Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why I Dislike Theology

For some time now I have had a dislike for "theology" for various reasons. I am referring to the discipline of theology, not the study of God. One of the reasons I dislike this discipline is that when I am dealing with an issue I sense a lack of freedom to think "outside the box" or the freedom to take a position that some don't agree with. A lot of this has to do with personalities found in the discipline.

There is good reason to guard the truth and to fight against false teaching. Though, this passion for the truth can lead to poor dialogue and unloving condemnation. A great example of this is the reaction toward Rob Bell's upcoming book.

I won't go into the details of how some leading pastors have responded to something they haven't read, but I find it distasteful and frustrating. (Partially because I do it a lot too.
I see this as an example of how theology can be: if you say something "wrong" or borderline heretical then someone with an axe to grind will come along and try to hack your head off. Occasionally, they're leaders in the church.

Since we are representing Christ to the world, we can't be waiting on our feet for someone like Rob Bell to say something that appears heretical and jump on them right away. Be patient, read the book, form an opinion stemming from the Bible and talk about it. Also, go give someone a hug, especially college students since we're really stressed.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Computer

Some of you may have heard from facebook about the state of my mac book pro. Here are the facts:

1. My computer is dying.
2. I'm pretty sure my logic board is dying.
3. I'm sure some of the wiring in my hard drive is corroded.
4. It's a long drive to Indianapolis.

So, should I got to Indianapolis and have an independent mac store look at it? (The Mac Experience, up by Castleton.)

In the case you suggest against this long drive and imply I should throw away my computer, what new mac should I get. Here are my needs:

1. microsoft office
2. iphoto, possibly something of better quality for photography later on
3. internet
4. music
5. ical.... lol
6. efficiency and speed

I've heard bad things about the mac book air, like you can snap it in half with your pinky fingers, thoughts?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why Lying is Wrong

So I just had a friend come up to me and ask me if lying is always wrong. I was surprised because I think that is a great question. I have spent time thinking about why I believe that lying is wrong. Yet, my answer was muddled and confusing. So, I'm writing a blog post to clarify my position on lying.

What is Lying and truth?
Lying by definition is the act of not telling the truth. Truth by definition is, what is. We don't own truth. It is not ours. We may have a right to it or its origin may stem from us. (Yet our origin ultimately stems from God so we can't properly say truths originate from us for all truth is God's truth.)

When one lies, it is an act against another person. It is withholding something that is rightfully theirs. This doesn't mean you have to tell everyone ever dark dirty truth about yourself. We don't have a right to every truth out there. Generally, though, we do have a right to the truth.

So, when one lies, he/she is essentially stealing from another individual, holding back what is another's. That being so, my position on lying is that it is generally unethical to lie.

Nazis Soldier Objection
Because of a lack of space, I will deal with only one objection. It is called "The Nazis Soldier Objection." Let's say you live in Poland or Greece during the Nazi occupation and you're hiding Jews in your home. The Nazis soldiers storm your home and demand you tell them where the Jews are hiding. What do you do? Do you tell them the truth or lie?

The utilitarian in you would be shouting "lie, lie, lie." The Kantian would be saying "I wish I wasn't Kantian right now." The virtue ethicist would be saying "My system wasn't popular during this time so I don't know."

My response would be to lie. As an authority in your life, the Nazis soldier has the right to the truth. So if they asked for where is the butter then you would want to tell them the truth. But because their authority has been compromised and their right to the truth of the location of the Jews is forfeited, it is permissible to lie to them. Why? If one lacks the right to the truth then there is no obligation to give them the truth.

A Further Issue - Deception
Furthermore, it is ethical to deceive them if, as in the case of the Nazis, the opposite of deception would give them the truth, which is not their right to have. I don't have space to develop this thought anymore but that's the basic thought.

Bottom Line
I want to qualify my above response to the Nazis Soldier Objection. Given my context as a 20th century Christian who lives in America, I find it hard to come up with situations where it is ethical for me to lie. Rather, I believe that in order to protect my consciences, it is better for me to always tell the truth, given my general situation in life doesn't change. It is only in extraordinarily conditions that lying becomes an ethical option for me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Why History is Important in Public Education

People wonder what is the value of studying dates and names of dead people. Social studies is put on the back burner of most schools. From what I've heard, the Indiana State Congress will be putting much more emphasis on math and science on their new plans of reforming Indiana education. I find such policy to be a major mistake. And I don't say that just because I am becoming a history teacher.

My defense, of couse, will start with a bit of history. During the mid-20th century there were some scientists who helped Adolf Hitler carry out the mass slaughter of around seven million Jews. One being Dr. Eduard Wirths. He lead the carry out of experiments on humans, many being Jews, that included forced sterilization of women, infecting patients with cancer and other terrible forms of treatment.

You don't want a repeat of the holocaust so don't ever forget that it happened. Also, don't forget that it was educated scientists, politicians and military officials who carried it out. Simply teaching someone math and science will not make people of understanding how they can use their knowledge to benefit others.

You need history to create a moral sphere in people because it is in history that we can look at ourselves and those around us. From that picture, we can then build a home, a community and a nation. Without history, you'll be letting loss people with incredible knowledge but no direction.