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Foundational Issues (9) – Thoughts on Engaging in Moral Discourse in a Pluralistic Society

Productive debate can only occur when there are agreed upon premises. From common assumptions we can argue about applications. For example, Americans have always agreed that ‘all men are created equal.’ But they disagreed as to what this meant. Woman Suffragists agreed with this premise and said that it meant that women should be able …

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Foundational Issues (8) – Why has the discussion of moral issues become so difficult?

Last week I gave an example of the difficulty of engaging in moral discourse. I originally wasn’t planning on writing this message, but as I wrote last week’s message I thought it might be helpful to share some thoughts as to why this is the case and how this came about. I should note that …

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Foundational Issues (7) – Discussing Moral Issues in a Pluralistic Society

To briefly summarize what I have written so far: Christians believe that both physical and spiritual reality exist, that morality is a part of reality, and that only the Bible gives sure knowledge of morality. They believe that man is made in God’s image, but fallen. Government is therefore necessary to restrain sin, but it …

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Foundational Issues (5) – Are people capable of living moral lives?

As I wrote last week, the Bible gives certain knowledge of ethical matters. But this begs the question: can people do what they know is right? Are people capable of living moral lives? As with all great questions there are a number of answers. On one extreme are determinists. They believe, in short, that everything …

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Foundational Issues (4) – Ethical Epistemology: How do we know what is moral?

There are essentially four ways we come to know things: observation, reason, feeling, and authority. Observation is the source of most of our scientific knowledge. We, for example, observe that water boils at 212 degrees and freezes at 32 degrees. We can’t figure these things out using abstract reason; these are things we observe and …

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Foundational Issues (3) – Ethics: Is There Such a Thing as Right and Wrong?

Every society, every organization, every nation, every family has rules governing human behavior and expectations on how people should act. We have grand rules that safeguard human life and dignity (e.g. do not murder) and mundane rules governing things like which hours you can make a right turn in certain intersections. There have been two …

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Principles from Plutarch (11) – Education and Worldly Success

Last week I wrote about the importance of habituating our children to diligence in little things in order to set them up to succeed in greater things. Today I am going to end my “Principles from Plutarch” series of messages by writing about seeing education as providing things more valuable than worldly success.  According to …

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