Tag Archives: Morality

Musings; Familial responsibility…

I believe in absolute freedom in Christ, but freedom with responsibility, as I feel Paul clearly teaches.  I was just thinking about sin and mulling it over from the POV of having that freedom in Christ (which I really must blog about more later).  A lot of people wonder at that freedom, and really they cannot believe it…but it’s true.

So, if it is true, and it is, then why should we contain ourselves when we are faced with a choice of whether or not to sin?  I’m not talking about those times when we really and truly slip and sin without thinking; I’m referring to the times when we are sitting there going, “Ok, wow, yeah, I really have a choice here.   If I do thus and so, that’s not going to be good for me, nor, apparently, my relationship with God…but I know that we have freedom and forgiveness.”

We have freedom, so what is the consideration here beyond “don’t sin willfully,” which I admit is a very big deal in and of itself, but not part of my musing right now.  I have been musing that it has a lot to do with familial responsibility.  Most people, esp. unbelievers would read that and think I was referring to blood family, but I’m not.   All of my brothers and sisters in Christ are included in the idea of “familial responsibility.”

There are innumerable sins that are not only going to affect you.  And there are many sins that must include another human being for them to be carried out…the ever popular fornication springs to mind.  So, in reality when we are contemplating certain sin, the question isn’t just about us, or our freedom, but also the question of how you’d treat family…would you really do something that would seriously harm your “real” family, your blood relation? Oftentimes we’ll do things that would harm ourselves, but never do those same things to our loved ones.

I think that Paul’s teachings back up this musing as one of the ways we should help to contain ourselves and keep yielding to righteousness; think about our family first…so much so that we are not ever to judge.  That’s right; we shouldn’t judge another believer’s salvation in any respect, but what does Paul watch out for?

Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. 14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

And I think that is my very point…if we find ourselves struggling with something, it should help us to keep others in mind, not just ourselves.  If all of us brothers and sisters in Christ would watch out for one another by watching out for ourselves, we may be able to control ourselves a bit better (all with the help of the Spirit of course).

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Anti-God campaign…

I’m sure most of my readers, both believers and non, have already seen or heard about the latest campaign by the “new atheists.”  This one, in Washington DC features the phrase, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.”

This backs several of my recent blog posts, and/or comments.  The first is that there is now a group of fundamentalist atheists that like to proselytize their religion.  On the surface the group tries to hide their true aim of proselytizing behind some notion that atheists feel a bit lonely around the holidays.

Hmm….”Why believe in a god?”  Yup, that really seems to be about the loneliness of non-believers.  This also displays my point nicely about morality.  “Just be good for goodness’ sake,” provides no hint as to who gets to decide what “good” means, or why I should logically care about “goodness’ sake.”

Again, if there is no God, there is no absolute objective morality….if there is no objective morality, the definition of “good” is totally and completely up for grabs.  It becomes mere human opinion.

Of course proselytizing is indeed the real reason behind these campaign ads…do I support their right to put the ads out there?  Yes, but the true intentions behind the ads must become known as well.

Here’s a news story on FOXNews about the ads: “Why Believe in a God?” Ad Campaign

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Apologetics; The Moral Argument for God…

As with the other philosophical arguments in support of God; The Cosmological, Teleological, and Ontological, there is one more major one, and that is the Moral Argument for God.

This argument is also presented in a general way in philosophical circles; Moral Law only makes logical sense if there is indeed a God, though they don’t really attempt to label which God it is from a philosophical perspective.  As always, I’ll present this from that general perspective, and then show how it does indeed point to The God; The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, The God of Christianity.

There is a distinction to be made before really getting into the main argument; that is the distinction between moral laws and Moral Law.  Moral laws (notice the lower case “l” and the plural), are those laws that vary from culture to culture, and person to person.  Moral Law (capital “L” (which is a personal notation preference of mint) and the fact that it is singular) pertains to morality in and of itself; the fact that everyone recognized that there is “a” right and wrong, even if disagreeing on the particulars.  Moral Law denotes moral principles that are absolute, and objective; in other words meaningful morality.

Humans have a definite sense of right and wrong, there are even areas of “universal” morality; such as each and every human culture having some kind of laws about marriage, and/or sexual practices.  Then, even with the differing moral laws, we see a high level of similarities.

CS Lewis brought this point home by urging people to compare the laws and moral thinking of the various civilizations; Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Hindus, Chinese, Babylonians, etc… Lewis tries to get people to imagine a culture where cowardice in good causes is admired and taught to the next generation; it just wouldn’t happen, it would be illogical.  The idea of morality and Moral Law, or Real Morality is discussed by Lewis in depth in Mere Christianity, which I recommend to anyone digging into this.

