Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lying- because God told us not to...

Is it okay to lie? Philosophers have different views about this. Some, like Immanuel Kant, believe that it is intrinsically wrong to lie. Others, like John Stuart Mill, believe that lying can be justified by the good consequences it could bring.

According to deontological ethics (Kant), lying would violate a duty we uphold by being human. To be morally correct and truthful to oneself and others. The "duty" is to consider the facts. Looking at the consequences that it may bring is not an option. Even if the lie we tell could harm someone, it would be morally incorrect not to.

Now, utilitarianism (Mill), is the opposite. This ethical view wants the consequences to be throughly thought about. If something grand is going to occur, then the lie may be worth something. When I say grand, I don't mean for the person who is telling the lie. I am not saying go ahead and lie your way around and and up getting a pony. What this means is that the lie is justifiable if it can alter or impact (or save) a persons life in a positive way.

Never lying, or only lying to save a person from death would be a difficult task for many. Little lies are told daily. Is teaching your child to believe in Santa Clause a lie? What about the Easter Bunny? Tooth Fairy? "Does this dress make me look fat...?" What would you say?

So...Who is right? As a Christian, I should know wrong from right. But do I? I have heard many stories where someone does an unmoral act because God told them to do so. Would they have done this unmoral act otherwise? Who knows.

THINKING God told us to do something doesn't ALWAYS justify doing it...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Internet& Ethics...

Last week sometime the assignment in my Phil& Ethics class was to listen to a podcast on NRP. This specific podcast was about a high school administrator looking through facebook and stumbling across some picture of his students (athletes) at a party. The athletes had signed an agreement that if they were to be caught at a party were there was drinking then there would be serious consequences.

After listening to the podcast we were to write a response giving our own moral and ethical views on the topic of internet privacy. To explain what we thought the administration should have done. And to talk about whether or not there was something ethically wrong about schools looking on facebook.

These are my thoughts...

Facebook is not only for high school students. It was originally created for college students, as a way to stay in touch with their friends from back home. It slowly began expanding into high schools and even into middle schools. Now, just as many adults have facebooks as students do. Anyone can choose to have a profile and ask to become friends with who ever they would like to. Also, anyone has the ability to deny a friend request or even completely block a user. A student could put their profile on private so only friends can see it.

Unfortunately, sometimes things get seen by the wrong people. I have the perfect example of this. I have hosted over a dozen parties at my house. None of these parties had any alcohol or drugs at them; I would never be able to do that to my mother. My Halloween party that I had my junior year got a little crazy. There were about twenty to thirty of my friends there. We were all in costumes, so more then the normal amounts of pictures were taken. Like me, all of my friends are loud, and obnoxious, and somehow this always shows in pictures. One of the teachers at my school got a hold of these pictures by using her daughter’s facebook. This teacher assumed that there was alcohol at my house so she was going to report all of the kids in the pictures to administration. It all got sorted out soon after that and everything turned out fine.

I don’t think that it was right for the administration to suspend the athletes for being at a party just based on pictures. Just like what happened with my party, no one really knows what is going on unless the person was there to witness it. Even though there was drinking going on at this party there was no evidence that they were drinking.

With facebook becoming larger and larger, I wish that students would understand that nothing is really private. There are ways to hide things, but not everything. I am friends with my boss, my minister, and with many of my high school teachers on facebook. I know that they can see anything that I post, because of this I am conscientious of what I put online.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Perceptions and exceptions...

To be perfectly honest, my perceptions of college were crazy frat parties and staying up all night drinking. But those weren’t at all my perceptions of the school I knew I was going to. Coming here I knew I wouldn’t be getting the typical college experience that I thought I would be. Or the college experiences all my friends from home are telling me stories about already. I knew that I was coming to a school where I would be surrounded by people who can inspire others, and who can be inspired by the Lord.

College is going to be hard. Especially for someone like me, who procrastinates more then she gets her work done early. Someone who watched ten out of the thirteen-hour marathon of NCIS today (I had three hours of class). However, so far, I think I am doing pretty well. I love all of my classes and I am having fun with the assignments. I enjoy reading and writing about my faith and the journey I am embarking on.

