Monday, May 2, 2016

Philosophy, Christian calling and apologetic engagement - Part 2

For ANYBODY who wants to have some apologetic impact on the world in ANY domain of life or concern MUST have some philosophical exposure. This is especially true for those who want to establish common ground with unbelievers either on worldview issues or ethical issues. Any argument in defending the faith or defending some belief tightly connected to a Christian worldview will always have some underlying philosophical issue at stake. The better one knows about philosophy in general and how it applies to any particular issue will be better equipped and engaged to make the Christian position less capable of being dismissed easily because it's been carefully thought through and argued for. I want to give some examples of how this works before I conclude my thoughts.

(1) Medicine: Ethical issues like abortion, gender-reassignment surgery, homosexuality, transgenderism are all over the place in certain medicinal practices. Philosophy will raise and try to answer these questions that impact how one thinks about those issues in the medical profession: Is gender tied to one's biology or is it constructed by one's mind or culture? When is a human being a person/What makes a human being a person/What makes human beings valuable? Is mutual consent enough to justify any or all sexual acts? Or is how one's designed to function a test for determining what we may do and not do with our bodies? THE LIST GOES ON.

(2) Art: Is beauty purely in the eye of the beholder or is there an objective quality to it? Is there such a thing as *proper* or right expression or is expression determined by what or how the person wishes to express him or herself? Can we legitimately call things "bad art" and "good art"?

(3) Literature: Is there any connection between our words/language and reality? Do we construct meaning in what we write or is meaning discovered?

I could go on and list more examples but I think this will suffice.

Peter Singer and many other bioethicists have argued - wrongly in my view - that abortion can be morally justified and that ending the lives of newborns or infants can be morally justified. Find this appalling and horrific? Join the club! But how will one answer Singer and many others who not only defend these claims but ALSO claim that REASON, SCIENCE and LOGIC is on their side and that our position is nothing more than BLIND FAITH?

God has made His intentions known about humanity in Scripture and in nature. Neither source of knowledge covers EVERYTHING. They weren't meant to. God who was behind the writing of Scripture is also the God of Reason. God is a rational being and since He made us in His image, we are also rational beings by nature. So we must use reason to defend God's truths.

Thankfully for Christians, reason is also on our side in these debates and we can use it to dismantle Singer's claims about the value of the unborn and newborn and show to the world that our views of human value are FAR superior than his. But we can only do that if we use the very weapons God's endowed us with.

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