[Foreword: Though the language may seem abstract and probably pretentious, this piece is aimed at encouraging a possible reinterpretation of religious text in more practical terms. I hope you can bear (with) it!]
This came back to me recently, having touched upon it during my Uni days. The problem is outlined at http://www.slideshare.net/aquinas_rs/biblical-moral-dilemmas and summary below: God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am’. He said, ‘take your son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offerhim as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ Genesis 22:1-2 In Genesis 22 Abraham takes his son Isaac to be sacrificed as God has commanded (a ram is offered in Isaac’s place). Abraham and his wife Sarah had waited a long time to have Isaac. God had promised them a child in their old age and yet God asks Abraham to sacrifice him! Even if it does not raise moral questions, it is a least counter-intuitive. But Abraham does not falter. He takes Isaac as commanded and it is not until Abraham raises the knife to kill his son that God intervenes. Abraham’s willingness to kill Isaac is enough for God to know that the patriarch would not ‘withhold his only son’ from him. A ram is conveniently found in a thicket and offered in Isaac’s place.
The basic understanding of this story seems to be that it was about demonstrating Abraham’s great faith and willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to God, who lets him off at the end. i.e. God would never actually demand such a sacrifice as it is patently horrific, but it serves to illustrate the kind of strength of will that faith may require. However, there are other puzzles arising from this scenario if we consider it as a hypothetical situation where divine and mundane morality conflict. i.e. What if God actually demanded such a sacrifice? Continue reading
Prejudice is a belief or judgment made before or without due consideration of the facts.
Discrimination is acting on your prejudice.
I have recently heard of discrimination being condemned, but prejudice by contrast being ‘acceptable’. This is dangerous territory. In Orwell’s ‘1984’ there was attempted policing of the very thoughts of society. To think contrary to the status quo was a criminal offence. I defend the right to free thought vehemently, but in doing so please be careful not to defend prejudice as well.
Whether or not to have children. It’s a significant choice for anyone to make, so here’s my reasoning:
- There are many kids already lacking a decent upbringing.
- I don’t feel any particular selfish attachment to having my own genetic offspring running about, and I think it is perfectly possible to love another’s biological child as a son or daughter.
- I believe that there can be more to life than breeding.
- I’d be content to establish a social institution doing good works as my ‘child’.
- I can be a good role model to others without having my own children – I can even be more of a father figure than some biological dads out there.
- We are not in a situation where society is desperate for more children.
- Babies are not cute. I think that myth is some hormonal trickery at work!
- I disagree that having a child is the epitome of mutual love.
I don’t want my own kids. Alternatively, adoption or fostering could work.
Prompted by ideas about social changes effected by digital communication and the Internet, what do we need to learn in schools? There are several online resources with this very question up for discussion, and rightly so. The Internet, as a wonder of the modern world, is utterly deserving of its capital letter.
Youth work has emphasis on voluntary engagement with young people, but schooling has conventionally been compulsory. Why is this? I can see schooling as teaching young people things they need to know, accepting that young people are not necessarily in a position to decide what is important, and so we conduct a form of indoctrination while they are in this fledgling state. The nature of this indoctrination varies, depending on the society. Later in their development we seek to teach them about choice and responsibility, helping them on the path to becoming active members of society.
The question arising from the context of improved digital communication and Internet access is this:
What do young people need to learn, and what can they simply access via the Internet?