Monday, July 16, 2007

Man's Beastliness

Man without God is a beast, and never more beastly
than when he is most intelligent about his beastliness.

--Whittaker Chambers--

In yesterday's message I talked about the extreme and extremely influential views of Peter Singer. Brothers and sisters, I think we've got a moral responsibility to know what this guy is up to since the New Yorker has called him "the most influential philosopher alive." So here's an acticle from World Magazine. . .

Peter Singer

And an assignment . . . after reading the article, comment on which of Singer's extreme views is most troubling to you and why.


Jacquelyn said...

O.k. here's my book report:

I was very horrified by the "philosophy" (philosophy: lit. lover of wisom) of Mr Singer Were it not for grace I would have just as much freedom as Mr. Singer, - freedom to be enslaved to whatever perversity I desire as is depicted in Romans 1

It seems as if the only thing he learned by being a child of a holocaust survivor is that the very young, very old, sick, weak and imperfect in our society are worthless members of it. It also looks as if Mr. S. thinks that law serves only a utilitarian function and religion serves only a physchological function. His utter lack of morals, ethics and restraint are precisely what Francis Shaeffer predicted in his book "The God who is There" and "He is there and is not Silent".

Mr. S's world is a world without God, his standards, his structure and his laws and one in which only the truely intelligent can achieve this ideal.
I Corinthians 1:18-31
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. 26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

Eric said...

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Psalm 139:13

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Mr. Singer's philosophy should come as no shock to any of us. Once a person denies the fundamental truths asserted by our very Declaration of Independence, not to mention the very Word of God, the views held by Mr. Singer become logically possible. His positions on animal rights, abortion, infanticide and euthenasia are all logical extensions from this basic view. According to Wikipedia (yes I know, not a primary source), Mr Singer holds that, "abortion terminates an existence that has no intrinsic value (as opposed to the value it might have in virtue of being valued by the parents or others)."

In reality there can be only two positions: 1) We are created by God and have been assigned intrinsic value by Him and thus human life is inherently valuable above the rest of creation, 2) #1 is not true and thus we have no intrinsic value, nor does anything else except that which we assign it by some arbitrary process.

People obviously hold views which are somewhere between these two but they are all illogical and must tend toward one or the other and will depend on where they start with the basic view of life.

Therefore, our goal must be to point people towards the Creator and to the life giving gospel of Jesus Christ. If they are not headed towards Him, they are most assuredly heading towards the radical views of Mr. Singer.

Brianna Heldt said...

I think I first read about Peter Singer in Randy Alcorn's "Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Questions" (or someting like that.) Pretty yucky.

I'm most appalled by his view towards the weak in our society, namely young children or those with disabilities. Unfortunately some of his beliefs are held by a lot of people, though in more subtle ways, which is maybe more insidious. I think adoption (and seeing Africa) has really driven home the idea that ALL life is precious--no matter how destitute, ill, desperate or cast-aside.

When I read something like this, I'm challenged to examine my own views towards children--do I see them as a blessing or an inconvenience for example, and to figure out more ways to affirm the sanctity of ALL life.

Lisa Lewis said...

The view of Mr. Singer that troubles me most is his evident belief that there are no moral limits in any society that need to be ascribed to for society to succeed. His obvious moral relativism has such sweeping implications on so many layers of our society and unfortunately, we as Christians don't often see these with clarity. Our difficulty lies with not having a clear view of the end result of this line of thinking. For example, believers who are not clear about what Scripture teaches regarding the value of human life run the risk of ascribing to the commonly accepted view of abortion on demand or that the more needy (disabled, aging, etc.) in society have less or no value and therefore can be justified in the further separation and eventual "removal" from our midst.
Ironically, Mr. Singer's Jewish grandmother's grief and rage over the unjust destruction of human life influenced his beliefs in such a way to cause him to align himself more with the monstrosity of the values of the Third Reich, rather than that of a "free man".
We need to be thinking people; not so self consumed or busy that we do not take at least a remote interest into how our "cultural leaders" are influencing the students who are preparing to take our place as leaders and decision makers.
Christians need to be involved in these discussions; prepare yourself.

Jeannett Gibson said...

The thing that disturbs me most is not necessarily Mr. Singer's views...although they are heinous...but the very fact that other people are hailing him a "philosopher" and that he is establishing a name for himself and gaining some kind of credibility. People throughout history have had awful viewpoints, but in most cases are labeled crazy or disregarded by the general public. The fact that mainstream media outlets and academic professionals are even giving this guy the time of day is the scariest part of all. My heart aches for Mr. Singer. What a sad and exhausting way to live your life. I loved Lisa's comment that he has actually aligned himself with the Nazi's which is the irony of the whole thing...

Anyway, Henry is calling...

Kristen Borland said...

That is so scarey. I freely admit that I often live in a bubble, and things like this make it burst. It is hard for me to remember there are people like this in this world. He is trying so hard to ignore God. He is quite intelligent, so he's burying himself in that. The most troubling thing is that his calm, matter-of-fact way of communicating will draw (and has drawn) so many people in. Because he can talk circles around Average Joe Christian, he will confuse and blind people to the truth. He has one foot in hell and is trying to drag everyone else in with him. I feel sorry for him. He's trying to find hope in this world by developing his own moral code. I wish there was a way for only God's word and God's light to shine in this world, so that no one would be confused by false teachers such as Singer. But it isn't that way, and only God knows why.

How do we fight this? Let us embrace the "feeble" of this world--the disabled and meek, the poor, the elderly--and stand up and shout, "Even the least of these is valuable to me!"

Lisa Leonard said...

his beliefs are just really wacky--and very disturbing. Guess he doesn't really buy them himself, since he cares for his aging mother who has alzheimers.