Like any other ideology-based group or community, Christian communities – churches and even entire denominations – have their own hortatory idioms, their own shibboleths, often drawn from the biblical text itself. One of the biggies for me, growing up as a fundamentalist Baptist, was “Saved by grace through faith,” right out of Ephesians 2:8-9. As a Catholic, I remember being admonished to “Follow your [i.e., my] vocation [or sometimes ‘calling’]”. As a non-fundamentalist but still conservative evangelical Christian, I well remember assurances that “God has a wonderful plan for your [my] life” (usually those exact words). Now, just so there is no misunderstanding, most of the time, these exhortations are just harmless rhetoric. (Usually … there are exceptions, e.g., the “Follow
Yeah … I guess I must … anyway … as I have said before, when I was taking both secular philosophy (ethics at a secular university) and moral theology (at a Jesuit school, Seattle University), I was taught, in different ways and in different dialects, that Knowledge plus Power equals Responsibility. I.e., if I know that a given situation is morally wrong and if I have the power to effect change, then I am morally responsible for acting so as to alter the situation and right the wrong. And, moreover, the degree of responsibility varies directly with the scope of my knowledge and my power to effect that change. E.g., there is not much I can do to alleviate the plight of Syrian refugees. Maybe all I can do is to give money. But I am obligated to do at least that much. Given how wides
Now that Christmas is over -- unless you celebrate Christmas from the first Sunday of Advent through and including the Feast of the Epiphany -- it might be a good time to examine the political and ideological questions raised by Christmas carols ... which I do in this week's "Skeptic's Collection" column in hopes of increasing the "woke-ness" level for Christmas of 2019. No reason to thank me ...
Recently, the cultural outrage factory, never short of work, has managed to evoke a sense of high dudgeon about the allegedly sexist lyrics, amounting to an advocacy of date rape, attaching to the well-known Christmas carol “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. Before following the controversy on Facebook, I would have thought that this kerfuffle