Archive for the ‘Morality’ Tag

Why Should I Care?   Leave a comment

This is Brad as Lela is away getting her brain expanded.

I didn’t, in the end, vote for Donald Trump, but I supported his candidacy for president. Lela talked me into casting a vote for Gary Johnson, but the fact is, I wish I’d voted for Trump. I think, if every voter who thought he’d shake up the system but felt intimidated by the Trump-haters so stayed home or cast a no-win vote had actually voted for him, he might have won the “popular” vote. Lela would be so proud of me for pointing out that this vote doesn’t exist … but it sure does seem to matter to a lot of people.

Some of those people are friends, who ask me why I still support Donald Trump as he crashes around the world risking wars, surrounded by FBI investigations at home and not delivering on Obamacare. How can I, an evangelical Christian, not reject him and wish I’d voted for Hillary?

Well, first … Hillary Clinton … you’re kidding, right? She failed to prevent four wars while she was Secretary of State … and those are just the ones we know about.

But why don’t I care about Stormy Daniels? Why aren’t I morally outraged by his cheating on his wife … with a porn star. Don’t I care that he paid off the porn star to keep her quiet until after the election? Where’s the moral outrage that surrounded Bill Clinton’s infidelities?

I think Melania Trump has every right to be angry with her husband. Lela would certainly make me pay if I embarrassed her in public in a similar fashion. But let’s face it. We’ve been here before. Kennedy, Clinton … Trump himself. He’s on his third wife and admits to be a serial philanderer. But the difference between Trump and Kennedy or Clinton is this alleged affair happened when he was a private citizen. In fact, there’s a 2011 interview with Ms Daniels where she confirms the encounter with then-Mr Trump.

 

We knew who he was when just about 50% of the voters put him in office. This isn’t news to me or my father or the many people I know who voted for him. These were the reasons Lela wouldn’t vote for him, while at the same time she acknowledges that the whole news now means very little to her. Trump is a cheesy clown reality star who likes to grub in the mud. We knew that before we elected him. He never promised us anything different and Trump voters didn’t care then. Why would we care now?

 

So when my friends try to label my continued support of President trump as some sort of numb moral surrender along with millions of others in a beaten populace, I don’t agree. I think we’re growing up and recognizing that politicians are not us. They are all corrupt in one way or another. What matters is how they do their job.

 

 

 

PBS and CNN keep saying Trump is doing everything wrong, but his missteps appear to be working. Those friends who question me about why I would support Trump are talking about expanded business in their area. Some of them work for corporations that gave out bonuses with their tax refund. Lela comes from her job telling me about how road permitting delays have been cut by 75%, saving millions on construction projects.

Kim of North Korea is willing to talk about giving up his nukes. Since GHW Bush, there’s been this strong idea that there had to be multi-lateral talks – seven ambassadors in a room to gang up on Kim — in order to make any progress with him … and they made no progress. Trump says he’ll meet with him personally and Kim starts talking about concessions. It’s too early to tell if that will be successful, but it sure seems like that has a potential for progress.

Israel is no longer being kept waiting in the lobby of the White House as they were during the Obama administration. It seems Trump has won over Japan and Taiwan, but he’s also brought the State of Alaska and the Chinese together on a potential gas pipeline and export agreement. Unlike Obama, whose red line was imaginary, Trump has put teeth to Syria’s throat, which Lela doesn’t like, but I think is a good idea.

So, if he’s doing his job well, despite almost monolithic opposition in the American press  … what do I care about a sexual affair from 12 years ago?

Advertisements

Posted April 24, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in politics, Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Taking the Red Pill   1 comment

Before college campuses were adrift in the current morass of anti-thought, New York University social psychologist Jonathan Haidt published The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, a groundbreaking book that really ought to be read before wading into the tide of “trigger warnings”, “microaggressions”, and “safe spaces” that has become the dominate culture of college campuses. Haidt’s book is the most fascinating work on social science to come out in the last five years.  In 2012, our political landscape was already deeply polarized and that has been magnified by several times in a half decade, but Haidt offers hope and a way forward.

Image result for image of red pill blue pillHaidt starts by delving into the psychological causes behind our tribal politics. Drawing upon social psychology and 25 of original research on moral psychology, Haidt shows how evolution is responsible for shaping people’s morality that both binds and divides and how politics and religion create conflicting communities of shared morality.

