Where children learn moral relativism

Philosopher  Justin P. McBrayer investigated why so many college freshmen do not believe in moral facts, that certain ethical principles–such as murder is wrong, or it’s wrong to cheat on tests–are objectively valid.  Prof. McBrayer says that this view is actually quite rare among professional philosophers.

He traced this thinking among young people to public school curriculum that teaches over and over again a philosophically confused version of the “fact/value distinction” that incorrectly classifies all moral claims as subjective and thus changeable “values.”  (This mixed-up teaching–which I have also seen in Lutheran parochial schools!–is enshrined in the so-called “Common Core.”)  Sample Prof. McBrayer’s op-ed piece–in the New York Times, no less–after the jump and then read it all. [Read more...]

From justifying God to justifying existence

More (see my last post on the subject) from Living by Faith by Oswald Bayer. . .

Not only are we always judging, condemning/justifying ourselves and each other, we also judge, condemn/justify God.  Bayer has some interesting reflections on “theodicy,” the question of how or why God allows evil,  drawing on sources that I wasn’t familiar with.  But what most struck me was Bayer’s observation that when the idea of God fades away in some people’s minds, the problem of theodicy remains.  He describes a “secular theodicy.”  No longer, “why does God allow evil and suffering,” but “why does existence allow evil and suffering.”  In many ways, that latter question is harder to answer.  I am seeing that this is why so many people today believe that life is meaningless, absurd, pointless, and (in a tragic number of cases) not worth living.

I’m thinking that, as I read on, Bayer will show that justification by Christ on the Cross justifies God (in this sense) and justifies existence itself.

[Read more...]

How (Not) to be Secular

I was one of the many judges of the  Christianity Today Book Awards, charged with picking the top two books on Christianity & culture.  I was glad to see that my top two were the magazine’s top two.  I thought I would post my reviews.  The winner was James K. A. Smith’s  How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor.  Read what I had to say about it after the jump. [Read more...]

Why artificial intelligence won’t conquer humanity

Some smart people, from Bill Gates to Stephen Hawkings, have been raising the alarm that computers might get so intelligent that they could conquer the human race.  But artificial intelligence specialist David W. Buchanan explains why this isn’t something we need to worry about, saying the alarmists are committing the “consciousness fallacy,” confusing intelligence with consciousness. [Read more...]

C. S. Lewis on the evils of statism

Statism is the belief that the government should control or dominate all, or much, of life.  C. S. Lewis was against it.  David Theroux, president of the C. S. Lewis Society of California, sent me the video of a talk he gave at the first annual conference of Christians for Liberty entitled “C. S. Lewis on Mere Liberty and the Evils of Statism.”  I’ve posted it after the jump. [Read more...]

Finding the lost texts of classical antiquity?

The writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans helped form our civilization, and their rediscovery sparked the Renaissance.  But many of the writings of the formative thinkers of the classical age have been lost.  We only have one-third of the writings of Aristotle, and they were enough to create Western thought, shaping the very way we reason.  What else did he have to say that has been lost, and what might that do?   The founders of Western drama were the brilliant playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides, both of whom wrote some 90 plays, but only 6 and 19 of their plays, respectively, have survived.  (Go here for what else is missing.)

But archaeologists have discovered a large library from the Roman city of Herculaneum, which was destroyed by the volcano that devastated Pompeii.  The hot volcanic ash both preserved the library’s scrolls but also made them impossible to read.  Attempts to unroll them to see what they contain makes them disintegrate.  But now a technology has been developed that may allow us to read them.  So far, the works that have been deciphered are ones we have already,  but who knows what else the library may contain? [Read more...]


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