Re: morality

Erik J Anderson (
Tue, 16 Jul 1996 11:13:41 -0300 (ADT)

On Tue, 16 Jul 1996, Paul Arveson wrote:

> Note the implication of this: that if we are believers, we have no right
> to dictate ethics to anyone who is not a believer. Even regarding views
> about marriage, children etc. No matter how heinous the crime, in this
> view we can expect no moral responsibility on the part of unbelievers.
> Cast in this light, I'm sure anyone can see that this view is invalid.

I agree with you Paul, but there is an extent to which the behavior of
those around us does begin to have an adverse impact on us. I'm not
totally comfortable using gay-marriage as an example, but take say drugs.
We could say that Christians shouldn't resist the use of drugs by
non-Christians. The problem is the effect of this on society results in a
backlash that we become stung by as well. It may also be looked at as a
way of loving our neighbor to put the destructiveness of drugs out of
their reach.

I encountered the same kind of situation when a group of my friends were
arguing about free speech and "neo-nazi hate pages" on the WEB. The
community cannot be looked upon as a non-interacting group of individuals.
There needs to be a way for human beings in community to assure that one
group's claim to rights does not abuse those of others. So though I don't
propose to have an answer to these issues, I do feel that it is not enough
to say we let the "Gentiles" do as they please and concern ourselves with
ourselves. In certain cases I think it is a very good principle, in
others it must be used with caution.

But as I said, I agree with Paul in this, that very often Christians place
their scruples upon the people around them before those people have
shifted their own assumptions, for example when people use the argument
"because the Bible says it," to someone who doesn't think the Bible is
true. I'm not sure that this is going on in these discussions, but if
there are traces of it we should take Paul's comments to heart.

Erik J Anderson
St. Francis Xavier University
Nova Scotia