Human beings: Self-creators, self-shapers, or determined?

Unknown-3The culture war rages over the nature of human persons. Questions concerning when a fetus becomes a person, when or whether a computer can attain something like consciousness, or the nature of human marriage and family daily make headlines. In this post, I want to consider, in broad outline, three views about human nature, argue for one of the three, and consider the implications of that view.[1]

The Singularity Movement, Screwtape, and the Hope of Immortality

Unknown-4The February 2011 cover of Time Magazine pictures a human head connected to a metal cable. “2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal*,” reads the caption. The asterisk directs the reader’s eye to this caption: “*If you believe humans and machines will become one. Welcome to the Singularity Movement.” The hope for immortality is nothing new. The belief however that science will usher in such a reality is unique to the modern age. It is the myth of progress run amok. The idea that there is no upper bound to human achievement smacks of human pride and arrogance. [1]

What Is This Thinking Thing That I Am? Four Questions

images-2In searching for a foundation from which to secure knowledge, the Enlightenment thinker Rene Descartes stumbled onto what he took to be a belief that is undeniable: “I think, therefore I am.” That I exist as the thinking thing I am is as foundational (and obvious) a truth as any. Still, one wonders, what is this thinking thing that I am? In teaching on the nature of man, I’ve found it helpful to keep the following four questions, as Descartes might put it, “clear and distinct.”

The Kissing Argument Against Belief in the Soul

images-2Modern man only believes in things he can see or touch. Unshackled from religion, we are free to embrace the deliverances of science as the whole truth about reality. There are none but physical entities and none but physical causes. The world has been emptied of the divine and the immaterial. In this cultural context, it is unsurprising that many think there are no good reasons to believe in the soul. What is surprising is that a growing number of Christians also deny the reality of the soul.

Politics, Hatred, and Leeches

images-1You might hear around our house: “Monkey see, Monkey do.” So often children learn by watching. If I burp at the dinner table, our nine-year old, without missing a beat, summons a guttural barrage of belches. As he grins from ear to ear, is hard for the rest of us (my wife excluded) to keep from laughing. This reinforces his conviction that burping at the dinner table is acceptable. The point generalizes. What is modeled in the home, the athletic fields, and in the public square finds expression and embodiment in a watching generation of young men and women.