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Some of the most crucial and urgent issues facing humanity are ethical. On any given day the news contains issues that have profound ethical implications. The vast field of ethics can be variously divided. General ethics deals with subjects that relate to all ethical issues: keeping rules, the roles of authority and the conscience, and decision making. Special ethics deals with the problems of specific areas, such as war, cloning, or freedom of speech. While we can have an intellectual grasp of complex ethical issues without being personally moral, it is difficult to be moral without grasping the issues.
To Vote or Not to Vote?
About a month ago, I was asked to go on the radio and speak on the topic of voting. Since that radio interview, I've been asked to write upon this subject, as well. The issue surrounding this topic, is that there are Christians who have committed themselves to voting for Jesus in this next presidential election.
After-Birth Abortions
According to two ethicists writing in the Journal of Medical Ethics, killing a newborn should be allowed in all cases in which abortion is allowed, including in cases where the newborn is not disabled and would lead....
Birth Control: A Biblical Perspective
For centuries there has been much controversy in the visible church regarding the use of various means to control family size. Until very recently...
Sentiment as Social Justice
The Ethics of Capital Punishment
Historically, the church has affirmed the right of the civil magistrate in matters of capital justice. Contemporary culture, in contrast, is permeated with arguments against capital punishment
Why Does God Allow War?
That God allows war is a fact. Why does He allow it? We must consider, first, what we may call the biblical view of war. It is not that war as such is sin, but that war is a consequence of sin; or, if you prefer it, that war is one of the expressions of sin. The Bible traces war back to its final and ultimate cause.
Annihilating Arguments for Abortion
"The most merciful thing a large family can do for one of its infants is to kill it." (Margaret Sanger, Founder, Planned Parenthood) Make no mistake -- "pro-choice" advocates are not friends of women or babies. America's unthinking submission to the lies and twisted arguments of the so-called pro-choice movement will move us inexorably toward social genocide of a magnitude eclipsing that of Hitler, Stalin, Somalia, the Serb-Croate conflict, or any other massacre openly denounced in our media.
Answering the Arguments for Abortion Rights
Part 1
When the Supreme Court ruled that the state of Missouri was within its constitutional rights to enact abortion restrictions (Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 1989), it moved the debate from the realm of the federal judiciary into the lap of the legislative process. It is now possible for other states to enact similar and even more restrictive legislation. This, of course, makes a candidate's stance on abortion rights much more important in the electoral process, since his or her view on abortion can now make a practical difference in terms of what laws will be enacted if he or she is elected.
Answering the Arguments for Abortion Rights
Part 2
In the first installment of this four-part series we examined a number of arguments for abortion rights which can be classified as appeals to pity. In this article I will present and critique more appeals to pity, along with two additional kinds of argument: appeals to tolerance and ad hominem (literally, "against the person"). Of course, not every defender of abortion rights holds to all or any of the arguments presented in this article. But the truth of the matter is that a vast majority do defend at least some of these arguments.
Answering the Arguments for Abortion Rights
Part 3
Realizing that many popular arguments for abortion rights -- such as some of the ones found in the first two installments in this series -- have little logical merit, many philosophers, ethicists, and theologians have presented more sophisticated arguments for abortion rights. These radical and moderate pro-choice thinkers agree with pro-life advocates that the abortion debate rests on the moral status of the unborn: if the unborn are fully human, then nearly every abortion performed is tantamount to murder. They argue, however, that although the unborn entity is human, insofar as belonging to the species homo sapiens, it is not a person and hence not fully human.
Answering the Arguments for Abortion Rights
Part 4
In this final installment of my series on the arguments for abortion rights, I will continue where I left off in the previous article with a critique of some "decisive moment theories." In addition, I will make some brief comments about the "gradualist" thesis. I will conclude with responses to common questions about the pro-life view that full humanness begins at conception.
Spare Parts From the Unborn?
On November 10, 1988, surgeons at the University of Colorado Medical Center implanted fetal brain cells into the brain of a 52-year-old victim of Parkinson's disease, Don Nelson.[1] Following the surgery, Nelson reported some improvement in his ability to walk and speak. Since more conventional treatments had not been effective, the use of human fetal tissue was the only option left for alleviating some of the symptoms of Nelson's Parkinson's disease. However, the tissue was taken from a fetus who had been aborted for birth control reasons.
The Ethics of the New Reproductive Technologies
The new reproductive technologies give great hope to infertile couples and make many new reproductive arrangements possible. They also raise many difficult moral issues. Artificial insemination by husband is considered moral, but artificial insemination by donor raises questions about a third party entering reproduction.
The Euthanasia Debate (Part 1)
Understanding the Issues
During 1991, one of the top-selling books in America was Final Exit written by Derek Humphry. Humphry, co-founder of the National Hemlock Society (a right-to-die group), wrote the book to advocate the moral appropriateness of suicide and active euthanasia and to instruct people in the practical how-to's of taking their own lives. Based on the book's sales, there is a growing hunger for this type of information.
The Euthanasia Debate (Part 2)
Assessing the Options
In Part One of this series I examined two central aspects of the euthanasia debate. First, several important background concepts in ethical theory were explained. Second, the main features of the libertarian and traditional views of euthanasia were set forth. The libertarian view, advocated by philosopher James Rachels, states that there is no morally relevant difference between active and passive euthanasia. Moreover, Rachels says, it is biographical life (which includes a person's aspirations, human relationships, and interests), not biological life (being a human being), that is important from a moral point of view (see Part One, p. 13). And if passive euthanasia is morally justifiable in a given case, then so is active euthanasia, since there is no relevant distinction between them.
Capital Punishment Mandated By God?
Can Genesis 9:6 properly be used to answer modern questions about capital punishment? The debate is one of no small proportions, and the consequences both for the condemned murderer and for society are great indeed.
Reflections on Human Personhood
It is safe to say that througout human history, the vast majority of people, educated and uneducated alike, have been dualists, at least in the sense that they have taken a human to be the sort of being that could enter life after death while oneís corpse was left behindófor example, one could enter life after death as the very same individual or as some sort of spiritual entity that merges with the All.
The Ethics of Eternity
Blaise Pascalóthe seventeenth century French philosopher, scientist, and Christianódwelt deeply and often on matters eternal...
You Fool! Merits Hell?
This is the first of a series of statements in which Jesus makes the requirements of the law more radical than the strict letter might indicate...