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Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

A few weeks ago I was asked by LifeSiteNews for my opinion on the moral validity of pursuing legislation that would set gestational or “upper limits” on abortion. These laws would aim at limiting the number of abortions by forbidding abortion after a certain gestational period, e.g. 20 weeks. [At 20 weeks, it has been widely acknowledged by the scientific community that a child feels pain, and is viable outside the womb]. It is an issue that profoundly divides the pro-life movement.

I received significant feedback on the topic from a number of people, several of whom disagreed with the position I took. For the most part, while impassioned, the replies were considerate and took pains to argue the strength of the opposing argument.

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War & Abortion: A Bad Analogy

During my days as a pacifist I often heard, and occasionally made, comments suggesting that Christian participation in war is not much different, if at all, than Christian participation in abortion. There’s no rational way to support one and not support the other–to be “consistently pro-life” one ought to be against both. I’m not going to restate the argument against that consistency argument, as I’ve already made it on The Bayview Review once (see, “On Being Fully Pro-Life”). Instead, I want to briefly point out a significant difference between the two views that allows for the rational acceptance of one and the rejection of the other. Further, this is a distinction that even pacifists ought to recognize, and thus they ought to stop comparing the two.

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Here at The Bayview Review we aim to champion conservative values and ideas, that’s no secret. We do this for two reasons. First, we think that, in general, conservatives get most things right. That is, our aim is to advance true beliefs and conservatism is what allows for that in the most straightforward way. The second reason is that there are a lot of people that think conservatives are wrong because they don’t understand what conservatives actually believe about important issues. Nothing could serve as a better illustration of this than the issue of homosexuality and same-sex ‘marriage’. Within this arena, not much could better illustrate a misunderstanding of conservatism than Dan Savage’s three-minute diatribe against the “anti-gay bigotry” that he claims is justified by conservatives’ appeal to the Bible.

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The Myth of Postmodernity

At The Bayview Review you are going to find all sorts of arguments for particular conclusions; reasons to think that some view of the world is wrong. But isn’t this whole endeavor misguided? After all, don’t we now live in a postmodern society that no longer values arguments and specifically rejects the idea that we can get beyond our interpretation of, or language about, the world around us? In short, no this is not a misguided project because we do not, in fact, live in a postmodern society.

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Recently Gary Gutting, Professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame, posted an interesting article, “Does it Matter Whether God Exists?” on the New York Times philosophy blog The Stone. In it he considers the merits of John Gray’s argument that belief in God does not really matter when it comes to religion. Yes, you read that right. According to Gray, when it comes to religion, belief in God is ancillary to how one lives as a result of that religion. After considering various objections to this claim, Gutting goes on to, seemingly, endorse it because religious people are incapable of knowing whether the God we serve is benevolent or malevolent. In what follows I hope to show that both Gutting and Gray are wrong, primarily because they do not take seriously the actual Christian worldview.

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By Scott Masson,
Dept. of English, Tyndale University College
Fellow, Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity

My Christian life began in the midst of two controversies in the Anglican evangelical world of St. John’s College, Durham: one surrounding the recent ordination of women as priests, the other the call to give homosexual relationships a similar sanction.

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Practical Relativists

One can no longer be an intellectually sophisticated relativist. The view is now widely accepted as a complete failure. Its problems are too numerous and its benefits too few. That I can make such a statement and not feel compelled to list out those problems is as sure a sign of its demise as any. Furthermore, the denial of relativism isn’t simply what one must do to be a consistent Christian (though it is at least that). Open any standard textbook in Critical Reasoning or Ethics, regardless of whether the author is a Chrisitan, and you’ll find in the opening chapters a denunciation of relativism. You’ll be hard pressed to find more than a (comparatively speaking) handful of relativists in philosophy departments today. Given the utter failure of relativism, why should one bother thinking about it at all? There are two reasons it’s worth mentioning again. (more…)

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