  Humans tend to be suspicious of worldviews/values/practices that differ from their own.  In some cases, we can even despise all or some aspect of certain cultures (often for illegitimate reasons such as “I had an experience in which a person of X race did me wrong, therefore I don’t like people of X race”).  Many times, the skin color of the people in the culture we despise differs from our own as well.  But is the color of their skin the cause of the animosity?  No, I don’t think so.  The person from culture A with skin color B despises people from culture X with skin color Y, not because he hates skin color Y, but because skin color Y serves to identify the people who belong to the culture who thinks/acts in ways he despises.  In other words, race is incidental to the animosity, not the source.

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Hitler was responsible for killing approximately 11 million people as part of his Final Solution (of which the Holocaust was a part).  He is railed against as one of the most evil men in the history of the world, and rightly so.  Anyone with any moral sense would agree that the world would have been a much better place had Hitler never been born.  What if you had the ability to make that sentiment a reality?

Imagine for a moment that you discovered a way to travel through time, making it possible for you to ensure either that Hitler never be born, or that if born, he would not live long enough to rise to political power.  Under what circumstances do you think it would be morally justified to kill to prevent the Final Solution (and for those who can’t get past the emotional problem of what it would be like to personally pull the trigger, assume that you could send someone else to perform the deed)?:

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One way to avoid self-righteousness when your brother falls is to keep in mind that each of us is capable of the worst evil, because we are all equally fallen. That’s why Paul said, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Gal 6:1) and “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor 10:12).  See also 1 Cor 9:27.

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