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January 11, 2014


Wonderful post! I agree completely - except for this part:

(Of course, never do any of this outside the context of God’s grace, the cross, and our need for the Holy Spirit.)

It should be obvious that morality, moral character and "moral imagination" exist outside of, and are not dependent on, Christian beliefs in a particular trinitarian deity and a particular narrative of creation, sin, salvation and afterlife. Apart from being fundamentally speculative and unevidenced, those particular Christian beliefs are orthogonal to - and are not even entirely consistent with - the task of developing a moral character that recognizes and actively supports the self-evident principles arising from the interaction of human valuation, personal responsibility, empathy, and objective evidence.

I would warn against any attempt to claim that morality and moral character can be (let alone should be) communicated only within the context of Christianity, because this engenders a disregard for, and is a disservice verging on insult to the many people outside of Christianity whose lives reveal an inspiring and exemplary moral character.

They tried this sort of thing back in the 50s with "grade school propaganda films", where they would engage a typical student sort with a moral or personal hygiene problem. A monotone narrator would describe what was going on in one or two syllable words, culminating in how admirably Phil or Suzy struggled making the "right" decisions. Pee Wee Herman used to run some of these clips during his Saturday morning shows until he got busted.

Dear fellow parents,

If you’re trying to teach your children moral virtues AND you’re being intentional about developing them in yourself, you should also consider reading: “A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality” by Joseph & Linda Ames Nicolosi, (available in the STR Store: http://store.str.org/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=BK216 )

In our time of increasing gender confusion and overwhelmingly powerful cultural moral influence, it is essential that we understand how best to raise our children to be the men and women that God calls them to be. We can only accomplish this if we understand how to be the fathers and mothers that God calls us to be.

“A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality” provides invaluable insight and advice from researchers, psychologists and many who have suffered the ill effects of GID and Homosexuality.

IMHO, every parent should read this book.

@OttoTellick: The moral imagination used to develop moral character given in this piece, is specifically The Christian Moral Character. Not just any old character traits will do for us when it comes to raising godly children. We are not interested in nor are we trying to embrace those things which the world finds attractive if those things are not consistent with the Christian worldview.

I wondered how long it would be until you resurfaced with the same remarks as you've posted in the past.

Thanks for the link, Scott Richardson--appreciate it!

@Carolyn: Is it the case that you know of particular details in "The Christian Moral Character" that differ substantively from the kind of moral character espoused by, say, Buddhists? That is the implication of your comment.

I'm asking specifically about directives for behavior and for consideration and empathy toward others, not about the rationale or descriptions of supernatural authority that you believe form the basis for these directives. What moral precepts are unique to, and only derivable from, the Christian faith?

BTW, in comparing the moral teachings of Christianity to the moral teachings of other cultures and traditions, you should be careful not to confuse instruction with observed behavior. If measured by behavior, no culture, not even any Christian one, can make a plausible claim of superiority. (Well, we could measure crime statistics, but I gather this would favor secular societies like Denmark.)

"The Definition of Definition"

Part A:

Atheist’s various quests for Love are quite telling. That they believe so strongly in Immutable Love so as to insist on blind, inexplicable axiom to justify their vibrant belief in Immutable Love rather than go on without It is even more telling. That the Moral Regress finds an actual End in Reality via the the Non-Fantasy of Unshifting Love rather than in Reality via Atheism's [A to Z] of Indifference is the justification for teaching our child that things such as, say, Child Sacrifice, are in fact Wrong in all possible worlds in spite of the definitions of Man's Mind. Unable to ground such a statement in biology or any other location, we find Sam Harris and other Atheists appealing to blind, inexplicable axiom to justify their own belief in this very same End of all Moral Regress. Sam Harris and Otto are real world demonstrations of that peculiar landscape Man in Privation awakes to find himself within. Void of Immutable Love we find that Man within the prison of the Isolated-I, within the Pure-Self - void of Love’s Immutable Other - yet searches for Him, yet writes of Him, yet preaches about Him, yet persists in defining His Ontology in their varied and necessarily fragmented endeavors to find His Enigmatic Thread which should one seize hold of and trace to the End of all regresses one would find, at the end of Consciousness, at the end of Reality, that firm, fixed formula of Love.

