CategoryEthics General

The casualties of our pragmatism

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The modern world was birthed in the ideal of freedom, eloquently expressed in the three-word slogan of the French Revolution – “liberty, equality, fraternity” – and the soaring rhetoric of the US Declaration of Independence that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable...

How to Obey God But Not Do God’s Will

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When I was a boy one of the popular hymns in my church was “Trust and Obey”. “Trust and obey” it declared, “for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” Good advice, except when it is blind trust and blind obedience. The bible, it seems to me, calls us to a thoughtful trust and thoughtful obedience. Take the Hebrew midwives at the time the Israelites were enslaved in...

“Justice didn’t do a thing to heal me. Forgiveness did.”

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“Justice didn’t do a thing to heal me. Forgiveness did.” This is the closing sentence of Debbie Morris’s remarkable book Forgiving the Dead Man Walking. On a Friday night in the 1980′s sixteen year old Debbie and her boyfriend Mark were kidnapped while on a date. After shooting her boyfriend in the head and leaving him for dead in the woods, the kidnappers subjected Debbie to...

Does the Bible Endorse Slavery?

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On the ABC’s Q&A program this week the Prime Minister suggested that the Bible sees slavery as a natural condition. The context was a question about his endorsement of same sex marriage, and his answer suggested that parts of the bible reflect now unsustainable views of human beings which we should reject while maintaining the central ethic of the bible which is love. The issue could...

Ethics Without Borders

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When I was in Cambodia recently I heard about a place called Diamond Island. Filled with luxury apartments and houses, it is a world away from the poverty that marks the country. My first inclination is to ask “how can the residents of Diamond Island live like that when there are so many poor in their country?” But on reflection I realise that I should also ask the question of myself...

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