Posts tagged ‘ethics’

May 19th, 2014

The Spread of Molinism

by Max Andrews
I’ve been off of Facebook for a while [for several reasons] and apparently there is now a Molinist group. I don’t know how many people are in it but it’s nice for like-minded individuals to share and exchange ideas with one another (likewise, of course, interacting with opposing views).

I recently spent an afternoon with Tyler McNabb[1] in Glasgow. Later that day Tyler sent me an email of encouragement. Part of it was below. Apparently, someone asked, “Just out of curiosity, how many here were introduced to Molinism by WLC?” Below are a few responses.

Dwight Stanislaw WLC and Max Andrews. Max led me to Keathley’s book, which was the first treatment on Molinism I’ve read. Now I’m reading Freddoso’s intro to Molina’s own work and it’s destroying every last brain cell I have left.

Chad Miller Dwight literally took the exact route I did. I was intrigued by WLC but still Calvinist. I got to know Max via social media and communicated a lot with him. I asked him THE book on Molinism that gave the best argument and he recommend S&S by Ken Keathley, and now I’m here in this group and shall remain as long as Facebook is around…

Jonathan Thompson WLC, Plantinga, and Max Andrews. I first came in contact with this view upon hearing WLC’s lecture “Is One True Religion Possible?”.

May 13th, 2014

Virtues are Bygone and Vices Have Triumphed

by Max Andrews

In light of recent circumstances I thought it all too prudent to re-post a previous post on the seven deadly sins. These sins originated by spiritual vice and a lack of spiritual virtue. Personally, I see too many people, even in the church…, who hold to vice over virtue and don’t seek truth for truth’s sake. Truth for truth’s sake is God’s sake. All truth is God’s truth. Too many people are content with injustice and dishonesty.

As for me, where there is truth, there I will be. Should you find me absent you’ll find me repenting my way back to truth. Should I stand alone against the myriads in the battlefield… if I know truth is on my side I would stand my ground for the sake of virtue, truth, justice, and that which is right.

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them. To die, to sleep–No more–and by a sleep to say we end. The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep–

(I wonder how many people will know the reference above without looking it up and know what this person is actually talking about…)

Most of us are quite familiar with the seven deadly sins: Pride, Greed, Wrath, Luxury/Lust, Gluttony, Envy, and Sloth. However, these are much more profound then they seem to be at face value and they go much, much deeper, penetrating the depths of our soul to bring about a conviction and guidance needed during some of the darkest times of our lives. This brings us to John of the Cross…

John of the Cross (1542-1591) was committed to Catholic reform and was imprisoned, or put in confinement, by those who opposed the reform. During this time he wrote his most famous work, The Dark Night of the Soul. The concept of the dark night is key to one’s spiritual journey. It’s not when one is experiencing joy and light but rather sorrow and darkness.

May 12th, 2014

Desire and when the evidence goes where you don’t want it to go

by Max Andrews

I would consider my epistemic position to be a moderate evidentialist. (This is just a brief outline).  There is a sense of deontology to it in that one ought to base their beliefs corresponding to the evidence; however, there is a sense in which one may hold a belief without sufficient evidence and still be rational.  The source of truth is the objective prime reality and our knowledge should correspond to the truth of reality.  My epistemology yields my theology in the sense of scientific theology.  What I know about reality is what I know about God.[1]

Excursus: One thing I’ve noticed about being an evidentialist is that we all have desires and wants and wills. The problem [or psychological down side] with this is that sometimes I want X to be true but I find out that X is not true or that the probability or likelihood of X is stronger in favor of ~X. I don’t think this is a problem for evidentialism as a system.

Cont.: I’ve had this several times in my pursuit for truth. If I had to be as succinct as possible about why I’m an evidentialist it’s because the truth leaves a trail. That trail could be empirical, intuition [a priori knowledge as well], and other forms. Also, theologically, God desires us to pursue truth… if we cannot draw valid and sound conclusions from the data before us then we live in an intrinsically irrational world, incapable of being known. Likewise, evidentialism is self-affirming. The evidence for evidentialism is likely to be a methodology that leads to the truth. It is akin to coherentism (See this paper). 

March 5th, 2014

“Under Our Skin” – The Must See Documentary

by Max Andrews

Under Our Skin is an amazing documentary about Lyme Disease and those who suffer from it. It’s available to watch for free on Hulu (I know many places around the world don’t stream Hulu so you may want to try to find it somewhere else). It doesn’t talk about the conspiracy behind Plum Island (US government animal testing facility off the coast of Lyme, Connecticut… There may be good reason to blame the government for this disease but I won’t discuss that issue here). It focuses on the problem of healthcare in the US, the imbalance of the government and insurance companies, the corruption of policy makers, and the greed of those who patent advances and not make it available for others to benefit from. Here’s the trailer.

February 18th, 2014

Q&A 39: Ethical and Epistemic Dilemmas in Education

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion

Dear Max,

I understand you are very busy but this is very serious and if you could please spend some time reading this email it would be appreciated. You helped me about a year ago greatly through Reasonable Faith with regard to philosophy of the mind. I truly appreciated your words.

