One of the issues that came up is the justification of morality, with implications for the role of moral issues in democratic decision-making. Which echoes the themes, concerns and issues of Acts 27.
As this is an area under particular attack in our day at the hands of radical groups and the academics that back them up with arguments that can be impressive, I think a one slice of the cake has in it all the ingredients (HT: Billy Hall) example may be helpful here at KF.
KN, below, is a philosophy professor and is challenging the issue of the objective vs the subjective in morality, with obvious implications for democratic politics.
Let me therefore start a bit earlier with clips from a comment where I highlighted the issue of what is objective vs what is subjective, to which KN was responding, and from which I snipped what I went on to discuss earlier theis morning.
Notice, how I picked up the key Acts 27 case:
Definitions that may help:
Collins English Dict:
OBJECTIVE: objective [?b?d??kt?v] adj
1. (Philosophy) existing independently of perception or an individual’s conceptions are there objective moral values?
2. undistorted by emotion or personal bias
3. of or relating to actual and external phenomena as opposed to thoughts, feelings, etc.
SUBJECTIVE: subjective [s?b?d??kt?v] adjNotice, it is subjects who know, so the bridge between the mentality of the subject and the objectivity of what is known is warrant. Warrant that creates the status of beliefs that are credibly true and well warranted.
1. belonging to, proceeding from, or relating to the mind of the thinking subject and not the nature of the object being considered
2. of, relating to, or emanating from a person’s emotions, prejudices, etc. subjective views
3. relating to the inherent nature of a person or thing; essential
4. (Philosophy) existing only as perceived and not as a thing in itself
It should be patent that the vote of 51% or more generally of three wolves and two sheep on what is for lunch, is not sufficient to provide warrant that would lead to the conclusion that the result of a vote is warranted as true, rather than reflective of the agendas and desires of a given cluster of subjects at a given time on a particular topic.
This in turn may well simply be the result of the sort of manipulations and distortions that led to the famous incident of sailing out from Fair Havens when that sweet south wind blew, in Acts 27. For here we have a case where prudent counsels based on the warrant of wide and painful experience (three shipwrecks to that date) were brushed aside in light of the smooth words of an interested ship’s owner and his kubernete, playing on the discomfort of the general lot of passengers and suppressing the pivotal issue of the risks that were being run.
In a storm and heading to be aground at Malta . . .
I fear, this is all too relevant to where our civilisation as a whole now is, and so also to where all too many of its governments, dominant media houses, opinion leaders, countries and communities are at this time.This was followed by a multi-sided exchange of comments, and I clipped and commented this morning, as follows:
In short some very serious issues are at stake behind the smooth curtains and group-s of talking heads spouting well crafted, focus group tested media spin-based talking points that so often pass for both news and views or even political deliberation on matters of importance today.
My fear is that we are about to end up -- if we are lucky -- caught in a storm and then hitting on the rocks like Paul's ship in Acts 27. If we are not lucky, our fate may be far more bloodily costly than merely losing ship, cargo and possessions in a shipwreck.
So, that is why I am calling for a very, very serious and sober reconsideration of what is going on as we so glibly talk and echo the talking points about rights, freedoms, equality, prosperity, peace, sustainability etc etc and democratic decision-making in our region and wider civilisation today.
I fear, our civilisation is at Fair havens, and the money interests, technical experts who know who pays for their bread and butter, academics and so forth are busily spinning away, and in many cases will not hesitate a moment if they think they can get away with a big lie tactic, as Hitler so often resorted to.
Let me quote him (via the excellent site, Jewish Virtual Library) on a subject where he is a genuine expert, as the ghosts of sixty million victims of his demonic madness -- and, though it is extremely politically incorrect to day such, I mean that quite literally (too many could not discern such an evil spirit until it was too late!!!!) -- can testify:
. . . in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes. [Mein Kampf, p. 134]Of course, he compounded the effect of this declaration by twisting it about and casting it in the face of his intended targets, the Jews, as a turnabout false accusation tied to polarising stereotyping, namecalling and scapegoating:
From time immemorial, however, the Jews have known better than any others how falsehood and calumny can be exploited. Is not their very existence founded on one great lie, namely, that they are a religious community, where as in reality they are a race? And what a race! One of the greatest thinkers that mankind has produced has branded the Jews for all time with a statement which is profoundly and exactly true. Schopenhauer called the Jew "The Great Master of Lies". Those who do not realize the truth of that statement, or do not wish to believe it, will never be able to lend a hand in helping Truth to prevail.
Sadly, the warning on turnabout, polarising false accusations, scapegoating and so on are again all to relevant, and the pattern of hostility to Jews is again on the table.
That, however, is not our main point.
What we must soberly consider, is where we are and what we face now as a civilisation.
Frankly, in some regards, maybe Fair havens is not the right point to pick up the story of Acts 27. In too many cases we have already set sail, beguiled by those who tickled our itching ears with what we want to hear, and we are sailing along in the smug, euphoric confidence of that sweet south wind that seems to be oh so favourable.
Whatever could go wrong? It's smooth sailing, never mind those fuddy duddies and nay sayers.
Just wait till we round the cape.
Then, we will be learning what he following warning from the prince of prophets means:
Isa 5:18 Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
who draw sin as with cart ropes,
19 who say: “Let him be quick,
let him speed his work
that we may see it;
let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near,
and let it come, that we may know it!”
20 Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!
22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of his right!
24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root will be as rottenness,
and their blossom go up like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. [ESV]
We are playing with fire, and frankly, too often the pulpits of our churches and the voices on our Christian radio and magazine shows are utterly irrelevant, bereft of sound intellectual and prophetic cultural leadership.
Do we not understand that if we allow people to be so deceived that they cannot or will not hear the voice of the Living God, that is to their peril?
Do we not understand that we need to provide a reasonable alternative, in intelligible terms, in sufficient good time that when we have to stand up as good men and women in the storms to come, we will be heard?
Is that not exactly what Paul laid out before us as an example in Acts 27?
And, is that not the exact contrast he lays out in Eph 4:
Eph 4:9 (In saying, “He ascended”, what does it mean but that he [Jesus] had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?[a] 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[b] and teachers,[c] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,[d] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practise every kind of impurity.
20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[e] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. [ESV]
If this is anything, it is a call to prophetic intellectual and cultural leadership that under Christ, opens the door to reformation and to transformation of life and community through repentance and trust in Christ.
How can we do any less in a day like ours?
So, yet again: why not now? Why not here? why not us? END