The views expressed here are provided as a resource for furthering culturally-engaged leadership through theologically-informed reflection about every aspect of contemporary life. Neither Union University nor The Institute for Intellectual Discipleship necessarily endorse the content expressed in this blog. The content of each entry solely reflects the view of its author.
August 14, 2013 -
Commenting on recent state laws that tighten restrictions on abortion, Dr. Barbara Levy, vice president for health policy for the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, is quoted as saying: “These states that are passing these laws are being driven by politics. They’re being driven by ideals, but not by science and evidence.”
Philosophically, the rhetorical divide between “ideals” and “science and evidence” is at least as old as David Hume. In fact, it is so commonplace that it has a name: the fact/value dichotomy. It is a convenient rhetorical trope for those who wish to pit the calm, reasonable deliverances of paternalistic science against the insanity of the village idiots clinging to their guns, religion, politics, ideals, moral values, etc. But convenience is cheap. ... read more
June 21, 2013 -
According to a recent book, those seeking to pursue an academic vocation suffer a “baby penalty” when they simultaneously engage in child-rearing. Parents (especially women) are purportedly “penalized” (i.e., less likely to be successful in their pursuit of academic upward mobility) when they attempt to combine college teaching and scholarship with changing diapers and wiping snotty noses.
The typical professor views this situation as an entirely dreadful state of affairs. It is virtually an axiom of contemporary, enlightened thinking on such matters that equality of opportunity and fairness demand that the desire to have and raise babies not be an undue impediment to the achievement of one’s individual ambitions. Thus, the cultural artifice known as the university owes it to the professo... read more
June 17, 2013 - The sweeping global changes wrought by the industrial and digital revolutions make it difficult for Christians to grasp the contingency of human artifice. Although creation itself is not eternal, the witness of Scripture signals a normativity for nature that cannot be claimed by any aspect of culture.
On the sixth day of creation, God surveys all that “he had made” (Genesis 1:31) noting, as he had on the five days previous, the inherent goodness of his created works. What is striking about the Genesis 1 creation narrative is that the goodness of what God makes consists in its givenness - i.e., in the very fact that it exists. Because water, land, heavenly lights, plants, trees, and animals are all declared “good” prior to the creation of man, their goodness is not merely a function of their use. Rather, they are gifts, gracious signs of God’s presence in reality.
As the so-called “cultural mandate”... read more
May 23, 2013 - The deep unity between truth and goodness is often illuminated by failures in logic among those who lack moral clarity. To put it plainly, a loss of clarity about moral virtue is inevitably accompanied by an inability to reason soundly altogether.
The most recent cultural exhibit is the Boys Scouts of America’s (BSA) decision to “remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone.” Given that the BSA oath includes a pledge to be “morally straight”, the utter illogic of this decision is staggering.
Either the commitment to moral rectitude includes as part of its tacit content an orientation toward traditional male sexual maturation (i.e., chastity or traditional marriage) or it does not. If it does, then the move to allow members who implicitly reject such an... read more
May 22, 2013 - Political “conservatives” (i.e., those who love mammon more than God) are fond of pointing out that Americans are increasingly a society of takers - a people who view themselves as being entitled to be on the receiving end of coerced generosity (i.e., government tax dollars). To whatever extent such sweeping claims about societal grasping are true, the realities to which they point (again, if true) should not be surprising.
The decline of traditional marriage (i.e., husband, wife, children) in our culture is well-documented. Everything from divorce, indefinite cohabitation, deliberately childless marriages, and same-sex partnerships have eroded our cultural capacity to apprehend what marriage is for. What has not been sufficiently appreciated is the relationship between this particular form of social or moral decay and the purported economic one.
The relationship is simple. Among other things, marriage is a means by which God p... read more