According to Haidt, moral attitudes and judgments originate from intuition, not calculated logic. In his 1739 A Treatise of Human Nature, the philosopher David Hume remarked that, “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.” According to Haidt, the findings of modern social psychology research largely vindicate Hume.

To illustrate his point, Haidt uses the metaphor of a rider and an elephant. The rider represents the conscious mind with its rational functions and controlled processes. But the domineering elephant is everything else outside the rider’s control: automatic processes that include emotions and intuitions. Although the rider can do “several useful things” such as planning for the future and learning new skills, ultimately “the rider’s job is to serve the elephant.” As a result of this one-sided relationship, the rider mostly “fabricat[es] post hoc explanations for whatever the elephant has done, and becomes good at finding reasons to justify whatever the elephant wants to do next.” In short, “conscious reasoning functions like a lawyer or press secretary.”

How is this reflected in political discourse? When people are asked to believe something that conflicts with their intuitions, they instinctively seek an escape hatch – any reason to doubt the argument or conclusion that is vexing their deeply held beliefs.

Moral judgment is not a purely cerebral affair in which we weigh concerns about harm, rights, and justice. It’s a kind of rapid, automatic process more akin to the judgments animals make as they move through the world, feeling themselves drawn toward or away from various things. Moral judgment is mostly done by the elephant.

If you’re trying to change someone’s mind on a moral or political issue, you have to “talk to the elephant first.”  You can rarely approach someone from a reasoned stance until you have satisfied their emotional or moral foundation.

I’m not going to say I completely agree with Haidt, because my initial first step toward Christianity was actually from a book on reason – Francis Schaeffer’s “The God Who Is There”, but I found a lot of compelling information in Haidt’s book. Through his interdisciplinary research, Haidt and his colleagues uncovered six moral foundations that are shared across human cultures:

1) Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it’s “one for all, and all for one.”
4) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
5) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).

6) Liberty/oppression: This foundation is about the feelings of reactance and resentment people feel toward those who dominate them and restrict their liberty. Its intuitions are often in tension with those of the authority foundation. The hatred of bullies and dominators motivates people to come together, in solidarity, to oppose or take down the oppressor. We report some preliminary work on this potential foundation in this paper, on the psychology of libertarianism and liberty.

Haidt found left-liberals and progressives recognize primarily the first two moral foundations, Care/harm and Fairness/Cheating, but tend to reject Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity, as proper morals. They feel these are base human traits responsible for patriarchy, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other forms of oppression. The US/EU political left holds an outlier stand compared to most other parts of the world.

Haidt noted that in “Western, educated, industrial, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) cultures,” the moral spectrum is “unusually narrow” and largely limited to the ethics of individual autonomy.

In contrast, many non-WEIRD societies and conservatives use all five moral foundations that include embracing the ethics of divinity and community. Libertarians are a truly unique political species and are not easily placed on the Left-Right political spectrum in that they prize the last moral foundation, Liberty, above all other values.

These are extraordinary differences and would explain the growing political polarization in the United States and why liberals can’t understand conservatives (and vice versa). In today’s political discourse, partisans often seem to argue not so much against each other, but past each other.

Given that human nature is tribal, people automatically form teams with those who share similar values and morals. While morality can “bind” people together through benefits such as group cohesion and unity, it also “blinds” them to the possibilities or even the existence of other legitimate perspectives. That’s the premise of The Matrix. This kind of “moral matrix” can be so strong that it “provides a complete, unified, and emotionally compelling worldview, easily justified by observable evidence and nearly impregnable to attack by arguments from outsiders.”

As challenging as it may be to see through one’s own ideological blinders, empathy is crucial for successful outreach, acts as an “antidote to righteousness,” and has the added benefit of expanding one’s own intellectual horizons.

Why Intellectual Diversity Matters

Human reason has inherent limits, so Haidt reminds us that “we should not expect individuals to produce good, open-minded, truth-seeking reasoning, particularly when self-interest or reputational concerns are in play.”

However, under the right circumstances and conditions, people can use their reasoning powers to check the claims of others. That’s what Schaeffer’s book prompted me to do. It’s what I still do when I encounter reasoning that confounds me or makes me feel uncomfortable. When people “feel some common bond or shared fate that allows them to interact civilly, you can create a group that ends up producing good reasoning as an emergent property of the social system.” It is especially “important to have intellectual and ideological diversity within any group or institution whose goal is to find truth (such as an intelligence agency or a community of scientists) or to produce good public policy (such as a legislature or advisory board).”