I love my friends, and I truly miss them. I will never be able to have the type a relationships I have with my friends from home with anyone from this school. I realized that before I decided to come to this school. But I can say this much, I wasn’t expecting to be able to become so close with so many of the girls on my floor as fast as I did. Actually, I wasn’t expecting it at all. I didn’t think they would like or be able to handle my sarcasm, but trust me, they through it right back at me. I was also I little afraid that I would be far too eccentric for anyone who wasn’t used to me to be able to handle. I was wrong there too. I wont go as far as saying they are crazier then I am, but I will say they are darn close.


I wrote a devotional today. For those who aren't aware, a devotional can be considered a really really mini sermon. Taking a verse or two from the Bible, and relating it to everyday life. I used one of my favorite verses...

For my First Year Sem class, each student has to give a devotional at least once. I volunteered to go first in my class. It was either because I was really excited to write it, or because I wanted to get it over with. I am still not sure...

I chose Galatians 5:14 because of how many "neighbors" we as college students now have...

It reads, “The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself”

We all come from different sized families, some from a family of 11, some from a family of 2. But we are all new to the college experience. Some of us are getting to knowing what its like to live, and share a room with another person for the first time. We are all getting used to this person and hopefully all getting a long. And the thing is, that it’s not just that one person we are getting used to, but a whole group of people, those people that live on your floor and down the hall. They are you neighbors. And they might, if they haven’t already, become like your family. Putting a large group of people together can sometimes end poorly. The chance of everyone liking everyone is slim. What this passage teaches me is to be kind and courteous to all and to show them the love and respect of hope to get in return.

Love your neighbor as yourself… Or my translation…love your floor mates as yourself…

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My First Thoughts...

First year seminar is one of the GED courses that freshmen are required to take at my school. Our first assignment was to write a journal entry that described our best experience at school so far. I didn't have an experience that triumphed over others, so I wrote about the most recent moment that truly meant something to me.

I don’t have an outstanding best moment here at school, at least not yet. There are a few smaller things that do come to my mind. One of them occurred just a few hours ago. The girls on my floor noticed that I dyed my hair yesterday. They most likely noticed this because I made the entire hallway smell like a chem. lab. Needing a quick trip to Wal-Mart I asked two of my floor mates to come along for the ride. While we were there they bought hair dye, and asked me if I would dye their hair for them. I was pleased to hear them ask that because it not only made me feel needed, but wanted. And up until that point I didn’t feel like I was fitting in. On our drive back to school, acting completely like my normal self, one of the two girls said to me “Megan, you are the coolest person I know. You are just so crazy all the time. I love it.” No one has really said that to me before. I know I am who I am, and I would always be myself. Even if someone were to come along and tell me the complete opposite than this girl did. But it just truly feels nice to get a complement like that. That is why I came to a Christian school.

In the reader (our class book) it tells me that this is the time for me to go out and meet the world. I am not to carry God around like a “security blanket”, to only drag around when I need it. God is with me all the time. He led me on my journey to college, and he will stay by my side no matter what I am going through. Even though I have hair dying parties instead of working on homework assignments and readings, I am still walking humbly with my God.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Lesson in Lying.

An assignment we had this week was to listen to a NPR podcast about lying to a dementia pacient. The question was being asked about whether or not it was ethically wrong to lie. In this certain case the lie would calm the patient down. On the other hand, the truth would cause him to freak out and cause harm to not only himself but also the workers tying to strain him.

My professor asked the class what we thought, whether it unethical to lie to the patient. And to write about lies that we have told that we thought were ethical. Here is what I said...

From a young age children are taught that it is wrong to lie. Certain things in life come with exceptions; lying is one of those things. I believe in what Randy Cohen has said, that how when the lie benefits the other person then it can be justified. I have never lied to a person with Alzheimer’s, but I have lied to my Mother and Grandmother on several occasions. Both of who are strong and healthy women. In a way, one could say that I am their greatest weakness. I say this because I know that I make them worry. I have had my drivers’ license for two years now but my grandmother is still scared to death anytime she knows I am behind the wheel. To ad to her stress I just recently got my motorcycle license. Whenever I am talking to her and she knows I am heading out to go somewhere she always asks weather I am taking my bike or my car. As far as she knows, I have yet to ride my motorcycle. I frequently lie to my grandmother when I am leaving town for the weekend with my friends. I find no need for her to know where I am if it doesn’t concern her, and there is absolutely no need to worry her more. A more recent example of a lie I have told was when I was talking on the phone with my mother today. She helped me move in and I had lofted my bed (really high). I could tell she was concerned about the bed falling, or me falling off the bed. My mother called this afternoon to check on how my second day of classes went. I decided that this would be the perfect time to tell her that she was right, I didn’t like my bed lofted, and that I had lowered it. Well, no, actually, I didn’t lower it. My bed is still extremely high off the ground but there was absolutely no reason for my mother to worry. To me, these lies are justifiable considering the fact that I am relieving the stress of worrying to my family. An unjustifiable lie would be anything that benefits the person that is doing the lying. I have told many lies in my childhood, and now, that are unjustifiable. That doesn’t mean that I wont teach my future children not to lie. All this means that everyone eventually learns that sometimes, you have to.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

