Evolution and Morality

Errors, Evolution, and Ethics

Every week during the school year, I get a newsletter from my former high school. It’s a Christian school, with a conservative Baptist principal, so the content is almost always something with which I now disagree. I generally skim through it to see what diatribe he’s on this week (it’s virtually always about the importance of Christian education…how unexpected!). But the newsletter from a couple weeks ago (Sept. 30) was about bullying in particular. The topic was sparked as a result of the recent tragic news of the suicide of an 11-year-old boy. But instead of pointing the blame at the bullies themselves, possible neglectful attitudes of school teachers and staff, or the social stigma surrounding persons with disabilities (the boy had muscular dystrophy), my former principal decided to pinpoint a different cause. I’ll let him explain:Continue Reading

Being a Decent Human Being for Dummies

The Duty of Decency

Morality, Society · · 4 comments

I never thought it would be so hard to be a decent human being.

How hard could it be? Just be nice to people. Yeah, just try to put other people’s needs in front of your own, and try to go out of your way to do nice things for them once in a while as well. Nobody expects you to be perfect at this, so all that’s required is that you try your best.

But what about real help? Some people need more than a shoulder to cry on, or a compliment sent their way. There are people out there who live in abject poverty, who live their lives in a constant state of malnutrition, or who struggle even to find a place to keep out of the rain and the snow. Just “being nice” is not enough to be a decent human being. I have to do something to help these people. Well, it’s a good thing there are plenty of charities set up to do just that. Great! I’ll just send in my money, let them do what they’re best at, and continue being a nice guy in my everyday life.Continue Reading

Free Will

Focusing on Free Will

One of the most common responses to the ‘problem of evil’ is the notion of free will. Very briefly, the problem of evil is this: If there exists an all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving God, why is there so much evil in the world? Although various attempts to answer this question have been made throughout the centuries, free will remains the one of the most prevalent. Free will, in this context, is the ability of human beings to make choices free from the constraints of prior causes. As the response goes, free will is important, or a great good, or necessary, such that the creation of beings with free will outweighs the evil in the world that necessarily follows as a result of the existence of these beings. We can’t take the good without the bad, but in this case, the good far outweighs the bad.

However, for orthodox Christians who believe the Bible, this response poses some strange dilemmas. I’d like to point out a few of these and explain why they are so problematic.Continue Reading

Falling Dominoes

Contesting Christianity: Consequentialist Arguments

The last set of arguments I wish to discuss is comprised of what are known as “consequentialist arguments.” In other words, these are arguments that, instead of dealing with the truth of Christianity, instead talk about what the consequences would be if Christianity were false. This is an enormously popular strategy, and anyone who has discussed with a Christian the reasons why he or she believes is likely to have at one point heard the statement, “But if Christianity isn’t true, then ______.”Continue Reading

Access and Accessibility

For the past few days, I’ve been hard at work creating a personal website for myself. It’s sort of like a portfolio, but a little more flexible than just that. I wanted a place to tie together everything that I do online into one spot. So, in lieu of an “official” announcement, here is my new personal website. It’s still somewhat of a work in progress, but for about two days of work, I think it looks pretty good. Because I now have webspace, I will likely be moving this blog there, so you can likely expect some changes in the next few days.Continue Reading

My Speech on The Notebook

Last night was funny. First, my aunts and uncles and cousins came over and we had a barbecue. We had chicken and sausages and burgers, and I cooked them all up, being the resident barbecue king of the family. Once I put on the hamburgers, though, there was so much smoke that my eyes were watering like crazy. The fire was flaring up because of the grease and basically enveloping the burgers – and I had the burners on quite low. Anyways, we cooked so much food, and now we have quite a bit of leftovers. And that’s a good thing.

After a while, I got a call from, you guessed it, Melissa. She told me to come over, and that if I didn’t, Josh would drag me over, or something like that. Since my sister and Bethany were just heading off to go to Braeside, I asked them to drop me off at the Staats’ house, and they did so. Erica, Dave, and Natalie also were there. The girls wanted to watch The Notebook. The guys went downstairs to play Halo. Josh crushed me at it, and then I crushed Dave at it. After a while, though, it got monotonous with one person dominating, so we headed upstairs and watched about the last half of the movie.

I must say, it’s a horrible movie. And I know that any girl that’s reading this and has seen the movie is probably muttering under her breath right now and plotting strategies…Continue Reading

Battles of the Mind

I was looking on the disk I have with all my poems on it for a good poem to describe what I’m feeling today, but I didn’t really find one. I’m not really in the mood to make one, but let me just describe a little about what’s been going through my head.

It all starts as I dig into the Scripture; I haven’t looked at these passages recently (until now, as I’m looking them up), but they’ve popped into my mind as examples of what I’m talking about. Take a look, first, at what Paul says to the Corinthian church:

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God – even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1)

Focus mainly on the last sentence. Here Paul tells the Corinthians to follow him as he follows Christ. What an example! Paul had the confidence to say that to these people; he knew that he was strong enough to be Christ-like example to them. He knew that he wouldn’t stumble and lead them astray. Now, take a look at Job:

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.…Continue Reading