Please allow me to share a little about my background before I get to the point. I am a Christian who lives in Australia, I have a deep passion for apologetics and philosophy and have been teaching myself in my spare time for almost 2 years nearly every day. I have worked as a software developer for almost 20 years, these skills have greatly honed my analytical thinking.

Recently I learned that our school is implementing the PYP & MYP program from the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) also known as the World School. I had suspicions of this program because of its heavily secularized origin. This alerted me to do some research and suffice to say my findings are alarming. The problem with it is illustrating its deceptiveness via its pragmatic methods.

February 3rd, 2014

Q&A 37: Homosexuality and Ethical Semantics

by Max Andrews

Question

Hello. I just read your answer concerning whether homosexual acts are sinful even if homosexual attraction is innate. I agree that the question of innateness doesn’t touch the moral issue. Your main reason for regarding homosexual acts as sinful appears, in that essay, to be scriptural.

My question is this: Do you think that in all cases, moral imperatives indicated in scripture also have an adequate secular defense? The current problem about homosexuality appears to be the difficulty of formulating a reason to condemn it that doesn’t rest on scripture. People will argue, correctly, that homosexual acts are no more harmful than other behaviors that no one regards as immoral. And harm, or the clear potential for harm, appears to be the tripwire that makes an act subject to moral scrutiny in the first place.

December 8th, 2013

Love, Philosophy, and Love

by Max Andrews

264207_10150227244710163_6694857_nWhen you say “I love you” to your fiancé[e], spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend the profundity behind that declaration is incredible.  So, if my beautiful wife asks, “Why do you love me?” what do I say?  Well, I give her my reasons of course… but at what point do I originate my reasons?  Yes, God has orchestrated the world that it be this way but what factors are involved in God’s providential molding?

I believe the question of love ultimately comes down to the individual’s agency, their free desire and choice to love.  If all my reasons to love are external then that would seem to imply that there could be external reasons for me to stop loving.  Here’s a few examples. I love my wife because:

  • She has a beautiful smile.
  • She is fun.
  • She is intelligent
  • She has gorgeous eyes.
  • Her personality complements mine.
  • She is kind and gentle.
  • We have memorable moments.
  • She makes me happy
  • Etc.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but I chose features and examples that a lot of people will say up front.  All of these are external features and reasons.  What if these change and

November 17th, 2013

What if God Commanded Rape?

by Max Andrews

One of the common objections to theistic, deontological ethics is the Euthyphro dilemma. Does God command something because it’s good or is it good because God commands it?  The first horn makes goodness apart from God and the second makes goodness arbitrary. This inevitably brings up questions like:  What if God commanded you to strap a bomb to your chest and blow other people up or rape others?  As an advocate of divine command theory the response to this question is a bit more nuanced then any prima facie answer.

The proponent of divine command theory (DCT) claims that whatever God commands to any moral agent becomes a moral obligation.  Formulations of the commands are given symbolic form by David Efird as:[1]

(RIGHT)                      ∀ϕ☐(Rϕ ≣ Cgϕ)

(WRONG)                   ∀ϕ☐(Wϕ ≣ Cg~ϕ)

(PERMITTED 1)            ☐(~Eg ⊃ ∀ϕ~Wϕ)[2]

(PERMITTED 2)            [(∃ϕ☐Cgϕ ∙ ∃ϕ☐Cg~ϕ)] ∙ [(∃ϕ☐~Cgϕ ∙ ∃ϕ☐~Cg~ϕ)]

November 7th, 2013

CS Lewis’ Idea of Heaven

by Max Andrews

Pleasures are to last forever in some form or another.  According to Lewis, a pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.[1] This full knowledge and complete fruition of pleasure will only be in the fulfillment of one’s telos.  This lapse in knowledge, the separation between the subject and object (the epistemic gap between the subject and the object of desire that full one’s pleasures) is removed in heaven.  In Narnia, The Last Battle is the battle of the real forms—a draw to a close between this epistemic gap.  Digory, looking at the new Narnia, seeing that it is a fuller, more real version of the old Narnia, comments that, “It’s all in Plato, all in Plato.”[2]  Lewis’ Platonism is one in which ideas becomes concrete forms.  In heaven, Lewis says, is where heaven is a place where subject and object come together: thought and form become one when subject experiences object.[3] 

November 7th, 2013

An Ethic of Love

by Max Andrews

This is an ethic proposed by Søren Kierkegaard based out of 1 Pt. 4.8.

Hiding by Not Discovering

Hiding:  “[Love] does not discover sins; but not to discover what still must be there, insofar as it can be discovered—that is hiding.”

Discovery:  Reveals sin and increases the multitude of sin.

“To make discoveries even with regard to evil, with regard to sin and the multitude of sins, to be the shrewd, sly, foxy, perhaps more or less corrupt observer who can really make discoveries—this is highly regarded in the world.” It is not that any discovery of sin is bad or itself a sin, but rather the attitude that seeks out sins in others and relishes in their discovery is.