Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Against the Conventionalist (or Contractarian) Basis for Morality

From C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1943), chapter three, “The Reality of the Law.”

Some people say that though decent conduct does not mean what pays each particular person at a particular moment, still, it means what pays the human race as a whole; and that consequently there is no mystery about it. Human beings, after all, have some sense; they see that you cannot have real safety or happiness except in a society where every one plays fair, and it is because they see this that they try to behave decently. Now, of course, it is perfectly true that safety and happiness can only come from individuals, classes, and nations being honest and fair and kind to each other. It is one of the most important truths in the world. But as an explanation of why we feel as we do about Right and Wrong it just misses the point If we ask: "Why ought I to be unselfish?" and you reply "Because it is good for society," we may then ask, "Why should I care what's good for society except when it happens to pay me personally?" and then you will have to say, "Because you ought to be unselfish"—which simply brings us back to where we started. You are saying what is true, but you are not getting any further. If a man asked what was the point of playing football, it would not be much good saying "in order to score goals," for trying to score goals is the game itself, not the reason for the game, and you would really only be saying that football was football—which is true, but not worth saying. In the same way, if a man asks what is the point of behaving decently, it is no good replying, "in order to benefit society," for trying to benefit society, in other words being unselfish (for "society" after all only means "other people"), is one of the things decent behaviour consists in; all you are really saying is that decent behaviour is decent behaviour. You would have said just as much if you had stopped at the statement, "Men ought to be unselfish."

And that is where I do stop. Men ought to be unselfish, ought to be fair. Not that men are unselfish, nor that they like being unselfish, but that they ought to be. The Moral Law, or Law of Human Nature, is not simply a fact about human behaviour in the same way as the Law of Gravitation is, or may be, simply a fact about how heavy objects behave. On the other hand, it is not a mere fancy, for we cannot get rid of the idea, and most of the things we say and think about men would be reduced to nonsense if we did. And it is not simply a statement about how we should like men to behave for our own convenience; for the behaviour we call bad or unfair is not exactly the same as the behaviour we find inconvenient, and may even be the opposite. Consequently, this Rule of Right and Wrong, or Law of Human Nature, or whatever you call it, must somehow or other be a real thing—a thing that is really there, not made up by ourselves.

And yet it is not a fact in the ordinary sense, in the same way as our actual behaviour is a fact. It begins to look as if we shall have to admit that there is more than one kind of reality; that, in this particular case, there is something above and beyond the ordinary facts of men's behaviour, and yet quite definitely real—a real law, which none of as made, but which we find pressing on us. . . .

Dis the Dems

A medical doctor criticizes ObamaCareLessNess. Don't believe the Democrats who say they will fix the bill; it needs to be repealed. This means not electing Democrats.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

From my friend, Paul Adams's blog

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
–John 3:18

“In a gallery where artistic masterpieces are on display, it is not the masterpieces but the visitors that are on trial. The works which they view are not there to abide their question, but they reveal their own taste (or lack of it) by their reactions to what they see. The pop-star who was reported some years ago to have dismissed the Mona Lisa as a load of rubbish…did not tell us anything about the Mona Lisa; he told us much about himself. What is true in the aesthetic realm is equally true in the spiritual realm. The man who depreciates Christ, or thinks him unworthy of his allegiance, passes judgment on himself, not on Christ. He does not need to wait until the day of judgment; the verdict on him has been pronounced already. There will indeed be a final day of judgment…but that day will serve only to confirm the judgment already passed. Those who believe in the name of the Son of God…become God’s children; for those who will not believe there is no alternative but self-incurred judgment.”
–F.F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, p. 91

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Duke Ellington and Teaching

At the funeral of Duke Ellington, in 1974, his long-time friend, Stanley Dance, said this of the Duke: "He brought out qualities in his musicians they did not always know they possessed. He had the knack of making good musicians sound great, and great musicians sound the greatest." It strikes me with force that this is precisely what a good teacher should do for his or her students.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ban on Slaughtering Humans

A judge does something right for a change! Destroying human embryos violates the commandment not to murder. They are very young and very vulnerable members of our species, part of "the least of these," Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24. To make them means to an only possible end (treatment of disease) is morally and radically wrong.

The Grasshopper Drags Himself Along--Along With the Adult Child

Essay on parenting a parent in decline.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ground Zero Sacrilege

Charles Krauthammer on the Ground Zero Mosque. He is exactly correct.


Instant art:
clip it, paste it, baste it.

Disposable wisdom:
sell it, swell it, yell it.

Flexible self:
shape it, scrape it, waste it.

Trial offer,
another coffer, portable proctor
to seduce the soul,
to sheer its aim,
to dim its light,

to make it fat and happy
with Darkness.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Groothuis Preaching

I am preaching on "Passionate prayer in a fallen world" (Psalm 90) at Wellspring Anglican Church in Englewood this Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35. This one has to be kept to 30 minutes, given the wonderful Anglican liturgy.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Vote for Jane Norton

Dear Douglas,

It’s getting closer.

The Colorado primary is only one week away and early voting has already begun.This means we’re only seven days away from a potentially huge victory for authentic pro-life women with Jane Norton!

If you are not planning to vote early, please make a plan to go support Jane at the polls next Tuesday, August 10th. Polling places will be open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

Douglas, did you know that as Lieutenant Governor, Jane led the fight in Colorado to defund Planned Parenthood?

Jane cited a 1984 state law barring direct and indirect funds for abortion providers in order to revoke a 20 year contract funding Planned Parenthood in Colorado—absolutely infuriating the abortion giant. Jane wisely argued that Planned Parenthood could not sufficiently separate funding for abortion from other services, making them ineligible for state funding.

Jane also established a committee to examine the adoption process in Colorado—seeking to remove unnecessary delays, allow public hearings, strengthen Medicaid coverage for adopted children, and work to encourage the adoption of children from the foster care system. Jane’s efforts ended successfully with legislation passed in 2005.

Douglas, with not a single pro-life woman's voice in the U.S. Senate right now and with pro-choice Senator Michael Bennett currently holding one of the most vulnerable seats in the U.S Senate, I can think of no better time to send a pro-life woman from Colorado to the Senate.

Our wonderful pro-life men in the Senate tell me all the time how important it is to have the back up of a pro-life woman on the Senate floor. Jane won't just be there to support our pro-life men, she'll bring her record of proven leadership and results for the women and unborn children of Colorado.

I hope you’ll support Jane in the Republican primary election on August 10, Douglas. Please make a plan now to go to the polls on Election Day, when the polls will be open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

Don’t forget that all mail-in ballots must also be returned to your local polling precinct by 7:00 PM on Primary Election Day.

With you behind her, Jane Norton will go to the U.S. Senate and continue to make gains for the unborn and their mothers across America.

Onward to Victory,
Marjorie Dannenfelser
President, Susan B. Anthony Candidate Fund