Category Archives: morality

The Role of Christian Belief in Public Policy

In addressing how Christians should be involved in such public debates, John Stott describes three possibilities. First, Christians could impose their beliefs and values on society as a whole. He cites the thirteenth-century European Inquisition to combat heresy and the twentieth-century U.S. prohibition of alcohol as prominent examples.

A second and opposite approach is laissez faire—noninvolvement. The disastrous example Stott cites is the failure of the German church to speak out against the Nazi treatment of the Jews.

Rather than these two unjust and ineffective methods, he argues for persuasion by argument. “Because God is who he is, we cannot be indifferent when his truth and law are flouted, but because man is who he is, we cannot try to impose them by force” (Stott, 1984, pp. 43–57).

This approach might encourage argumentation about public policy from a perspective of consequences rather than right versus wrong; from prudence rather than morality.

Christian Bioethics 2007 13(2):199-209; doi:10.1080/13803600701473489

It Feels Good

We are all selfish.

There is no such thing as a truly altruistic person, someone who gives and really expects nothing in return. I am not, and neither are you.

When you give a donation for a ribbon, you aren’t “raising awareness” of the cause. You’re saying, “Look at me! I gave money to something worthy!” When you give the Girl Scouts money, you expect delicious cookies in return. When you buy a charity lottery ticket, you expect a dream home.

On October 28, I am giving blood. And I can guarantee you, on that day my MSN name will be declaring it to all my friends. Because it feels good if people think you are a decent person. As an added bonus, I expect there will be delicious cookies and maybe even a sticker or ribbon to advertise my good deed to the world.

But, to paraphrase my favourite TV doctor, “If the end doesn’t justify the means, what does?” It doesn’t matter if I’m actually trading blood for a cookie. What matters is that the Red Cross has my blood. It means I’m less of a saint than you might have been led to believe, but no less than any of you schmucks.

Ban the ‘Book Burning’ book!

People make my head hurt.

Some guy in Texas, Alton Verm, wants the book Fahrenheit 451 banned from his 15-year-old daughter’s school because it contains adult situations and crude language.

“If they can’t find a book that uses clean words, they shouldn’t have a book at all.”

It’s sickeningly ironic, really. Verm wants to ban a book about book burning. But wait, it get’s better: this all happened during Banned Books Week at the end of September.

Not that over-protective Daddy gets any of this. He didn’t even read the book.

“He looked through the book and found the following things wrong with the book: discussion of being drunk, smoking cigarettes, violence, “dirty talk,” references to the Bible and using God’s name in vain.”

You, sir, are a moron.

The girl is fifteen! She’s probably knows more about being drunk, smoking cigarettes, violence, “dirty talk,” and using God’s name in vain than you could learn from “looking through” a thousand books on such sordid topics.

Exposing students to the concept of freedom of speech and other intrinsic rights is way more important than shielding them from four-lettered-words. Especially when they already know more than enough about the latter and barely anything about the former.

[HT: Andrea]