So I Thought That Summer Reading Assignments Ended With High School....

I was wrong! Has anyone read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis? If so... let me know what you thought. I read it this summer (because I had to) while I was on a mission trip in Ecuador. I am not sure if it was because I had nothing better to do, but I really enjoyed reading it.

This is what I thought. At least, these are the answers to the questions my school asked me.

What does the “mere” in Mere Christianity mean? What does Lewis mean when he says we live in the rooms, not the hallways?

The word “mere” has many different definitions. The way that I interpreted it was as “pure”. I believe that is how C.S. Lewis wanted his readers to interpret it as well. Christianity is pure, genuine and real. And I think that is what Lewis wanted us to get out of his book. It could also be said that the “mere” in Mere Christianity could mean absolute. Lewis said, “We live in rooms, not hallways”, what he meant by this was that the hallways are the places in our lives that lead us home. The rooms are where we live and where we found Jesus Christ. We live with Jesus.

Lewis is writing an apologia (or a defense- apologetics is a defense of the faith). How does this apologia compare to others you may have read, or other apologist you have heard in a lecture, sermon, or Christian radio program?

C.S. Lewis’s way of writing is nothing like what I am used to reading. This has been one of the first books I have ever read that truly altered my views so drastically. I believe a reason for this is where I decided to read the book. For the past three years, I have been traveling to Ecuador with my church for 2 weeks of the summer. Each summer I bring a book or two with me so I have a place to escape to after a long days work of building houses and using my broken Spanish to ask for water. This summer my book of choice (assignment) was obviously Mere Christianity. Reading it in the barrio of Guasmo Sur gave me a greater sense of the book then it would have anywhere else. I took what Lewis was saying and put it into the lives of the people I was living with in Ecuador. I realize that I didn’t exactly answer the question the way I was asked to, but because that was the first apologia I can remember experiencing, I guess that is the best I can do.

What is the law of human nature and how does it point to theism?

The law of human nature is determining right from wrong, or wrong from right. However, in order to do that a person must know what wrong is so they can do right, or the person must know what right is to do wrong. What isn’t asked is this, who is there to tell the person that right is right and wrong is wrong? This points to theism because nothing is ever set in stone. A person needs to be able to have his or her own opinions, believes, and thoughts. And also be able to understand what is being taught to them.

Its been argued that you can’t prove anything and certainly the very nature of faith is that we trust in something that is “hoped for,” not for something that is a “sure thing” so what is the benefit of reading a book like this? How can it help us in our Christian walk?

One thing that really stood out to me in this book was that C.S. Lewis was once an atheist. Lewis, among with many others, couldn’t wrap around the fact that there are no facts. Luckily, there is a point in most persons lives that they are almost forced to believe. Something will come along and almost alter their way of life. This book has showed me a new way to view faith. And I truly hope it will do the same for my friends that it has done for me. After reading this I recommending it to a few of my friends who are all on the journey of finding their faith. One is an atheist, one a Buddhist, and one a Christian who is trying to become closer to God. I am not in anyway trying to control them; I am just doing all I can to help them find their way. This book can do that.

Name two theological concepts that you understand better having read this book. Explain the new understanding.

There was a chapter in the book titled “Making and Begetting”. I found this chapter extremely interesting. It talked about the differences between making and begetting. I learned that parents beget their children, but God didn’t beget us he made us. God created us in his image. Another concept is fighting temptation. Those who are good are good because they realize what bad is. However, those who are bad hardly know anything about what bad is.

How are Christianity, Judaism, and Islam similar? How are they different than pantheism? Can you think of any movies that espouse a pantheistic worldview?

Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all similar because the all share a same main exponent within there believes: God. They believe that God created the Universe. And in turn, created everything in it. However, the pantheistic worldview is that God did not create the Universe; it is that the Universe is God.

