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Bongo is a chimp. He's being punished by other members of the chimpanzee band for not sharing his bananas. Bongo is selfish. Bad Bongo. Moral rule: Chimps shouldn't be selfish.
What happens when a culture's decline in values begins to pick up speed? It becomes velocitized. What was unthinkable yesterday is thinkable today, and ordinary and commonplace tomorrow, like partial-birth abortion. I've chosen to devote an entire issue of Clear Thinking to one topic: partial-birth abortion. Here's why.
One of the most entrenched assumptions of relativism is that there is such a thing as morally neutral ground, a place of complete impartiality where no judgments nor any forcing or personal views are allowed. Each takes a neutral posture towards the moral convictions of others. This is the essence of tolerance, the argument goes. Moral neutrality, though, is a myth, as the following illustrations show. "Neutral" Values
I have something here I've been meaning to talk about for awhile. Apparently somebody called me a few weeks back and talked to Melinda. She didn't want to go on the air. We were talking about morality and the abortion issue and it was someone who listens frequently and made this particular observation: "Greg is so intelligent, I am surprised that he is missing an obvious point here in the abortion debate." What was that obvious point? That the courts have decided and that freedom of choice is the law of the land. That's the obvious point.
I had a conversation with Greg Cynaumon on Friday when I was a guest on his show Southern California Live. One of the things that came up was the killing of the abortionist, and I had made the comment that I have been making the last couple days, trying to clarify our moral position. Someone called in and was very, very frustrated with me because they felt that I had been giving some justification to the taking of a human life, though I certainly wasn't justifying the killing. I was trying to be clear about what my reasons were.
I want to make a distinction between two ways of addressing the issue of homosexuality. I think Christians have made some mistakes here focusing on an internal approach--quoting the Bible--rather than using an external approach--finding some means other than Scripture to persuade. Quoting Bible verses is great when dealing with Christians who are inclined to obey God. It's different, though, when dealing in the secular public square.
I want to reflect on this new research that has been in all of the newspapers the last couple of days and has dominated the air waves on talk shows all over this fair city. I responded a little bit to the issue yesterday when Craig and I were together at Anchor Bible Bookstore. I want to be sensitive not to be redundant and not to pound this whole issue to death, but I want to make a couple of remarks on this issue, not so much to give you a concerted opinion on the research because part of my concern is that the whole issue of research is in a stage of flux.
While giving a talk at a local Barnes & Noble, someone asked why it was necessary for him to believe in Jesus. He was Jewish, believed in God, and was living a moral life. Those were the important things, it seemed - how you lived, not what you believed. To him our message depicted a narrow-minded God pitching people into Hell because of an arcane detail of Christian theology. How should I answer?
The skeptic says, “If Jesus would only show Himself to me—if God would just work one dramatic miracle—then I’d believe in Him.” This kind of person overestimates himself. Even miracles can be denied or dismissed.During Jesus’ passion week in Jerusalem, he was called to nearby Bethany because his friend Lazarus was dying. By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus was gone. In a dramatic scene Jesus called him forth from the tomb alive, still wrapped in burial cloths.
Can the argument really be made that the Christian view is less biased than your average scientist's or historian's? How open are you or what is it that compels you to make particular decisions about your beliefs? Two or three weeks ago I talked about a book I was reading called The Moral Animal by Robert Wright, and he made the case that morality is a result of the process of evolution. I think he's wrong.