Companies that wish to attract top talent in an effort to remain innovative have long embraced intellectual diversity as a paramount ideal. Universities, most of which are still committed to the mission to search for truth and push the boundaries of human knowledge, in particular must embrace complete freedom of speechopen inquiryepistemic humility, and tolerance for the most radical and eccentric. Championing viewpoint and philosophical diversity goes hand in hand with these fundamental principles that form the bedrock of a liberal education.

Haidt’s findings from moral psychology are consistent with research from other fields highlighting the value of those who “think different.”

Saras Sarasvathy at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business profiled some of the most successful entrepreneurs and found them to be spontaneous contrarians who have “confidence in their ability to recognize, respond to, and reshape opportunities as they develop” to the point that they “thrive on contingency.” Unsurprisingly, entrepreneurs relish bucking conventional wisdom whether it be following standard management practices or any other kind of defined linear process.

Adam Grant at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has extensively researched how “originals” move the world. Startups, which by their very nature are nonconformist, have a special obligation to hire originals who can seed a resilient culture, anticipate market movements under conditions of extreme uncertainty, and repurpose dissenting ideas in alternative ways. Grant emphasizes how originals can mitigate the risks every company faces:

Conformity is dangerous – especially for an entity in formation. If you don’t hire originals, you run the risk of people disagreeing but not voicing their dissent. You want people who choose to follow because they genuinely believe in ideas, not because they’re afraid to be punished if they don’t. For startups, there’s so much pivoting that’s required that if you have a bunch of sheep, you’re in bad shape.

Eric Weiner speculates that intellectual development is stimulated when one’s world is turned upside down:

Many immigrants possess what the psychologist Nigel Barber calls “oblique perspective.” Uprooted from the familiar, they see the world at an angle, and this fresh perspective enables them to surpass the merely talented. To paraphrase the philosopher Schopenhauer: Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.

Broadly liberal attitudes towards risk-taking, unorthodox thinking, and entrepreneurship are among the reasons why the United States is still the richest country in the world. In science writer Matt Ridley’s wide-reaching book The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, the writer traced the origins and spread of economic prosperity. He credits voluntary exchange and specialization, specifically what happens when different ideas meet, mate, and recombine to create new ideas, for being the main drivers of human economic and social progress.

Innovations often happen when you combine two or more things in unexpected ways. When you have a diverse group of people working on something, magic often happens because each person brings a different perspective and experience to the table. John Daly, University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

Authentic diversity must go beyond identity checkboxes to fully include diversity in ideas. Viewpoint diversity drives creative tension, cross-cultural understanding, and the ability to identify and solve problems from multiple perspectives. Creativity and innovation ultimately depend on people stepping outside of comfort zones and trying new things including exposure to radical and unorthodox ways of thinking.

 

Intellectual diversity creates awareness of our own blinders. While there are obvious economic benefits in that, a marketplace of ideas is one of the key underpinnings of a free society. Truth can emerge when views are freely exchanged, challenged, and refined. People’s individual reasoning have inherent limits but through our collective intelligence, we can achieve the impossible.

Even though our intuition-based morality divides our allegiances into different tribes that seemingly cannot coexist with others, accepting and encouraging intellectual diversity creates awareness of our own blinders and provides a possible escape path out of our moral matrices.

Charlie Gard’s Parents Are Forced to Stop Fighting for their Dying Baby | Marianne March   2 comments

I cannot imagine the pain Charlie Gard’s parents are feeling now, as they savor their last moments with their precious child. Charlie is 11 months old and he’s dying.

Source: Charlie Gard’s Parents Are Forced to Stop Fighting for their Dying Baby | Marianne March

Charlie Gard's Parents Are Forced to Stop Fighting for their Dying BabyChris and Connie have been fighting for months to get treatment for Charlie, ever since he was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition, mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. But they have been forced to give up that fight.

I can’t imagine their pain, but I can imagine their fury because I share it.

From the Hospital to the Courts

No further recourse was available in the UK, but an American doctor was ready to try to help him.

Charlie is not mine. I’ve never met him or anyone who knows him. Yet I am furious with the British government for refusing to allow his parents to take their dying son to the United States for treatment: a therapy trial, his last and only hope.

