Empty BedThe 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.


Push into GraveLong commutes, domestic responsibilities, teaching, and the need for more sleep (old age) have prevented me from blogging as much as I would like to.  That means I get behind on my cultural commentary. Case in point: the legalization of assisted suicide in California.

On October 5 Governor Brown signed the bill into law after years of failed attempts from the assisted suicide lobby (the CA Senate approved it by a vote of 23 to 14, and the CA House approved it by a vote of 43 to 34).  Assisted suicide is not something I write about too often, but it is a matter of concern to me. Here’s why I think it should be a matter of concern to you as well:

Legalizing suicide sends the message that there are some human lives not worth living. While suicide advocates say the option for suicide gives people dignity, it does anything but. It robs them of their dignity and value. It communicates a message to them that they are better off dead than alive. Indeed, to claim that this is “death with dignity” is a backhanded way of saying those who choose to suffer in life rather than choosing to take their own life lack dignity. The message is loud and clear: death is more noble than life.


why_did_god_allow_the_possibility_of_evil_and_suffering_tSteven Cowan and Greg Welty argue contra Jerry Walls that compatibilism is consistent with Christianity.[1] What they question is the value of libertarian free will (the freedom to do other than what one, in fact, chooses to do, including evil).  Why would God create human beings with the ability to choose evil?  Libertarians typically argue that such is necessary in order to have genuine freedom, including the freedom to enter into a loving relationship with God.  After all, if one could only choose A the good), and could never choose B (the evil), then their “choice” of A is meaningless.  The possibility of truly and freely choosing A requires at least the possibility of choosing B. The possibility of evil, then, is necessary for a free, loving relationship with God. It is logically impossible for God to create free creatures who are unable to choose anything other than A.

Cowan and Wells ask, however, what would be wrong with God creating us in a way that made it impossible for us to desire or choose evil, and yet our choice would still be free.  All that would be required is the presence of more than one good to choose from (A, C, D, E, F…).  No matter what we choose, we could have chosen some other good, but never evil.  This avoids the logical contradiction and preserves real freedom of choice.  Cowan and Wells argue that such a world would be superior to our world since this possible world preserves libertarian free will, but lacks evil.  In their assessment, there is no reason for the actual world if the value of libertarian free will (relationship with God, gives us freedom to choose the good, gives us the freedom to do otherwise) could be obtained without the possibility of evil.  For the libertarian who wants to maintain that the actual world is superior to this possible world, they must maintain that the greatest value of libertarian freedom is that it gives us the opportunity to do evil.  Why would God value our ability to do evil if He is good and hates evil?  Why would God create a world in which libertarian freedom results in evil if He could have achieved all of the goals of libertarian freedom without evil?


BidenVice President Biden says abortion is always wrong, but he won’t impose his views on others. Mr. Biden, are there any other human beings believe it’s wrong to kill, but won’t impose that view on others?  How about newborns?  How about toddlers?  How about teenagers (some parents would like to kill a few)?  Why not allow others to kill newborns, toddlers, and teenagers?  Why do you feel the right to impose your view on others for these human beings, but not unborn humans?  Why are you discriminating against the unborn?

Deliberation-by-Mario-Sánchez-NevadoCompatibilists are those who believe that freedom and determinism are compatible with each other. On their view, one is free so long as they make actual choices. And they maintain that people do make actual choices: They choose what they desire. Of course, the problem comes when you ask where those desires come from. The desires are determined by God or physics. So what if physics or God determined for you to desire to kill your roommate? Then you will “choose” to kill your roommate.

In my estimation, this is not a very robust sense of freedom. Indeed, I would argue that it is not freedom at all. If desires cause actions, but the desires are determined by something other than the self, then the actions are determined as well, even if only in a secondary or intermediate sense. More could be said in the way of critique, but I have done so elsewhere.

For this post, I just want to pose a simple question to compatibilists: If our choices are caused by our desires, are our desires are determined by God/physics, then why is “choosing” so hard?  Why do we struggle with deliberation?  The only reason we experience deliberation is because we possess conflicting desires and we need to weigh them to decide which desire to act on.  If our desires are determined, does that mean God (or physics) determined for us to have conflicting desires?  If so, what would the purpose be other than to give us the false appearance of having libertarian free will?

Doritos-RainbowTongue-in-cheek, of course, but c’mon!  What’s next?  Polygamous Doritos that contain three flavors in a single bag?  I can see the ad: “They’re Doritogomous!”  Or perhaps Bisexual Doritos (Bi-ritos), where each chip contains two flavors?

It’s just amazing to me how brands like Oreos and Doritos are bending over backwards to promote the moral acceptance of homosexuality. Enough already. Let me eat my Doritos in peace. They are “food,” not propaganda.

Religious-Liberty-CensoredIt’s alarming to me how the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment is being framed these days by government officials. It is being limited to the freedom to believe as you want privately, rather than the ability to practice your faith publicly. Case in point: same-sex marriage. A Christian business owner is free to believe that same-sex marriage is immoral, but they are not free to act on their convictions by denying a request to offer their services in support of a same-sex wedding. They can believe as they want, but they cannot act on those beliefs in a public manner.

This is wrong. The First Amendment guarantees us the right to believe and practice our religion without government interference.  The freedom of religion is not limited to the private sphere, but to public expression as well.  Indeed, religious freedom that doesn’t allow one to act as if their beliefs are actually true is not religious freedom at all.

If we allow the government to reinterpret the First Amendment as a right to private belief only, we will cease to have true religious freedom in this country. Freedom of religion means that one is free to believe as they want, and to act on those beliefs.


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