But, as mentioned before, the Moral Argument rests more on Moral Law, instead of the changing laws of culture.  Moral Law is moral consciousness; everyone has a sense of right and wrong, even someone like a psychopath.  Now, that psychopath won’t have the same idea of moral laws, but there will be somethings that he will indeed hold to be “right” or “wrong.”  He might very well think it ok for him to kill someone, but he probably would think it wrong for someone to steal his car.

On another level, the psychopath example serves as another illustration; the vast majority of humans recognize that there is something wrong and deviant with that psychopath.   We all recognize that we don’t just have a difference of subjective opinion with Hitler, no, we recognize that Hitler was absolutely and objectively wrong in his actions, even to the point of being evil.

There can only be objective and meaningful right and wrong, good and evil, with an Absolute Law-Giver.  That Law-Giver is labeled “God.”  Of course there are some philosophers that claim to be relativists; they claim that indeed all morality is completely and utterly subjective…but how many of those philosophers actually live out that perspective?

If I stand up in front of a room of people and declare it perfectly ok to kill a little three year old child that annoys me, simply because he annoys me, they are going to very rightly disagree.  A relativist has to admit that it is a valid opinion, and just as true or good as those that argue against killing that child.  That means there would be not actual right nor wrong, no good nor evil, all of it is just opinion.

Relativism also falls by pulling the logical rug out from under its own feet; if every opinion is just as true or right as every other opinion, then what about the opinion that there is an absolute and objective morality?

To any rational human being that is a totally outrageous claim that does not jive with reality.  So, if we claim any kind of meaningful morality at all, it requires a Source; an objective, absolute and unchanging source; that source is God.

One wonderful thing about Christianity is that Christ Himself embodies God’s will, and His unchanging nature.  Not only did the Law-Giver reveal His will and Law to mankind, He also sent us the Son Who is the absolute model of that Law.  He fulfilled the Law without ever sinning (which is simply missing that perfect bulls eye of God’s Will), and He is unchanging in that perfection.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

If morality is right and wrong, we get and act in all true “rightness” via God. God isn’t just the author of Righteousness, and He doesn’t “just” define it like we define a word, He is Righteousness. If Righteousness is “right-ness” everything God does is “right;” God is right if you want to.

Jeremiah 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

It’s not about a matter of arbitrariness, righteousness from God is, just as God is (He is “I AM”). Without God, there is not an actual, useful idea of righteousness, without Him it is a meaningless, subjective, arbitrary concept.  This idea is backed up by one of His names; Jehovah-Tsidkenu; The LORD our Righteousness.  It’s one of those wonderful teachings of Christianity; we don’t have to really on our own poor righteousness; The LORD Himself is our righteousness.  I’ll have to do a longer blog post on this name of God soon.

Leviticus 2:18 Thou shalt sanctify him therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I the LORD, which sanctify you, am holy.

He is constantly revealing Himself to us as Righteousness and Holiness itself.  As with the other arguments for God, the God of the Bible fits the bill perfectly.

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Filed under Apologetics, Atheism, Christianity, Philosophy

Ethics and Morality in Doctor Who; Journey’s End

In my review of Journey’s End I mentioned that there were several moral considerations that fans are discussing.  I’ll go into a couple in depth here, and talk about my perspective.  Feel free to weigh in.

1) Was BlueDoctor morally right, or justified in killing off “all” of the Daleks?  And, relatedly, was BrownDoctor right or hypocritical for judging Blue for doing so?  Was Brown unfair to Blue on this point, and hence illogical?

First, I would have to say, from my position, that Blue did not act in a morally correct way.  First of all, he did not take anyone’s life into account when doing so…for example, Dalek Caan explained how he was really helping the situation through Donna…yet, Blue starts destroying everything causing more chaos, and hence, less time to try to save anyone worth saving.

Were there more humans on the Crucible?  It’s very possible.  Of course, there may have been a fast-moving plot point that got by me that mentioned human prisoners all being held somewhere else.

Was there a non-lethal means of containing the Daleks, or stopping them?  Surely between Blue, Brown, and DoctorDonna, they could’ve come up with something.  In short, I understand why Blue did it, and his emotional and mental state at the time, but the ends (ending the Dalek threat in that way) does not always justify the means.