No further recourse was available in the UK, but an American doctor was ready to try to help him at Columbia University Medical Center. Charlie’s parents raised £1.4 million through crowdfunding; they had the money to take him to the US by air ambulance.

But doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London didn’t like that idea. They said it wouldn’t help, that the American therapy was experimental. They said the baby’s life support should just stop.

On April 11th, a British High Court judge ruled with the doctors, empowering them to turn off Charlie’s life-support machines. His mother screamed “no” when she heard the verdict.

There was a petition with more than 110,000 names on it. People wrote letters to the Prime Minister, calling on her to release Charlie from Great Ormond Street’s care. The pope said he was praying for Charlie’s parents, “hoping that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end is not ignored.”

And now Charlie is out of time.

Even US President Trump tweeted that “If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”

Charlie’s parents challenged the decision in the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court, and the European Court of Human Rights.

All to no avail. The Courts would not allow them to try to save their baby’s life.

Who Can Call This Justice?

And now Charlie is out of time. According to the BBC, “US neurologist Dr. Michio Hirano had said he was no longer willing to offer the baby experimental therapy after he saw the results of a new MRI scan last week.”

It’s possible that Charlie’s doctors were right, that experimental treatment wouldn’t have helped (although his parents don’t think so, nor do American and Italian doctors). But what harm could it have done when he’s dying anyway? And if his parents had the means to give him one last chance, why shouldn’t they exercise their right to do so? They belong to Charlie just as he belongs to them, and no one but Chris and Connie should get the final say on his medical care.

This is outrageous. And it’s wrong.

I never really knew what people meant by the phrase “death panels” before. It was just a term bandied about by talking heads and political personalities. It’s chilling how well it applies in this instance: a group of bureaucrats that sits around deciding who is worthy of medical care.

I don’t know how the power slipped away from the individual, whether taken by force or given away with applause, but this is outrageous. And it’s wrong.

Read with a Box of Tissues

I will leave you with the words of Connie Yate’s, Charlie’s mom:

Due to the deterioration in his muscles, there is now no way back for Charlie. Time that has been wasted. It is time that has sadly gone against him.

We want people to realise that we have been speaking to parents whose children were just like Charlie before starting treatment and now some of them are walking around like normal children. We wanted Charlie to have that chance too.

All we wanted to do was take Charlie from one world renowned hospital to another world renowned hospital in the attempt to save his life and to be treated by the world leader in mitochondrial disease. We feel that we should have been trusted as parents to do so but we will always know in our hearts that we did the very best for Charlie and I hope that he is proud of us for fighting his corner.

Charlie had a real chance of getting better. It’s now unfortunately too late for him but it’s not too late for others with this horrible disease and other diseases. We will continue to help and support families of ill children and try and make Charlie live on in the lives of others. We owe it to him to not let his life be in vain.

Despite the way that our beautiful son has been spoken about sometimes, as if he not worthy of a chance at life, our son is an absolute WARRIOR and we could not be prouder of him and we will miss him terribly. One little boy has brought the world together and whatever people’s opinions are, no one can deny the impact our beautiful son has had on the world and his legacy will never ever die.

We are now going to spend our last precious moments with our son Charlie, who unfortunately won’t make his 1st birthday in just under 2 weeks’ time, and we would ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time.

Mummy and Daddy love you so much Charlie, we always have and we always will and we are so sorry that we couldn’t save you.”

Don’t Let Freedom Lead You Astray   Leave a comment

Sometimes it seems as if the Christian movement is divided between two camps. On one side, you have the Frozen Chosen, who have 157 rules for how you should dress on Sunday and keep track of who is a “sinner”. On the other hand, you have the Freedom in Christ group, who smoke cannabis and have multiple sexual partners and will insist that Christ doesn’t care about any of that.

The truth, according to the apostle Paul is somewhere in the middle. The Frozen Chosen are the Pharisees of our day, but the Freedom in Christ crowd is far off the mark as well.

Everything is lawful,” but not everything is beneficial“Everything is lawful,” but not everything builds others up. 1 Corinthians 10:23

Image result for image of christian fellowship mealYou’ll notice that Paul is using some popular Christian quotes again. We discussed this in an earlier lesson. Bible scholars believe these were sayings that circulated in the churches, particularly the Corinthian church, in that 1st century and they were being used somewhat like aphorisms and to excuse immoral behavior.

