Sunday, July 25, 2004

moral elitism

last night at church i was worried that the sermon would get me quite riled up. the topic was relativism, and while i think this is an important subject to discuss/think about/reflect on, i feel like the approach taken by evangelicals is off kilter. i dreaded it even more when i realized that he was specifically going to talk about moral relativism. you see, my area of study in college was ethics, and so anytime i hear someone talk about morality i start comparing them to other ethical theorists and get disgusted by their lack of thought. now that my elitism has shown itself clearly, i can say that gerry's sermon was really cool...even if i thought he misrepresented a few ethical theories. the biggest points that i agreed with are these: the bible doesn't prescribe a morality for every situation (in fact, i think that most of the places with law are intended to reveal more about God to us...though i don't think we should dismiss the commands, just focus on what they say about God, and then, since we know that we are seeking to obey him and be more like him, we can act accordingly), there are grey areas even for christians (morality is messy like that), and our focus should be developing character, not just obeying rules or seeking the best consequences (and that's the part i think is the most important). want more? read after virtue, by alistair macintyre, he's awesome. another good one is common objects of love, by oliver o'donavon. both are pretty tough reading, but worth it.

quick note: from reading this post, some might think that i am extremely cynical. in fact, i don't believe this to be the case. i often tell friends of mine that the best way to make a point is to define yourself against something else. this may sound reactionary, and very well may be. but i hope that in my writings i will end up defining my own positions against previous ones, so that i can clarify what i think, not only for the sake of people who may read this, but for my own sake (and vice versa).

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