Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Somebody help me out here: How does a Kantian, deontological-type ethicist justify inflicting pain for medical purposes? Giving an injection, for example? And how is this different from the scenarios where he has to choose whether to trade 1 life for 100 lives?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

What's new

Before I begin my next bit of armchair theology, I suppose I ought to provide a few updates, just so there's not a lot of discontinuity between this year's post and last year's post.

First, I'm slowly working my way through Rene Girard for Dummies by S. Mark Heim, a fascinating book that is probably better known by the title Saved from Sacrifice: A Theology of the Cross. Heim begins with some of the things that start to disturb us when our liberal humanist sensibilities collide with the biblical text: things like the conquest of Canaan, and the book of Job, and the binding of Isaac.

One particularly disturbing doctrine highlighted by Heim is the doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement: the idea that while all humans deserve the wrath of God, Jesus saves us from that wrath by invoking the rules of the old sacrificial system, offering himself in our place as a perfect sacrifice to appease God's thirst for justice. Heim presents Girard's thought as a sort of antidote to PSA, a different way of understanding both the Bible and the saving power of the cross.

In the next few posts, I'll pick out some interesting bits of this book and share them with you. But you'll have to be patient ... like I said, I'm moving rather slowly, because I now have not just one, but two, count them, TWO children living at my house!

In addition to the time and attention required by a new daughter, I'm also spending some extra time taking care of her mother, because for some reason -- maybe she thinks it's funny -- she just keeps trying to die on us. Yes, she's home now, and doing very well, but to be perfectly honest, I wish she would QUIT SCARING ME, thank you very much.

Also, on a totally unrelated note, I hate doctors.

So next time, we'll have big fun talking about Heim, and we'll all learn why I'm right about God and Scoots is wrong. Until then ...