Category Archives: Ethics

The Pursuit of Happiness

“If we pay attention to our lives and observe the lives of others, we will soon discern that a desire for happiness of one kind or another is the conscious, subconscious, or unconscious motivation for just about everything we do. Most of our daily lives and activities are aimed at the goal of experiencing and enhancing some measure of well-being and delight, even if such intentions are in the unacknowledged background of our minds.”

~ David Naugle, Reordered Love, Reordered Lives (Grand Rapids, Mi.; Eerdmans, 2008), 4.

Eugenics by Abortion

John Piper helps us face the tragic and terrifying consequences of where technological advancement can take us when we lack a basis for recognizing the intrinsic value and dignity of a human being.

With the development of prenatal genetic diagnosis, the drive toward eugenics has returned with a vengeance. Americans may heartily cheer participants in the Special Olympics, but we abort some 90 percent of all gestating infants diagnosed with genetic disabilities such as Down Syndrome, dwarfism, and spina bifida.

Read the whole message: “Born Blind for the Glory of God

Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

“People who grow up without a sense of how yesterday has affected today are unlikely to have a strong sense of how today affects tomorrow.”

~ Lynne Cheney, quoted by William Kilpatrick in Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong (New York, NY: Touchstone, 1992), 196.

The Only Freedom Worth Having

“The only freedom worth having, a freedom that does not finally trivialize our choices, is a freedom that acknowledges its limits and does not seek to be godlike.”

~ Gilbert Meilander, Bioethics: A Primer for Christians (Grand Rapids, Mi.; Eerdmans, 1996), 5.

Atheism Removes the Basis for Law

“We are never going to get anywhere (assuming for the moment that there is somewhere to get) in ethical or legal theory unless we finally face the fact that, in the Psalmist’s words, there is no one like unto the Lord. If He does not exist, there is no metaphoric equivalent. No person, no combination of people, no document however hallowed by time, no process, no premise, nothing is equivalent to an actual God in this central function as the unexaminable examiner of good and evil. The so-called death of God turns out not to have been just His funeral; it also seems to have effected the total elimination of any coherent, or even more-than-momentarily extrasystematic premises. . . .

Put briefly, if the law is ‘not a brooding omnipresence in the sky,’ then it can be only one place: in us. If we are trying to find a substitute final evaluator, it must be one of us, some of us, all of us — but it cannot be anything else. The result of that realization is what might be called an exhilarated vertigo, a simultaneous combination of an exultant ‘We’re free of God’ and a despairing ‘Oh God, we’re free.'”

~ Arthur Leff, “Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law,” in Duke Law Journal (December 1979 issue), 1232-1233.

Legendary vs Everyday Heros

“The difference between the hero of legend and the hero of everyday life may be put this way: For the traditional hero such as Ulysses of Jim Hawkins the adventure takes place away from home. Home is where you go after the adventure; it is essentially the end of the adventure. For the average adult, on the other hand, home is the adventure, the place where he lays himself on the line. The adventure consists precisely in those commitments with which the classical hero or child hero rarely allows to be entangled. The temptation for the traditional hero is to avoid the adventure and settle down; the temptation for the ordinary hero is to avoid commitment and have an adventure. For the ordinary hero it is staying home that is the hard thing, the thing that requires courage and energy. He must put aside the child’s fantasy of escaping. Once having accepted the main adventure, he cannot allow himself to be distracted.”

~ William Kilpatrick, Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong (New York, NY: Touchstone, 1992), 201.

The Great Question Confronting Modern Humanity

“The great question confronting modern humanity is this: Granted that the universe contains both persons (like you and me) and impersonal structures (like matter, motion, chance, time, space, and physical laws), which is fundamental? Is the impersonal aspect of the universe grounded in the personal or is it the other way around? Secular thought generally assumes the latter — that persons are the products of matter, motion, chance, and so on. . . .

If the impersonal is primary, then there is no consciousness, no wisdom, and no will in the ultimate origin of things. What we call reason and value are the unintended, accidental consequences of chance events. (So why should we trust reason, if it is only the accidental result of irrational happenings?) Moral virtue will, in the end, be unrewarded. Friendship, love, and beauty are all of no ultimate consequence, for they are reducible to blind, uncaring process. . . .

But if the personal is primary, then the world was made according to a rational plan that can be understood by rational minds. Friendship and love are not only profound human experiences, but fundamental ingredients of the whole world order. There is someone who wants there to be friendship, who wants there to be love. Moral goodness, too, is part of the great design of the universe. If personality is absolute, there is one who cares about what we do, who approves or disapproves our conduct. . . .”

~ John Frame, Apologetics to the Glory of God (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 1994), 35-36.