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Category Archives: Ethics

Pow! There Goes A Pluralist Down

interfaith-harmony“Religious Pluralism (popular form, not academic) rejects the premise that God has revealed himself in any unique or definitive sense in Jesus Christ. On the contrary, God is said to be actively revealing himself in all religious traditions… Christian faith is merely one of many equally legitimate human responses to the same divine reality. John Hick is the most well-known figure from this position.
Followers of this pluralism (pluralists) believe in two or more religious worldviews as being equally valid or acceptable. More than mere tolerance, religious pluralism accepts multiple paths to God or gods as a possibility and is usually contrasted with an “exclusivism,” the idea that there is only one true religion or way to know God.

Pluralist: Yesterday I was reading the Bible and I must say, I think it makes some arrogant and intolerant claims.

Christian: I am glad you did. What claims do you have in mind?

Pluralist: Well, for example, this guy, John, writes that Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” and then a bit later in a book called Acts I’ve read, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Do you take this seriously?

Christian: Yes, what is the problem?

Pluralist: Don’t you see? It’s so exclusive. You are saying that only the Christian faith is right and all those people who believe otherwise are wrong.

Christian: Oh, I see.

Pluralist: We should tolerate our differences and be more humble in presenting our absolute truths. After all, all religions lead to the same God. It is not right to try to convert people to your own beliefs and disrupt their tradition.

Christian: This is a little bit confusing.

Pluralist: What is? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on July 10, 2015 in Ethics, Reasonable Faith

 

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Arrogance, Intolerance and Violence AKA Evangelism

evangelismIs it ever ethical to attempt to persuade others to change their religion, worldview or other fundamental belief? This endeavor has received in the recent years increasing line of criticism. In January 2001 in South Asia, Dalai Lama has condemned Christian and Muslim practice of seeking converts, “Whether Hindu or Muslim or Christian, whoever tries to convert, it’s wrong, not good.” (Thiessen, 2011, p. 6).Richards, Svendsen and Bless aptly describe the sorts of pressures restricting the ability to engage in religious persuasion as “an increasing apathy of secular states towards the importance of religious freedom and the exclusion of religion from the public square; the preclusive dominance of established ideologies in other states; consolidations of power by authoritarian regimes; worries about the destabilizing influence of new or unfamiliar religious movements, religious extremism, or terrorism; a downgrading of religious freedom rights vis-á-vis these other human rights; the marginalization of minority religions; reactions against globalization or perceived neo-colonialism; burgeoning state and transnational regimes; expanding notions of privacy; and transforming modes of communication” (2011, p. 154). Martin E. Marty suggests that “[t]he proselytizer violates boundaries and disrupts traditions” (Ibid.). Novak explaining why Jews are resenting those who proselytize says that they come across as people who “feel no moral compunction in denigrating other faiths and their cultures for the sake of cajoling their adherents to cease being what they have been and change their identity to becoming what the missionaries are” (1999, p. 43). At last, many people perceive a connection between religious proselytizing and violence. Sociologists Grim and Finke found that “violent religious persecution is pervasive. Of 143 countries…, 86 percent (123 countries) have documented cases of people being physically abused or displaced from their homes because of …religious persecution” (Richards, Svendsen, Bless, 2011, p. 156). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2015 in Ethics, Mission, Reasonable Faith

 

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Sense the nonsense

Irrelevance: Passing the buck 

Another example of an irrelevant answer is when the attention is shifted back at the first person. Instead of solving an issue and tackling it with a sound valid argument one tries to escape his duty by simply redirecting his opponents attention and focus on something else. There are at least two ways of doing this.

Today we’ll look at the first one which is based on a notification. A common example is “Tu Quoque” which in latin means “you too“. I am sure that you have experienced it a dozen times, when you saw people around doing something inappropriate, if not utterly wrong, and you tried to approach them in an attempt to correct their behavior, when suddenly out of nowhere someone pulled out a long-forgotten memory of you engaging in a similar activity. The feeling of being perfectly disarmed fell upon you after which, you muttered a few more remarks about the consequences it had in your life and then went back to what you were doing before, since the power of your admonishion now appeared to be completely scattered.

Yet, while this is often a sad reality it is very illogical. Just imagine a father telling his son not to play with matches as he could burn down the house. After this his son replies: “But grandma said that when you where small you always played with matches.” While this might be true it in no way justifies small boys behavior for the argument namely that he could burn down the house, is still valid.

Another illustration is of a judge at a court who is passing a judgment over a proven thief and at that very moment his lawyer finds out judges secret criminal record where it stands that many years ago he had committed a similar crime for which he went to jail. First, it would be foolish to bring that up as judges crime would in no way alleviate his clients situation, but in contrary would confirm the righteousness of judges sentence for which he has good, even personal, comprehension; specifically, that for such a misconduct, there are these consequences. Two wrongs do not make a right. Secondly, thieves advocate would not take this way because criminal records of those in a court room are not essentialy relevant to this particular case. It is the robbers crime that is now assessed, not against the judges crimes, or against crimes of those in the room, city, state or the entire Earth. It is a statue-book that is used in which all the laws of a particular country are collected and more or less based on the moral code within us. This type of fallacy is also called shifting the blame.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Ethics, Sense the nonsense

 

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The week deal


“Hypocrisy desires to seem good rather than to be so; honesty desires to be good rather than seem so.”