Why does Lewis think it is silly to call Jesus a great human teacher?

C.S. Lewis doesn’t see Jesus as a great moral teacher. Lewis believes that it is a silly thing to call him. The author was right. I believe that those who refer to him as “a great moral teacher” should realize that Jesus is so much more. He is our savior. He came to bring back to us what we had lost and forgotten. Sure, he was a great moral teacher, but he wasn’t the only one. There always has been, and always will be one Jesus Christ.

C.S. Lewis talks about morality, but he had a different piety than many of us. He enjoyed “having a pint” in his favorite pub, smoking a pipe with his friends, and he’s not averse to using bits of coarse language to make his point. How does his piety compare with yours and what can these differences teach us about Christian faith?

First off, I do not think that C.S. Lewis was a pious man at all. I believe he was a wise and thoughtful man who found God and decided to help others to do the same. Just because a person a person drinks, smokes, or uses profane language doesn’t make them worse of a person then someone who doesn’t. They can equally share the same qualities, beliefs and virtues as the non-drinker, the non-smoker, and the non- “coarse language” user. And as far as Lewis’s differences and mine go, I am not sure that we have many. While I was reading this book I continued getting more and more into what he was saying and everything just seemed to click. I agreed with most, almost all of what he wrote. I believe that we share similar qualities and I know that I have an equally foul mouth. This shows me that you don’t need to be perfect to be a Christian because, well, no one is perfect. I know that I am not the person that this school wants me to be. But I am well one the way to being the person God has intended me to be.

This school, from the beginning, has opened its doors to students from all faith backgrounds. If you are one of those persons, how does this assignment relate to your own perspective?

I am Christian. I would love to meet someone from this school who isn’t because I think they are going to have a hard time with it. I know I have only been here for I very short time so far but I am already getting the vibe that this is going to be intense. And that, in a way, is what I am looking for. However, I am positive that if I were a non-Christian I wouldn’t come anywhere near a school like this.

EBQ#1 is a code with some of us at Roberts Wesleyan for the question: “So What?” Ask the question about your experience reading Lewis’s book. How does Lewis speak… to you personally… to your attitudes toward…to your attitudes towards education?

I feel as if C.S. Lewis wrote that book for me. He answered many of the questions that have been buried inside me for so long that I think I even forgot that I wanted to know the answers. I am aware that his book is very opinionated, but so am I. That may be why I enjoyed reading this book. The way he spoke in his writing made it simple for me to understand and it truly sunk in. This book opened a few doors for me and got me ready for what is just under the corner. Not only college, life in general. I cannot wait to continue my readings and studies about not only Christianity, all the world religions.

The immediate relevance of this book (to your major, intended profession, interests, etc.) may not readily apparent. This semester’s book, written by a literature professor, is about theology and you may be a pre-engineering major. Why should this book matter to “the rest of us?” What does this assignment tell you about liberal arts?

I am grateful that this book was chosen for this year’s summer assignment because it does relate to me. Not necessarily directly to my major, but to my future. My faith is important to me, that is why I am at this school. I am eventually going into ministry. It may take a while for me to get there but I am going to take my time. This book should matter to “the rest of us” because it is a book that it there to help people to find their own worldview. And no matter what, Christian or non-Christian, everyone has their own personal worldview.

I handed this assignment in 15 days early...

Starting back up & saying good-bye

I recently remembered that I had this blog. Because I will be doing a lot of writing, searching, and praying during my freshmen year of college I decided that this would be a lovely place to put it all (at least the writings of a religious aspect).

I suppose I will start with this.
You would think that it would be hard on an 18 year old girl to say good-bye to her family, and it was. I am almost 400 miles away from my home, and in a way, it doesn't feel real yet. It almost feels like a vacation with homework and textbooks. I thought that the hardest thing for me to say goodbye to would be all of my friends. And believe me, it wasn't easy, there were laughs and tears. And girls... if you are reading this you know how much I love you.

All I know is that saying good-bye to my church was not supposed to be as hard as it was. Because the Lord follows you wherever you go... right? But there is always going to be something special about that place for me. And it's not just the place, it is about who is in it. The families in that church have been next to me from the start and they have watched me grow (physically & spiritually). To make a long story short; leaving my church family brought more tears to my eyes then to everything else combined. I am going to be going "church-hunting" for the next few sundays...

But nothing will ever compare. Wish me luck.