Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves. 7:16 You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? 7:17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 7:18 A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit.…
In his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (2012) Jonathan Hardt examines how we think about what is right and wrong has changed in recent decades.
He has devised the following matrix
Liberal secular thinking give priority to the first three sets of items, whereas conservative religious believers put greater stress on the last three.
In other words, what the Western liberal is most concerned about is avoidance of harm (“If no-one gets hurts, how can it be wrong?”). …
The Pew Research Center’s 2013 Global Attitudes survey asked 40,117 respondents in 40 countries what they thought about eight topics often discussed as moral issues.
The question was framed as follows: “Do you personally believe that ____________ is morally acceptable, morally unacceptable, or is it not a moral issue?”
The contrast between the global response and the British response is striking. First, the global response:-
Compare with the British response:-
Much could be said about this, and I refer the interested reader to the link I have given at the top of the page. …
In biblical teaching, religion and morality are intimately connected: the religious person is a moral person, and vice versa, Psa 14:1.
Biblical ethics are
- personal – they are grounded in the character or God: we are to be holy because he is holy, Lev 19:2. They are addressed to persons who must make thoughtful decisions, Lev 26:3; Phil 4:8f.
- theistic – they focus on God. To know God is to practice righteousness and justice, Jer 22:15f.
This is the topic of debate in chapter 3 of God or Godless?
Randal Rouser opens by imagining the mind-set of someone who tortures and kills people for fun. He imagines the character denying that what he does is evil, because (on the assumption that there is no God) morality is a purely subjective concept, with no objective basis for deciding whose morality is right and whose is wrong.
John Loftus, in his opener, says that the title of the chapter assumes that there is one God, whereas there are multiple concepts of God, with their own moralities. …
Good for philosopher Alain de Botton, who has challenged atheists to consider what virtues they think might add up to a ‘good life’. That’s better than worrying about how to be wealthier, or more attractive.
He has come up with a list of ten:-
Problems? Yes, I think there are some problems with this approach.
First, there is the problem of definition. Sacrifice? – of what, to whom? …
Writing in The Times (5th January), Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss (former President of the Family Division of the High Court of Justice) argued cogently against any change in the law.
1. The law works well as it is. Each year, fewer than 20 cases of assisted suicide are considered by the Director of Public Prosecutions. In Oregon, by way of contrast, the number of assisted suicides has quadrupled since it was legalised in 1997. ‘Legalisation means normalisation’. …
The moral argument, stated at its simplest, asserts that moral facts, or imperatives, exist, and that the best way of explaining these is in terms of a supernatural moral Being (i.e. God).
In asserting that moral facts exist, the Christian apologist is on common ground with the majority of philosophers, including those who are not theists.
Fewer, however would accept that the existence of moral facts necessarily entails the existence of God.
Some would try to explain the moral impulse in terms of social pressure and cultural conditioning. …
Arch-atheist Christopher Hitchens repeatedly held out the following challenge to religious people:-
“Name me an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer.”
Hitchens seems to think that he has religious folk stumped. “As yet,” he claims, “I have no takers.”
I am very far from wanting to defend ‘religion’ in general. So I would respond by asserting that it is not difficult to find multiple instances of moral acts that would only be performed by followers of Jesus Christ, and others that would more prevalent amongst followers of Jesus Christ than among non-believers. …
John Stott is his usual measured self when he speaks and writes on the subject of abortion. So it is without hyperbole that he urges us to avoid euphemisms, and to speak of things as they really are:-
‘The popular euphemisms make it easier for us to conceal the truth from ourselves. The occupant of the mother’s womb is not a ‘product of conception’ or ‘gametic material’, but an unborn child. Even ‘pregnancy’ tells us not more than that a woman has been ‘impregnated’, whereas the truth in old-fashioned language is that she is ‘with child’.…