Arthur Warwick


 

Acts 5:1-10; Matthew 6:1; James 1:26

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2012 in Ethics, The week deal

 

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True be or not true be?

Previous: Christian: “Jesus is the truth!”; Postmodernist: “…whatever” (in attempt to get the complete picture it is strongly advised that you’ll read the previous article before moving on to this one.)

For decades modern approach of Enlightenment period was exhaustively rational in its way of dealing with reality and the world around us. Science was considered to be the sole measure of truth, where knowledge was certain, objective and good. Postmodernist does not believe any of those things. Actually, also here could be established another common ground as Christian believes that some truth lies even beyond reason and cannot be accessed by reason, secondly we find ourselves in a historical and cultural context and thus cannot work as external agents uninfluenced by it, thirdly the knowledge being perceived as intrinsically good can only hardly hold in the light of the past nuclear events that ascribe to knowledge possible future Armageddon that would never be possible without scientific discoveries around splitting of the atom. Thus, confident reason that suggests definite solutions alone would most likely be unwelcomed by many also in the sphere of apologetics.

Figure 1 – Retrieved from Kinnaman, D. (2011). “You lost me: Why young christians are leaving church..and rethinking faith.

Yet another issue signaled by this chart is the direct opposite. Frequently Christians completely neglect the duty to involve themselves in intellectual debates whereby positive conflict could be stirred and are left with bullet-proof social tolerance of postmodernism. To illustrate how serious this problem is in this generation I attached one more diagram made by Barna Group in 2009.

Figure 2 – Retrieved from Kinnaman, D. (2011). “You lost me: Why young christians are leaving church…and rethinking faith.”

Thirdly, new methods were offered that strive to contextualize our approach to such an extent that they suggest we too should abandon the notion of objective truth and merely focus on our action in the world that will alone raise the question in those around us. Phillip Kenneson in his chapter called “There’s no such thing as objective truth, and it’s a good thing, too” recommends the following:

“I realize there are plenty of Christians who think it makes good sense to say that the proposition “Jesus Christ is Lord of the universe” is objectively true; that is, our temptation is to insist that this is simply true whether we or anyone else believe it or not. But succumbing to such a temptation is deadly for the church… giving up on the notion of objective truth will force the church to take responsibility for its judgments about the way it sees, understands and acts in the world. This means that what will give our testimony authority will not be that what we say is “objectively true” such that any reasonable person would be required to take us seriously. Rather, what will lend our testimony authority is that by the grace of God we live in such a way that our lives are incomprehensible apart from this God.”

It seems to me that by giving up objective truth we might lose more than gain, for without it, it is only very hard to show why Christianity is different from any other religious mysterious lifestyle. Moreover it is difficult to find basis for biblical imperatives stemming out of preaching that draw upon the authority of the truth breathed in the biblical text. At last this view appears to be rather idealistic, for after considering the doctrine of Hamartiology, we can see that due to our sinful nature, while in our human bodies, we are not able to live a life that would alone speak unequivocally for Gods existence and His redemptive activity on the cross.

This fallen condition however equally influences our intellectual capacities as well, which are not only limited, but also deceptive (Romans 1:21-28).

Thus I believe conclusion does not lie in a revolutionary method but somewhere on the middle way. Here, both reason and personal example walks co-operatively in humble apologetics, persuading people to make an informed decision for Christ always relying on the power of Holy Spirit in the Gospel. “Such a persuasion does not have to be perceived as propaganda” for as Chan points out: “Despite postmodernism’s pronouncement on the demise of reasons, we maintain that interpersonal persuasion of a reasonable sort continues to be practiced in everyday life. Sellers seek to persuade potential buyers that their products are superior to those of their competitors. Schoolteachers appeal to the reasoning faculty of students, while government leaders defend the rationale for their policies. Even enthusiastic relativists who are out to convince others of the superiority of their philosophies of life do so by turning to the tools of persuasive speech, reasoning with their listeners or readers.”

In this age it is the last two adjectives of 1.Peter 3:15 that presumably matter more than ever before for such a balanced approach addresses both obstacles presented in the beginning. “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,…” (NIV) Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Ethics, Mission, Reasonable Faith

 

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The week deal


The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union.

C.S. Lewis


 

1 Cor. 6:18; 1 Thes. 4:3; Heb. 13:4; Pr. 5:19 (within marriage)

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2012 in Ethics, The week deal

 

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The week deal


“Everyone is eagle-eyed to see anothers faults and deformity.”

John Dryden


 

Mat. 7:1-5; 18:15-17; Jn. 7:24; 2.Tim. 4:2;

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Ethics, The week deal

 

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