Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Christian ethics cannot be promoted by common sense arguments, only by conversion

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Christians seem to expend a lot of time and energy critiquing modern behaviours - such as infanticide - which are unethical only from a Christian perspective.

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In a secular society, this is not going to work - why should it?

The general population is not going to feel ashamed about behaviours - like infanticide - which are unethical only from a Christian perspective.

Moderns will be shamed only about behaviours that were, and are, generally regarded as unethical by non-Christians - by pagans for example.

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Frustration about this fact leads Christians into subtle forms of dishonesty, when they conflate ethical categories that are in fact distinct to pagans (that is to say, distinct in terms of natural law).

For example, much has been written recently about the possibility of infanticide re-emerging as modern practice, and (in order to try and shock and shame people) calling infanticide by the name of murder - saying that the killing of newborns is the moral equivalent, the same thing as, murder of adults.

But as a recent non-Christian I can affirm what is obvious from history: that infanticide is experienced by non-Christians as qualitatively different from, and less reprehensible than, murder.

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/active-killing-versus-letting-die.html

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Infanticide (of a baby by its mother) is a distinct crime from murder in British law, and attracts much lesser penalties than murder; but more strikingly infanticide has been common in many periods of history - for example among the pagan Romans; and infanticide was (apparently) openly practiced among various hunter gatherer tribes such as the Australian Aborigines.

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/purposive-killing-infanticide-and.html

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Therefore for many - perhaps most - humans throughout history, infanticide was regarded as either morally acceptable or a much lesser crime than murder. Different from murder.

Indeed it has been argued (by Sarah Balffer Hrdy) that infanticide was perhaps the method by that ancestral humans spaced-out their offspring - analogous to the way that dogs can reabsorb or spontaneously-abort puppies when the mother is ill or under extreme stress.

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/active-killing-versus-letting-die.html

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A society based on Christian virtues, Christian morality, is a consequence of a Christian society; and distinctively Christian morality makes no sense in a secular context, as it would not in other religions.

(Distinctively Christian - I am not saying uniquely-Christian.)

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Since infanticide is not spontaneously experienced as immoral, for Christians to reverse the current re-emergence of infanticide in modern society, or other behaviors prohibited by traditional and orthodox Christianity, therefore requires that individuals and society - the Church - first become more devoutly Christian.

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