'Does science have anything to tell us about the nature of morality? Could use of the scientific method help us apprehend the nature of good and evil? Sam Harris certainly thinks so as he appeals to the burgeoning field of neuroscience as the pathway to discovering objective moral facts. For example, Harris recasts classical virtues like kindness, willingness to follow evidence, and patience as “forces” of the brain that further the end of human cooperation. If such forces result in human well-being, then we ought to cultivate them to maximize human well-being, and ignore or destroy those that abate it.'
'I’m afraid the framing of this discussion leads us to ask the wrong questions. Like the junior high boy who wonders how “far is too far” with his girlfriend, we are quickly caught up in questions about how rich is too rich, how poor is too poor, and the like. Where is the line? Do I feel guilty for having too much? Do the kids have enough? What does “enough” even mean? Should I feel guilty about not giving as much as so and so? If I give more, does that mean I am more spiritual? The hamster wheel of comparison, propelled by our spring-loaded legalism, keeps spinning unto exhaustion. We are all tempted to be prideful about what we give or feel guilty about what we don’t. Neither response befits the gospel, which crushes pride and erases guilt.'
'Rupert Murdoch has been forced to publish an apology in the British newspaper, The Guardian, for his companies' phone hacking activities. Strange that. I thought the The Grauniad (sic) thought that illegal hacking and publishing private and confidential documents was absolutely vital to free society. After all, , of wikileaks fame, is Hero Numero Uno in The Guardian Hall of Martyrs. Why the difference in response? Well, it cannot be racism because (a) this is The Guardian and Murdoch and Assange are both Australian. Could it perchance be that Murdoch is old, rich and selectively conservative (depending on the market) while Assange is young-ish, a bit weird and allegedly `sticking it to the man'? Aesthetics, anyone? Full page apologies from Murdoch in The Guardian don't give much hope.... for The Guardian and its ilk. The church may be ridiculous, hypocritical and self-righteous; but it has no monopoly on that - the secular world is just as ridiculous; and, with its repudiation of a doctrine of original sin, has much less excuse. The secular world might want to put is own house in order before it expends too much time trashing the hypocrisies of those whose very creed acknowledges their hypocrisy at the outset.'
'What is worse is that the Cloyne report, named for the diocese it covered, focused on that diocese’s response to sex abuse after 1996, when the Irish bishops introduced guidelines for mandatory reporting. Yet as recently as 2008, the Cloyne diocese was out of compliance–much like the diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, which refuses to implement the U.S. bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People 10 years after its creation. With this report, there can be no defense that the diocese didn’t understand what sexual abuse was or how to deal with it. They knew what they should do–and they didn’t do it.'
'A statement like the Athanasian Creed should cause us to consider how robust our own denominational or church-based statements of faith are or are not. This creed is an example of how the church, throughout history, has a concern for the great truths of the faith. The Athanasian Creed was not merely an add-on to the appendix of a church constitution. Instead, the church connected the theology of the Creed to the daily life of faith. As such, the Athanasian Creed provides us with a beautiful example of the interplay between theology and worship.'