Is 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 »
Tag Archives: Ethics
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.
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.
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 »
If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
Objective values and duties do exist.
Therefore, God exists.
Contemporary form of this argument was formulated by William Lane Craig.
We are coming back to you with a new information regarding William Lane Craigs visit in Denmark.
The previously “unknown atheist” is Ph.D., cand. philosophy, and cand. medicine Klemens Kappel who is a director of department of Philosophy on the University of Copenhagen.
“Klemens Kappel has a broad research profile in analytical philosophy and has contributed to research at an international level in epistemology, ethics, bioethics, meta-ethics and political philosophy. In ethics he has published work on consequentialism and egalitarianism, and issues in political philosophy. For several years his research interests have focused on epistemology, in particular externalist theories of knowledge and justification and problems in moral epistemology. He has published work on epistemological naturalism, skepticism, transcendental anti-skeptical arguments, moral intuitionism, moral coherentism and the generality problem. Klemens Kappel’s current research interests are within social epistemology broadly construed, and he is currently working on questions concerning the value of knowledge, the social function of knowledge and knowledge attribution, the semantics of knowledge ascriptions, disagreement, testimony and the political philosophy of knowledge production.”
profile taken from a website of University of Copenhagen
To read more (supervision, publications, personal interests) about Mr. Kappel click here.
We are not sure yet when or where exactly will the debate take place, neither what the debate will be about, however there are some hints arising from the nature of Mr. Kappels profession.
“No culture in history has ever embraced moral relativism and survived. Our own culture, therefore, will either (1) be the first, and disprove history’s clearest lesson, or (2) persist in its relativism and die, or (3) repent of its relativism and live. There is no other option.”
(or) The underlying issue of the “pro-choice” movement.
“These concerns (for orphan children in India and elsewhere in the world) are very good, but often these same people are not concerned with the millions that are killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today, Abortion…For the pregnant women who don’t want their children, give them to me.”
Outwardly endless and stationary controversy around the abortion question accompanies us ever since we discovered we are able to perform this operation. Many arguments were invented that were supposed to resolve this conflict once and for all; nonetheless even today none of them achieved what it has aimed for. Was this effort then worthless? In this paper I will unravel several of the usual arguments that came up over time, and while still pointing out the rational issues of the pro-choice movement my primary goal is to implicitly expose their driving motives that step by step became more and more evident.
Only about 40 years ago a concept of abortion was spotted among general public and started to march its way on the top of currently discussed topics, being the second most common surgical procedure in the U.S. Even though abortion was in some form always present it was never so common and widespread as it is today; besides when it appeared it was mainly considered being a crime, for it was inconceivable to willfully kill one’s own child. However there were cultures such as Greeks and their notable Spartans who favored election of their little ones, according to their predispositions to be strong men and warriors. If they did not fit the required parameters they were doomed to a place called “Apothetae” by elders of the society where they were abandoned and left to die. The basic idea behind it was suggesting that it was better both for the child and the society not to proceed in upbringing of a child which is right from the start poor in health and strength.
Definition of abortion
Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary clearly speaks about abortion like this: Abortion is “the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus”. What I found interesting was that right after this first wording a second, quite short and expressive version was offered – “Monstrosity”.
Likewise the dictionary further indicates there are two essential variants for abortion:
- Spontaneous abortion(unintended)
- Fertilized egg never settles in the uterus, but simply goes through mother’s body in her monthly period.
- Fetus that is not yet viable is expelled from the body. This is also called Miscarriage. It occurs prevalently before the end of first trimester (13 weeks) and it is considered to be purely accidental (as opposed to –“induced”).
- Induced abortion is intended termination of pregnancy executed by one of the at present known specialized methods for aborting a fetus such as D&C, Suction, Saline injection, Hysterotomy, Prostaglandin, D&E or a Partial birth abortion(their detailed definition goes beyond scope of this paper). Generally three conditions under which induced abortion is performed are recognized.
- Therapeutic– Mothers life is endangered due medical difficulties. Consequently the fetus is aborted for the purpose of saving mother’s life.
- Eugenic – Fetus has a risk of physical or mental handicap (e.g. Down’s syndrome) which would severely influence his own quality of life and would bring a heavy strain on the other members of family as well.
- Elective – No inward hazard is present (mother & fetus are both healthy and no significant pregnancy problems arise); yet external decision determines whether abortion will come to pass or not based on convenience of a current situation (e.g. economic situation, age of parents, regulation of family size, mistiming…).
It all started by discovering the human ovum in 1820. In the same time solid laws regarding abortion were adopted. This means that only cases that met serious requirements were admitted to have an abortion. In 1973, by feminists exalted, case Roe v. Wade have secured abortion on demand for Supreme Court in US have given a green light to this new convenience of 20th century. Prior to this case only several states in America had reduced their requirements for abortion in order to make them more accessible for people, however this event had set about a wave of concessions that resulted in at the moment executing of 42 million of legitimate abortions worldwide every year. Interestingly, only 17% of all abortions now take place in developed countries, the rest is done in developing countries such as India or China. Read the rest of this entry »
The story takes place in the apocalyptic period after third world war in which people traced emotions to be the prime source of all evil. All the jealousy, rage and hatred are the very root of every activity that leads to murder and at last war. On that account a “cure” for this “disease” was invented called Prozium, which eliminates any emotion. To secure a widespread use of this drug a special force is trained that persecutes anyone who violates the law by not using it and thereby is feeling.