Tuesday, July 24, 2012

my article on Legislating Morality in Christian Research Journal

I was honored to have a point-counterpoint with Frank Turek on "legislating morality" as the lead article in the most recent issue of the Christian Research Journal

My half of the contribution was an excerpt of my book, Turn Neither to the Right nor to the Left-- a biblical and practical critique of both the Religious Right and the Religious Left. (A far shorter, peer-reviewed journal version of the book is available in Markets & Morality.)

I don't think I moved Frank at all. In fact, he seemed unable to move beyond strawmen. Most notably, he continues to repeat the error that if one is not "legislating morality" in the way that he prefers, then you "abandon the culture...sit idly by", suffer from apathy, and leaving the realm of law and politics to atheists. Of course, that's not what I advocate in my writings at all. He critiques my use of legislating morality against others vs. legislating justice for others. But surely, that's where the distinction, more or less, takes us. And again, not making any distinction here makes things far worse. Finally, he rejects the idea of "opportunity costs"-- that doing X with one's resources necessarily means that one will not be doing Y. Apparently, he's mastered omnipresence or failed to master the first few concepts in Econ101.

The only other disappointment is that the subtitle of his book with Norm Geisler did not make it into the articles:
"Is It Wise? Is It Legal? Is It Possible?" What's missing (especially for a Geisler book)?! "Is It Biblical?"! Ultimately, that's the problem with their effort-- and his essay in CRJ. It's focus is on what's possible and what's legal, far moreso than what's biblical and practically helpful for the Kingdom.

And ultimately, that's the problem with most Christian (and secular) involvement with politics. The philosophy and political prescriptions are generally incoherent, because people rarely apply an ethical framework and considered the practical outworkings of their policy proposals.


At August 15, 2012 at 7:41 AM , Blogger Luke said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your article in the Christian Research Journal. I'm glad I found your blog. Personally, as a Christian libertarian, I find it disconcerting that so many Christians seek to force "Christian" views via politics rather than changing the culture by being salt and light. I look forward to reading more of your work. I'm glad I found you! :)

At August 15, 2012 at 8:28 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Thanks for your encouraging words. It's the first feedback I've received. (I thought I might get a deluge or at least a trickle of comments, but perhaps their readership is smaller than I thought or what I said is largely taken for granted.)

At April 25, 2013 at 10:18 AM , Blogger albina N muro said...

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