And, yes, I believe BrownDoctor was being hypocritical in his reaction to Blue’s act.  Nine did the same thing, only caused the deaths of others as well.  I get that Ten had changed, but was the level of vehemence toward Blue really necessary?  I do think that it was Brown’s emotions talking, but still.  He loves Rose well enough, and she atomized a whole batch of Daleks as Bad Wolf.  Brown is treating people inconsistently when it comes to his reactions, and forgiveness to “genocide;” hence is reacting illogically.

2) Did BrownDoctor treat Rose and Blue in a morally correct way by leaving them on Bad Wolf Bay without regard for their free will choices?  I don’t think he made an ethical choice on either count.  Here we have Rose, the one whom he loves, and he basically decides her life for her without regard for what she desires.  He doesn’t ask, he doesn’t give options and let her choose, he simply decided what he wants, and carries it out.  Excuse me for the poor analogy, but it is like a man ordering for a woman at a restaurant without consulting her first…

“Yes, she’ll have the steak…”

“But, I don’t…”

“Shhhh, honey, I’m trying to order…no thanks, she won’t have dessert, she’s full…”

The same holds true for his decisions for Blue.  BlueDoctor has The Doctor’s mind, his memories, his emotions, and yet Brown believes that he has the moral high ground; that he is right, and anything Blue might come up with would be wrong.  Again; hypocrisy in action.

IMO, The Doctor actually sets Blue and Rose up to cause more mayhem than if they were to travel with him.  Let’s face it, Rose was working on a way to rip through dimensions to make her way back to the Doctor, there is nothing to stop her from continuing that research.  And who really believes Blue will be content being stuck on Earth against his will?  As one commenter on my review post points out, The Doctor even offered to let the Master travel with him, to keep an eye on him, yet he would not do the same for himself.

I do understand that Brown was trying to work something out where everyone would be moderately happy (except for himself), but that does not give him the right to deny those same people a true choice, and it does not guarantee that happiness.  A choice freely made is a lot more binding than a forced choice.  We can tell, at least from Rose’s reaction that she did not want to stay behind, though part of her does indeed care for Blue.

3) Was it morally right for the Doctor to wipe Donna’s memories when it apparently was against her will?  I say no.  Even if it would have killed her, it was not a “suicide” situation.  She was not knowingly killing herself, she did not cause her own death, circumstance did.  Cancer patients have the right to refuse treatment if they do not believe that the treatment will enhance their life even if it may prolong it.

I also maintain that one of the Doctor’s “sins” was one of omission rather than commission.  He did not try to convince her, just as he did not really try to convince Rose and Blue.  He did not try to calm her down, either verbally, or by joining their two minds.  She was left crying and begging “no,” as he wiped her memory.  There was no, “I’ll try to figure out how to restore you,” or “I’ll look in on you every time I come back,” nothing.  He decided for her that her mental death was worth saving her from physical death, not only that, but a mental death in the face of terrified refusal.

I do realize this gives the character of Donna another chance to show up later, and I agree with that choice (and think it will happen) ; however, as I pointed out above, to me, it damages the Doctor’s character because it was indeed against another’s will.  I think that he could have calmed her, and convinced her to agree, especially when their minds met.  I do hope that this plot point, this occurrence, is mentioned again on the show, with the emotional repercussions of the Doctor’s decision coming out.

This is one episode that does raise a lot of debate, which can be fun, as long as we remember that it is, in the end, just a show…though a very good one.

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Doctor Who; Journey’s End Review…

Here we have the season ender, also written by Russell T. Davies.  There is no way I can cover everything that happened, so I’ll have to stick to the high points, and even then, this is a long review because it was an extra long episode.  You need to watch the episode anyway; it was a really interesting one packed with a lot of information, and leaves viewers asking many questions.  (Tennant did really well in this eppy too.)

If you’ll recall last time in The Stolen Earth, we left off with a universal-level catastrophe; the Daleks with Davros in tow had stolen 27 planets including Earth to function as a giant engine.  Also, we saw the Doctor zapped by a Dalek; Jack, Rose, and Donna managed to get him back inside the TARDIS and the golden glow of regeneration had taken over.

The Doctor manages to redirect the energy into his hand that had been cut off after his regeneration from Nine to Ten.  This does two things; puts all the energy onto the severed hand in its case; in its little bubbling preservative fluid, and lets the Doctor keep Ten’s visage, memories, voice, etc… Essentially he bypassed regenerating (though the debate rages as to whether or not this counts as one of the Doctor’s twelve regens…I vote it does, any thoughts? ).