Paul had just warned the Corinthians (and by extension, us) to flee idolatry. Eating food sacrificed to idols meant nothing to the Christian, because God is not knocked from His throne by the stump of a tree sculpted and painted to look like something else. As Christians, we have essential freedom in matters of morally neutral things, but … BUT … our behavior must be tempered with concern for others in the body of Christ. If our freedom is going to be expressed through Christian maturity, it must be concerned with the spiritual benefit to others.

That word “edify” means to build up or strengthen. It’s a word from the vocabulary of building construction. Paul used it in his letters to describe the strengthening of Christian character in ourselves and other people. When we’re faced with a decision about a particular practice, we must first ask ourselves if we have the right to do it. I would say if it’s not forbidden by Scripture, absolutely we have the right. We still need to take a pause and ask the next question. “Is it profitable and edifying. Will this activity build people up, both ourselves and others?” If the answer is “yes”, then we can participate with full abandon.

Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person. Eat anything that is sold in the marketplace without questions of conscience, for the earth and its abundance are the Lord’s. If an unbeliever invites you to dinner and you want to goeat whatever is served without asking questions of conscience.  1 Corinthians 10:24-27

Our freedom is going to express itself in serving other people. Our thoughts should always be directed to other brothers and sisters in Christ. We should desire to sacrifice for others. The issue of freedom balances two extremes. Some feel the attitude should be “I don’t care what anyone says about what I do. I’ll do as I please. I operate on the principle of grace and am free to do as I please.” This attitude approaches libertinism. On the other hand, there are others who live in a spiritual straight jacket, afraid to do anything without a sense of guilt. There must always be a balance, but if you’re going to screw up, err on the side of putting your spiritual family members first.

Liberty in Christ will always triumph over legalism. Paul majored on our freedom in Christ. He said it doesn’t matter what we eat, including food offered to idols, because neither the taking of it nor the abstaining from it will have any effect on our relationship with God. All food is a gift from God. Paul encouraged Christians to enjoy life, to not be overly scrupulous. What you don’t know can’t hurt you.

Paul dealt with how Christians should behave when invited to a unbeliever’s home. My parents would have approved of his advice. Eat what’s put before you. The Corinthians shouldn’t make an issue of the origin of the meat or food they were eating. They should eat all of it. Eating a piece of meat that was offered to an idol will not defile the Christian. What defiles the Christian is participating in heathen worship. If eating a piece of idol-meat does not defile the Christian, there is no need to make an issue of it. This simply exercises an overly-sensitive conscience and introduces an unnecessary affront to the hospitality of the host. Paul implied that living out this freedom means that we’re going to have evangelistic entrée into people’s lives. There are nonbelievers who will invite us into their homes, and we have complete freedom to eat with them, whatever they put before us. Paul’s solution to a potential violation of conscience is “Don’t ask!” To the extent that we’re willing to do that, we’re reflecting the life of Jesus, Who ate with tax-collectors and sinners (Matthews 9:10-11). If we are legalistic, uptight, self-righteous, self-protective Christians, “holier than thou” types, our non-Christian acquaintances won’t want anything to do with us anyway. We’re not even going to get invited to their homes. But if we live a life of freedom and openness, that will attract them to Jesus.

But if someone says to you“This is from a sacrifice,” do not eatbecause of the one who told you and because of conscience I do not mean yours but the other person’sFor why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscienceIf I partake with thankfulnesswhy am I blamed for the food that I give thanks for? 1 Corinthians 10:28-30

Paul raised a hypothetical situation in which you’ve been invited to a non-Christian friend’s home, and one of your Christian friends is there who has a weaker conscience. They are offended or confused by the freedom with which you’re indulging: “Didn’t you know this is idol food? Are you sure you ought to be eating this?” Paul suggested that we might decide to refrain from eating the meat so as not to risk leading that younger brother or sister in Christ into sin or confusing their conscience. Paul made it clear, however, that even though we may choose to modify our actions for the good of the weaker brother or sister, we are not to adjust our own conscience. Their weakness ought to make us very gracious, merciful, and sensitive toward them, but the legalism of the weaker one shouldn’t make us feel condemned or influence us toward legalism in our own lifestyle. Paul defended his freedom to partake of any kind of food, especially food that he knew is a good gift from God, and receive it with gratitude. He refused to be fearful about what other people thought of him. He was not going to be controlled by that.

