Another week, another look at some of the most interesting posts on the web. Here we have posts on the Game of Thrones and Philosophy, Joshua 10 and the meaning of the sun standing still, creationist Ken Ham, abortion, and ways your kid might be learning an oversimplified faith. As always, I’d love to read what you think of the posts! Be sure you leave a comment when you go visit to let the authors know your own insights. We have an owl post edition today because it’s cold.
6 Ways You May Be Raising Your Kids with an Oversimplified Faith– We are charged with raising our children in the faith. That doesn’t apply only to parents, but to the entire Christian community. How might we combat the simplistic image of faith that many children have? Check out this great post (and site) from Natasha Crain, and be sure to follow the site for some awesome posts on Christian teaching for children.
Biblical Credibility and Joshua 10: What does the text really claim?– Joshua 10–the passage about the sun ‘standing still’ in the sky has long drawn criticism from non-Christians for various reasons, primarily scientific inaccuracy. Here, eminent scholar John Walton (seriously one of my favorites) explains the text of Joshua 10 in light of other Ancient Near Eastern literature and the way it would have been understood in its time.
Scott Klusendorf Defends the Pro-Life View on the Unbelievable? Radio Show– Recently, Scott Klusendorf–a wonderful pro-life teacher and advocate–debated Mara Clarke on the subject of abortion. It was interesting to listen to this debate and see how the sides played out their arguments. Check out this post to get summary and commentary on the debate.
“You Win or You Die” (from Game of Thrones and Philosophy)– Whatever your view of the appropriateness of “Game of Thrones” (and we must note there is much objectionable content in it), there is no denying its current popularity. Check out this post from Anthony Weber which discusses some issues related to the philosophy of the series.
The Never-ending Debate: Ken Ham’s Obsession with Bill Nye– Some time ago, Ken Ham debated Bill Nye on evolution, the age of the earth, and more (see my summary and commentary on the debate here). Ken Ham has not let this public debate sit, and continues to utilize it to produce creationist material and muster the troops, so to speak. Is this a bad thing? Is it helpful? Let’s here your thoughts. Here is a post analyzing some recent trends in his organization regarding Bill Nye.
If the unborn is not a person, then abortion is morally permissible, and it doesn’t matter what you do with the unborn.
If the unborn is a person, then abortion is morally impermissible, and the unborn must be protected.
Note that these statements are conditional, marked by the word, “If.”
Why would I make these statements? Simply because I want to clarify the issue that is at the heart of the abortion debate. Namely, the status of the unborn.
Consider the following arguments in favor of the pro-choice position:
We shouldn’t bring unwanted fetuses into the world. It’s better to abort fetuses than force a woman to have an unwanted child.
If a mother can’t afford to have a child, she shouldn’t be forced to continue her pregnancy.
Women’s rights are at stake: it is a woman’s body we’re talking about!
Now, let’s contextualize them. Rather than debating the viability of these arguments, suppose we plug in the case in which we all agree there is a “person” involved. Suppose in place of the “unborn” or “fetus” we put “toddler” into the argument. In that case, the arguments would be:
We should kill unwanted toddlers. It’s better to kill them than to have them live in homes where they are unwanted.
If a woman can’t afford to feed her toddler, we should kill it.
Women’s rights are at stake! Think of the drain toddlers place upon their mothers!
These arguments are clearly absurd. Why? Because we all know that we can’t just go around killing children because their families don’t want them. We can’t kill toddlers because their families can’t afford to feed them. But that’s exactly the question these types of arguments beg: what is the unborn?
And so we return to the statements at the beginning of this post. Suppose the unborn is, in fact, just a cluster of cells, no different from a wart or growth. In that case, I would agree it is perfectly permissible to discard of the unborn whenever a woman desires.
But then, what if the unborn is, in fact, a “person”? What if the unborn is a baby after all? Well, in that case, it is certainly not permissible to discard of the baby.
The fact is, many arguments raised in favor of the pro-choice position are made from a position where one simply assumes that the fetus is no more than a clump of cells. But that’s exactly what the debate is supposed to be about! If the fetus is no more then a clump of cells, the debate is over. But if the fetus is indeed a person, then the arguments raised in favor of the pro-choice position are just as shoddy as those arguments with “toddler” substituted in for “unborn” or “fetus.”
Thus, arguments like this must always be contextualized. The heart of the abortion debate is the status of the unborn. Once that question is answered, the answer to the question: “Is abortion permissible?” becomes crystal clear.
Scott Klusendorf does a simply phenomenal job of centralizing this issue and pointing out how most of the issues which cloud the debate can simply be dropped in favor of debating the status of the unborn. The arguments presented here are based upon his tactic “trot out the toddler” which one can find in his book, The Case for Life or in his lectures in Ethics at the Edge of Life (found in the links here).
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Abortion is killing millions of children a year. We need to stand together to speak for those who cannot. Biola University recently had a seminar called “Ethics at the Edge of Life” during which they had several speakers come to make the case for life. They’ve offered this fantastic resource free online. I cannot stress how awesome this is. It is available in video and audio. Please take the time to download this programs and listen to them, as they will equip you for making the case for life. I listened to them on my way to and from work for about a week and a half, and I gained so much practical knowledge. Ethics at the Edge of Life: Video //// Audio.
Another fantastic resource is the Life Training Institute. There are free articles which will give you useful arguments against abortion, as well as educate you on the issue itself. For just one great article, check out “Are Embryos Constructed or Do They Develop?” Also available are the lecture notes from “Ethics at the Edge of Life” for free.
There are tons of great websites out there. LifeNews.com features news stories related to right-to-life issues. National Right to Life has news stories as well as several resources. Americans United for Life is one of my favorite sites. I recommend subscribing as their e-mails keep you updated with news and information about the legislation having to do with abortion.
Life: Defining the Beginning by the End- A great article on the question of when life begins.
The case against abortion: Medical Testimony– a series of quotes from textbooks, pro-choice advocates (including Peter Singer), and others showing that life begins at conception.
Does the case for pro-life rest only on religious foundations? No, it doesn’t. Check out a fascinating article on the topic, here.
Also, stop by my page which features all the pro-life posts I’ve written. It is accessible here.