So, The TARDIS gets caught up by the Daleks’ temporal hoolahoop…I mean temporal prison, and whisked off to the Crucible, which is the Dalek ship at the center of the 27 planet formation.  Think the Death star with spikes coming off of it.

Everyone exists the TARDIS to face the Daleks, everyone but Donna that is; something is holding her back and it sounds suspiciously like a heartbeat.  So, she hangs back and the TARDIS door swings shut and locks.  Who precisely shut the door?  Dunno, and we never really find out, though we know it wasn’t Donna, the Doctor, or any of the crew.  We do find out that the Daleks consider the TARDIS a weapon, not just a ship, and they want it destroyed.  Of course whilst being destroyed in the core of the Crucible, what should happen but the Doctor’s hand grows a whole new Doctor.  Donna, seeing what is happening touches the new Doctor and “hilarity” ensues.

The new Doctor is naked, and seemingly quite proud of that fact…he has also picked up some of Donna’s mannerisms and has but one heart being part human because of the regeneration situation.  He jumps to the helm and whisks the TARDIS out of danger.  After he dons a blue suit, I will now call him BlueDoctor.  (BrownDoctor is the proper Doctor; “full” Timelord, and is in a brown suit.)

Donna and Blue have a short but significant discussion about Destiny.  Donna displays doubt that there is any such thing, while BlueDoctor seems to come down on the side of there being a Destiny of some sort since he mutters about all the pieces not being in place, that the “pattern” is not yet complete.

Anywho, back on the Crucible, BrownDoctor and crew are being twitted by the Daleks.  Captain Jack, in a planned fit, pulls a gun and shoots at one of them, of course he is struck down and presumed dead.  Any good fan, and the BrownDoctor, knows that Jack can’t be killed, so it is a Jack-scheme in action.  The Daleks haul him off and throw him in, of all things, a fiery furnace…later Jack emerges and his greatcoat isn’t even singed…hmmm…I’ve read this story before.  Oh, yeah;

Daniel 3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. 27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

Long story short, Jack meets up with Mickey and Jackie (they both wound up jumping to our dimension the same as Rose did), and Sarah Jane.  The whole crew (minus BlueDoctor and Donna), are captive in the vault talking with Davros; so that’s BrownDoctor, Rose, Sarah Jane, Mickey, Jackie, and Captain Jack all there; with Martha being zapped in later. BTW, there is talk from Davros about the fact that all the helplessness, and death will make the Doctor reveal his soul; which turns out to be a sad state of affairs, as the Doctor seems to suffer from guilt, loneliness, and sorrow.

This is brought about by the revelation that the Crucible is actually a giant Death Star…I mean weapon.  It has a “reality bomb” which is capable of dissolving every form of matter to dust, into atoms, and then into nothing.  (At this point I have to ask; what’s there really to get upset over?  Shouldn’t evolution just be able to reverse it in a matter of billions of years?  You know, from nothing to atoms to dust to human and Timelord, which are, from an atheistic standpoint mere matter? Heh.)

Then the BlueDoctor and Donna arrive, and who winds up saving the day?  Donna…who, through a Human-Timelord Metacrisis (don’t ask) is now part Timelord herself.  Donna + the Doctor’s mind = major Dalek butt-kicking. Longer story short; BlueDoctor winds up committing Dalek-genocide.  This is a huge contention point amongst fans; was BlueDoctor justified?  BrownDoctor is shocked appalled at Blue’s action…which doesn’t really make much sense, unless Brown sees himself reflected in Blue and just doesn’t like what he sees.

Everyone piles on board the TARDIS, and with a final invitation to Davros to come with them, which is turned down, BrownDoctor closes the door.  Daleks dead (how long do you think that will last?), whole crew safe and sound on board the TARDIS.  The Earth still needs to be returned home so, in the best scene this whole season, both Doctors, and the whole crew pilot and fly the TARDIS back “home.”  You see, the TARDIS was built for a crew of at least six, so now we get to see how it should really be flown.  Give me a sci-fi scene where everyone is pitching in, joking around, and enjoying themselves while doing something meaningful, with a great music score, and you’ve got me.  Loved the scene; how it was written, acted, and shot.