So whether you eat or drinkor whatever you dodo everything for the glory of God. Do not give offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also try to please everyone in all things.  1 Corinthians 10:31-33

Paul moved to summarize the entire (three-chapter) discussion. He indicated this with the use of the word “then” (oun). As a general principle, believers should do everything “for the glory of God”—and Paul particularly mentioned here eating and drinking. To do something for the glory of God means to reflect God’s glory in the way we live. We ought to use our liberty carefully and selflessly to glorify God. Our eating and drinking should bring glory to God, not to cause conflict, to honor a demon, or to undermine the faith of weaker brothers and sisters. Paul’s desire was to live out his freedom in Christ, partly because of its evangelistic potential for the sake of the Gentiles and the Jews who didn’t yet know Christ, and partly so he could have an influence on the church of Jesus Christ as an apostle. His concern was having an attractively inoffensive lifestyle of freedom. Paul had already acknowledged that some people were offended by the gospel alone, but he didn’t want his own life to bring offense to the gospel in the eyes of anybody, Christian or non-Christian. The real fear here was that legalism, being controlling, would somehow be the offense that would keep people from the Lord Jesus. His desire was to try to live without offending in any direction, always thinking of both honoring Christ and affecting other people in how he lived. And Paul always looked in both of those directions.

I do not seek my own benefitbut the benefit of manyso that they may be savedBe imitators of mejust as I also am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:33b-11:1

I’m sure there were people who thought Paul was a man-pleaser (Galatians 1:10). His concern was that his life would be attractive so that they would be drawn to Jesus in him. “Saved” in this context probably includes Christians and means saved in the wide sense of delivered from anything that keeps someone from advancing spiritually (see Romans 15:1-3). Paul is not content simply to live his life as an example for the Corinthians to emulate. He actually instructs them to become “imitators” of him. (4:16). For Paul, as an apostle of Christ, it wasn’t just a matter of preaching and teaching. It was a matter of living out the truth that he taught. In many of those cities Paul went to, he would be the first and only Christian they would see. So watching him live his life was very important for them to understand the reality of the gospel.

Paul asks every one of us to live a consistent Christian life. Do you want to properly balance freedom and restraint? Do you want to be in the world and not of the world? Do you want to have a positive spiritual influence in your community, but not allow that community to mold you so you compromise what’s true and what’s right? Do you want to live a balanced life, not being driven by the extremes of legalism or selfish license? If you do, then imitate Paul. He tried to imitate the selfless life that Christ lived. Glorify God in what you say and what you do and in the attitudes of your heart. As Paul later explained in Romans 7, results aren’t perfect, but we’re only human, so trying our best is good enough.

Why Morality Matters   Leave a comment

I wrote this back in 2014, but the concepts are timeless so, enjoy.

American psychotherapist Perry London (author of Behavior Control) admitted that, if man is a machine (and he believed we are), it is meaningless to speak of good and evil or moral responsibility. We are no more than computers on legs that procreate and we don’t accuse computers of criminal behavior. If man is no more than a complex physical organism, a relative of the rat and whale, why do we hold men responsible for their actions as if any of us were moral agents? London argued that good, evil and moral responsibility are imaginary, but he also recognized that we seem to need those concepts to live meaningfully. He then went on to suggest ways of programming people to create a better society.

Yeah, by his own admission,  better is a meaningless term in his philosophy, but let’s think about his theory for a moment. All human societies have a common factor in seeing good and evil as distinct and people as moral agents. Yet, in the western world today, we see the terrible fruit of a philosophy that denies a distinction between good and evil. In our society it’s deemed okay to slaughter unborn babies. While we recognize the horror of, say, the Cambodian killing fields, we don’t recognize that we are not far off from them.

“Where the insane reversal of value lies is in the belief that notions like “purity” or “corruption” can have any meaning outside an absolute system of values: one that is resistant to the tinkering at will by governments or revolutionary groups.  The Cambodian revolution in its own degraded “purity,” has demonstrated what happens when the Marxian denial of moral absolutes is taken with total seriousness by its adherents. Pol Pot and his friends decide what good is, what  bad is, and how many corpses must pile up before this rapacious demon of  “purity” is appeased.

