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Posted by on Jul 21, 2015 | 4 comments

How one Philosopher became Christian through reading Aristotle

How one Philosopher became Christian through reading Aristotle

  In 1981 the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre converted to Christianity during the course of writing his most famous work, After Virtue. The book argues that today’s Western understanding of right and wrong (morality) is a shipwreck of disconnected fragments that we can’t seem to piece together. Hundreds of years ago the coherent whole into which they fit was smashed to pieces by a series of revolutions in thought, the most significant of which was the Enlightenment. He noticed that in today’s moral debates (e.g. just war / abortion / poverty) the conflicting opinions have no common framework that could make both sides eventually agree. Therefore everyone’s moral standpoint ends up coming down to how they individually feel, or to an arbitrary decision to take one side instead of another. According to MacIntyre, we should not assume that this is the way moral debates have always been everywhere. On the contrary, things used to be quite different in the West. The common framework for thinking about moral questions came from...

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Posted by on Apr 25, 2015 | 0 comments

The Body at Work

The Body at Work

A pounding headache during the Easter Vigil, brought on by dehydration. Coming in late at night, cold and wet from a day out in rain and hail. A splatter of dog feces in the face. All of these things are realities of my new job. In the last month I’ve been mowing lawns for a company in Vancouver in order to pay for life in the post-school world. There are also other realities though: a sense of satisfaction, an enjoyment of the outdoors, and a new awareness of my body. One could hardly imagine a job more different from the work I did in school, but I’m glad I’m doing it. It’s the latter point about body awareness that I want to focus on in today’s post, however. It’s fairly well understood that academics aren’t always the best with our bodies. Afterall, our job involves sitting in libraries or behind desks all day, and so unless we consciously build in a routine of exercise or sports it’s very easy...

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Posted by on Jul 10, 2014 | 0 comments

Happiness is an Activity

Happiness is an Activity

One of the best things about living in Edmonton has been our proximity to the Farmer’s Market. When we last lived in the city, we lived near the original market in Strathcona. We now live downtown, and are getting to know the downtown market. It makes for a great Saturday morning: a leisurely walk, food samples, coffee, and fresh, beautiful groceries. The market is full of stands manned by people who are devoted to local, healthy food, and homespun goods. I have eaten the best mushrooms of my life these past weeks. But even as I wander the stalls, admiring the handicraft, smelling the food, reading posters about sustainable agriculture, and listening to a young singer with an acoustic guitar, I have had doubts about my beloved Saturday morning routine. Herein lies its problem: The Farmer’s Market is expensive. It is pretty easy to spend $100 on groceries (for one to two people) that will last until Thursday. It is also only open on Saturday morning. This means that...

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Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 | 1 comment

Does God Watch While You Have Sex?

Does God Watch While You Have Sex?

How do you imagine God engaging your world? Does he answer your prayers? Does he stand back and watch? Does he hide himself behind natural law and science? Does he perform miracles? Does he wait for the end times? What does he do? For centuries, God was imagined to be active in all the mundane aspects of life. He was there when we harvested and cooked and ate, he was there when we built our houses or forged our tools, and he was most certainly there when we had sex. Most of us don’t feel that way anymore. Most of us think that God stands at a distance looking down on the creation – that he rarely, if ever, intervenes – much like a Victorian English matron, certainly not interested in sex. Even those of us who don’t believe this at a cognitive level live as though it were gospel. For instance, where does your food come from? We all understand the life of the vegetable: there is a...

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Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 | 5 comments

Technology’s Lie and the Promise of Love

Technology’s Lie and the Promise of Love

Last week Ryan Ricker responded (Evangelical Environmentalists and Ethical Oil) to my creation care (Salvation is not the Point: The Point is what we do with Salvation) post with an argument of technological optimism in support of responsible development. Tracing the development of Protestantism, science, and capitalism through the enlightenment’s pursuit of certainty, Ryan asks “So what is the goal to value: pristine earth or human flourishing?” He concludes that the questions of ethical development are questions of risk and potential harms. However, to limit the ethical discussion of development to empirical arguments over projected risks or harms is to participate in the faith that technology will “lead humanity to justice and equality” by assuming that all we have to do is limit harm.[1] Like so many moderns before him, Ryan combines his confidence in the rewards of risk with a confidence in the ability of humans to know, learn, develop, and act in progression towards the good with the help of our technology. Hence he can say of ethical...

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