You then have the parting of the ways for this episode; Sarah Jane goes back to her son Luke, Martha, Captain Jack, and Mickey head off together.  BrownDoctor drops Rose, BlueDoctor, and Jackie back in the alternate dimension…and then BrownDoctor and Donna have a reckoning; Donna’s mind cannot handle having the mind of a Timelord within it; it will kill her.  So, the Doctor wipes all memory from her about him, the TARDIS, the planets they visited…everything.  Then drops her back at her house to resume her normal everyday life…with her old personality in place.  We are left with a very alone, very forlorn Doctor…and several ethical questions.  I will explore these more in depth in my next post; hopefully it will be up by tomorrow, and I will link it here (the post is now up, which you can find here: Ethics and Morality in Doctor Who; Journey’s End).

1) Did BrownDoctor treat Rose and BlueDoctor right/in a morally correct way?

2) Did Brown violate Donna’s free will and essentially wipe her memory against her will?  Did he have the right to do so?

3) Was BlueDoctor right for killing the Daleks?  Was BrownDoctor hypocritical, and hence illogical for scolding Blue for doing the killing?

There is a ton of apocalyptic language used in this episode; “At the end of everything,” the “End of Days,” etc… that of course has a whiff of the book of Revelation on it.  There is also a lot of fire imagery present.

At one point in the show, Davros accuses the Doctor of forming his companions into weapons, and also lays upon him the guilt of them “dying in his name.”  I felt that this was a slap in the face to all the people that gave their lives for the Doctor, and the universe…how is sacrificing oneself for another mere mortal “dying in his name” as though the Doctor was God to his acquaintances…what bothered me most was that BrownDoctor stood there mute, not trying to correct Davros in the least…perhaps he has deluded himself as well, does he have a god-complex?  Either that or the guilt was just too overwhelming…

Overall, I thought it was a lovely wrap up to the season, and leaves fans chatting away; Will we see Rose and Blue again? (I bet we do.)  Will Martha and Mickey join Torchwood?  Who will join up with the Doctor now, and will his character and personality be changed?  Will Donna regain her memory?  If so, how will she survive?  Are there a few stray Daleks floating around space? (I bet there are.)  And, why didn’t Eccleston come back to play the Doctor that formed from the hand; the part was made for him!

I’m sad the season is over for us in the US, but I look forward to the specials in 2009, and I do believe that this episode was worthy of being a season ender.

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Video Games and Morality…

Christian.  Female.  Gamer.  I have to be in the vast minority (anybody else out there?).  I’ve been interested in, and played video games before the wonderful old atari system came out; on old (Apple) computers of course.  So obviously I don’t think playing video games is wrong.  What I would like to discuss, just because I find it interesting, is what about morality within the context of the world of a game?

For example, in one of my favorite games of all time; Knights of the Old Republic, which is based in the Star Wars universe, you can choose what kind of Jedi you become.  Do you stay a good Jedi, or start embracing the teachings and/or action of the Sith (“evil” Jedi).  Of course if you choose the Sith side of things, you aren’t a very nice person in the least.  So (some of you must be wondering) why would you ever choose to play the villain of the piece?

Well, you see, that is interesting too.  To get the fully story in a game, you play both sides, as each decision often adds to the storyline, and fills in gaps.  So, it’s the programmers who are really the immoral ones! 😉  To get all the details that you buy and play the game for, you must play both storylines; good and bad.  Some people cannot do it.  They can’t force themselves to even be verbally mean to a group of bratty kids (in game)… let alone turn traitor and kill a member of your own party.  Others of us don’t really have much of a problem with it, although there are things I absolutely will not do even in video games.

It’s just a fascinating concept to me.  No one mistakes a video game’s world with the real world, but we do know that even “fantasy violence” can disturb people, leave an impression, and give people ideas.  Now, there are games that are built solely around violence, such as the Grand Theft Auto games; and I definitely stear clear of those; however, many people gloss over the fact that even if you play the good side, the good storyline, you still wind up (usually) killing people, or at least other living creatures.

So what does anyone out there think?  Does your morality impact how you play a video game, the choices you make within the game?  Or, can you shut off your real life morality in order to complete the game?  and if you can, should you? For me, it is changing.  With youtube so accessible, everyone puts the “bad” storylines up where you can see the ending without having to actually play as a bad character.  If I have a chance to fill in the details without actually playing through the game as a “bad” character, I’ll take that choice.

One of the latest games with a clear good/bad choice that I’ve played was BioShock.  Without spoiling anything, there is no possible way I could have played the character as evil/bad…so I did indeed go to youtube and watch the ending.  Cheating?  I don’t consider it so, since I did beat the game as a “good guy.”  Now, if you would like to comment, would you kindly refrain from game spoilers?

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