 

In the West today, there is a pervasive consent to the notion of moral relativism, a reluctance to admit that absolute evil can and does exit. This makes it especially difficult for some to accept the fact that the Cambodian experience is something far worse than a revolutionary aberration. Rather, it is the deadly logical consequence of an atheistic, man-centred system of values, enforced by fallible human beings with total power, who believe, with Marx, that morality is whatever the powerful define it to be and, with Mao, that power grows from gun barrels. By no coincidence the most humane Marxist societies in Europe today are those that, like Poland and Hungary, permit the dilution of their doctrine by what Solzhenitsyn has called “the great reserves of mercy and sacrifice” from a Christian tradition. (D. Aikman “Cambodia: An experiment in Genocide” TIME, July 31, 1978, pp 39-40)”

That passage was written only 35 years ago, yet we in the West now regularly denigrate the sentiment that Christianity might prevent genocide while increasingly in America, thinkers pretend to have forgotten the fairly recent fruit of atheistic Marxism. Christians are told we should be embarrassed by the doctrine of judgment, that our acceptance of the notion of good and evil is naïve or foolish.

On the contrary, Christianity should rejoice in the doctrine of judgment as one of the glories of the faith. All people feel in their hearts that some things are right and some are wrong, even though we may be unable to explain why we feel that way. The Christian can say with confidence that there is a difference and we can identify it.

We should not be reluctant to admit that real evil exists. God’s character is one of perfect goodness, justice and holiness and defines for us what is good and right. All behavior must be measured against His character. The law of God is written on the heart, but the heart can become confused or hardened, either by cultural traditions or an individual’s sinful choices. All men’s ideas can be checked against God’s character and law. The Christian stands on firm ground when confronted with the immorality of those in power … whether they be elected in a democracy, wielding authority in a dictatorship or expressing their will as the 51% majority of a western society where morality changes with the consensus of the day.

Posted January 8, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

Morality Is Indispensable for Liberty | Becky Akers   1 comment

Becky Akers

Found on FEE

Morality Is Indispensable for LibertyThose stodgy Founding Fathers! Not only did they study hard, work harder, and marry one woman for life, they also insisted on – get this – morality. As in obeying the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, and the basic moral teachings of the Bible in general. So strongly did they venerate morality that they frequently observed its unbreakable link with liberty. They believed that moral people alone remain politically free.

John Adams, for example, claimed, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

“While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued.”His cousin Sam agreed. “Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness.” Indeed, he feared, “A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.”

Singing the same song was Charles Carroll, one of the Declaration’s signers:  “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time…”

And George Washington considered morality so necessary to freedom that he spoke at length of their connection in the Farewell Address that capped his career: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. … And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”

Clearly, the generation that overthrew the world’s most powerful – and corrupt – empire to establish a new, freer country considered Biblical morality essential to their endeavor. But why? Exactly how do strong ethics enhance liberty?

Washington mentioned one obvious reason in his Farewell: “Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice?” By extension, those in elected or appointed positions might not respect their oaths of office, either.

Reflexive Thievery

If these were the only times morality protected freedom, we might dismiss the Founders’ veneration of the former as overblown. After all, few of us will find ourselves in either political office or court … wait. I forgot that every American commits three felonies per day.

But even with the police-state criminalizing most of our behavior, lying under oath isn’t nearly as widespread as another sin that enslaves formerly free people. By far the worst threat to liberty springs from the reflexive thievery, a.k.a. socialism, permeating modern culture and politics.

The idea that my property belongs to me alone has become as quaint as “Thou shalt not steal.”That admirer of America, Alexis de Tocqueville, shrewdly analyzed socialism inhis classic rebuke of it in 1848: along with “an incessant, vigorous and extreme appeal to the material passions of man” (i.e., greed) and “a profound opposition to personal liberty and scorn for individual reason, a complete contempt for the individual,” socialism is “always … an attack, either direct or indirect, on the principle of private property.”

Americans today have so completely converted to socialism that mighty few folks even recognize, let alone condemn, that “attack … on the principle of private property.” Rather, they reason, “I need or want it, and you have it, so you must give it to me.” The idea that my property belongs to me alone, and that no one else has any right to swipe even a penny of it, to restrict my use of it, or to dictate how I employ it has become as quaint as “Thou shalt not steal.”