They search for what they know is the truth of the matter, though all regresses within the Isolated-Self fail to divulge such a Thread. They are following the evidence, inching ever closer to Love’s Immutable Topography.

In their vigorous preaching of a kind of Immutable Love as the End of all regress, in their dynamic asserting that such a Firm, Fixed Whole does in fact somehow End all moral regress, in their belief that such a Whole lies at the End of all Consciousness, lies at the End of all that is Mind, and in their unending re-defining of their own definitions to ever more closely approximate His Topography, we do not find the mock belief of Is-Not but rather we find the robustly demonstrated belief, knowing, and discerning that such and End not only Is, but can somehow be found there at the end of all their currently fragmented sightlines.

They write books about such a Thread.

They formulate theories about such a Thread.

"The Definition of Definition"

Part B:

But all regresses found in all such books, in all such theories born out of Man’s Privation end not in Love, but instead end in the Mutable Self wherein all is shifting sand as all definitions end in mere subsets which prove to be no more than fragments of the Whole they seek to find, write about, preach on, and believe in. Man does not search for what he believes Is-Not, nor does he search for what he believes cannot be found, rather, Man in Isolation testifies, by his searching, by his writing, by his preaching, that he does in fact believe that such an End of all Regresses looms near. Man within the Self’s Isolation is – necessarily - void of Love’s Immutable Other and is therein necessarily inside of the Loveless Outside, external to that fully singular, that fully triune [Self-Other-Us], that Whole Who is our timeless E Pluribus Unum, Who is Immutable Love.

Inside of the Outside we find Man relentlessly reaching up into that Whole and ripping out definitional fragments thereof as he attempts to formulate his mutable definitions of Immutable Love. In such necessary fragmentation we find Man’s Madness as all Moral Systems end void of the Whole, as some systems are part the shifting fragments of Self, wrenched out and swollen to madness by magnification, as other systems are part of the shifting fragment of Other, wrenched out and swollen to madness by magnification, and as yet other systems are part of the shifting fragment of Us, wrenched out and swollen to madness by magnification. Man in Privation ever seeks to define Love’s Immutable Whole there at the End of all Moral Regress, but such proves to be a futile effort for all definitions which the Self in Privation can formulate end necessarily as fragments thereof for all his definitions derive their very “definition” by and in their relational constitution to the Whole that is that fully singular, that fully triune [Self-Other-Us], that Whole Who is our timeless E Pluribus Unum, that Whole that is the [Ever-Actual], Who is Himself Immutable Love, as, but for His Timeless and Unchanging Landscape, the very word “definition” is itself a word without definition.

All definitions of all Moral Systems and all the bits of madness found within all of them can be traced back to this process (fully described by Scripture’s [A to Z]) of Man in Privation reaching up into the Necessary Whole and, unable to amalgamate with Him, grabbing what fragments they can of the Undeniable Shadow cast by His Undeniable Light and launching out into inevitable frustration with it. Man has no more power of inventing a new value than of planting a new sun in the sky or a new primary color in the spectrum.

“.........if moral values are gradually discovered, not invented, then such a gradual and fallible apprehension of the moral realm no more undermines the objective reality of that realm than our gradual, fallible perception of the physical world undermines the objectivity of that realm........” (W.L. Craig)

“..........The fact that four people could not agree on the objective truth related to the suspect in this case did not refute the objective nature of the suspect, and their disagreement was not evidence against his existence. All were certain a suspect existed, and all would readily admit his existence was not a matter of personal opinion. In spite of this, none of them could agree entirely on his description (his nature)……” (J. Warner Wallace)

“The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of planting a new sun in the sky or a new primary color in the spectrum…” (C.S. Lewis)

Apologies for the word count on these posts, BTW =)

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