In fact, Americans have redefined “steal.” It now means, “Acquiring property from another person yourself rather than waiting for government to acquire it on your behalf.” So long as the recipient doesn’t wind up in jail, he will eagerly accept anything politicians “redistribute” to him from his family and friends.

Even folks who would never dream of robbing a man at gunpoint of a third of his income, good Christians who attend church and read their Bibles, see nothing wrong with plundering their neighbors via government. Especially when they favor the loot’s alleged recipients (soup kitchens and other “faith-based” programs, foreign aid to Israel, etc). Few worry any longer whether an act is moral; instead, they assume that if it’s legal, it must be OK.

Policies of Plunder

The predatory and “graduated” tax code that allegedly takes “from each according to his ability” to finance Obamacare, food stamps, Section 8 housing, unemployment, Social Security, etc., is obvious socialism. But many, far more insidious instances abound. And in all of them, American morality is not only dead but so deeply buried that these examples disturb hardly any consciences.

Too many Americans applaud plaintiffs who sue innocent entities as shrewd rather than larcenous.A legal doctrine called “joint-and-several liability … states that damages can be obtained from co-defendants based on who is capable of paying, rather than who was found to be more negligent.” Looking for “deep pockets” so that small inconveniences or even injuries can be parlayed into megabucks often means the wealthiest person or corporation near an accident is held responsible, even if he bears little or no blame. Too many Americans applaud plaintiffs who sue innocent entities as shrewd rather than larcenous.

Since World War II, New York City has compelled landlords to subsidize tenants’ rent through its execrable rent-control laws. This legislation decrees how much rent landlords may charge, the amount – if any – by which they may annually raise it(despite whatever increases in real-estate taxes or in the cost of water and sewage the City has imposed that year), and how long the tenant may inhabit his apartment—even if the building’s owner prefers another renter or wishes to sell or renovate his property. This corruption pits landlords against tenants so thoroughly that occasionally the former plots to murder the latter in the hope of regaining his rights. And though rent-control authorizes tenants to cheat landlords, it bites the swindlers, too, by ensuring that New York’s supply of housing remains dilapidated, scarce, and stunningly expensive.

Once accustomed to living off their landlords – or the taxpayers, via Social Security, Medicare, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, etc., ad nauseam – voters elect socialists to continue their gravy train. They happily sell our liberty for lower rent and free food. Shameless in their thievery, they prove the Founders’ maxim that only a moral people remains free.

Source: Morality Is Indispensable for Liberty | Becky Akers

Does It Have To Be?   Leave a comment

aurorawatcherak

This is my public policy post on this subject. I’ve actually said this before in different words and the more I hang out with anarchists, the more I find myself agreeing with them.

The Bible is very clear that homosexual behavior is a sin. It follows that the commitment ceremonies gays insist upon calling “weddings” are public declarations of ongoing sexual immorality. The Bible tells Christians to FLEE sexual immorality because it corrupts our relationship with God. It is worse than other sins because it involves our own bodies. From those two facts, I judge that God is telling Christians that we may not encourage the homosexual activity of other humans. For the sake of our own relationship with God AND for the sake of the homosexuals we come in contact with, we must NOT participate in their commitment ceremonies, even as an unwilling caterer, photographer, florist, etc.

The Bible…

View original post 1,490 more words

Posted April 19, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

Joanne's Bargains

Bargains From Around The Web

Leadingchurch.com

Gospel Word Gardening in the Age of Decay

Jodie's Sewing Studio

Sewing Should be Fun

Webinar Starter Blueprint

The place to learn about doing webinars

Professor Eric Dent's Blog

A Scholar's View of the World

The Author Lab

A writing collective

The BookNook UK

You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book - Dr. Seuss

Unlearning Economics

Musings on the Current State of Economics

Christian Creative Nexus

Pursuing Our Creative Call Together

campogeno

die welt aus der sicht eines einsiedlers

Becoming Christians

Every Christian's Journey Toward Eternity...

Ronel the Mythmaker

Life as a South African writer.

OddMadland

Horrors & Headaches. Macabre & Migraines. Sci-fi & Stressors. Phenomenal Realism & Phobic Relapse.

Author Carol Browne

Writer of speculative fiction and non-fiction

Upward Bound

Exploring the invisible and visible realms of God through writing & pictures

Angie Sim

"tonight we honor the hero"

Written In Shadows

Welcome to Valcrest

%d bloggers like this: