Consummate Worshipers

For science to become a true object of worship, it must elbow aside the
reassuring and seductively simple belief that “God loves you.” This
deeply personal faith statement would have to be replaced with one that
says something like: “The cosmos worked really long and hard to create
you and you should be really appreciative.””


One of the editors’ choice comments:

Ethics from science

The contention that science provides no compelling source of
ethical directives overlooks the work pioneered by Alexrod on the
Evolution of Cooperation – so eloquently described in the
pages of Scientific American and his book Metamagical
Themas by Douglas Hofstadter. Can the study of simulations
illuminate the overall benefit to societies and individuals of
hypothesized principles of ethics? While the Sims may yet be too
simplistic to provide a meaningful morality – already the behavior
of these automatons interacting with one another raises ethical
questions far more intriguing than the axiomatic systems handed
down from Moses, the Greeks or the Renaissance. It is the
scientific study of evolutionary psychology, still in its infancy,
that promises to (finally!) answer the questions about why we so
often behave immorally. And, consider the fascinating work on the
simple abstract problem of Cake Cutting (aka Fair Division) – an
entire field only a decade old that already has developed
algorithms for envy free dispute resolution. What similar concrete
benefits has theology delivered unto us lately?


The idea of a naturalistic morality is probably the most convincing (probably the only?) alternative I’ve come across so far. Still, as Christians we would state that the only way that humans can “flourish” (the term used in that article) is to live in relationship with God. In other words flourishing is a natural, albeit consequential outcome of abiding in Christ; whereas for naturalistic moralists it is the ultimate end (which is a major assumption).


~ by justinhong on July 31, 2008.

3 Responses to “Consummate Worshipers”

  1. i agree.for one of my friends, the alternative is therefore to turn to amoralism. he likes to insist that he doesn’t believe in right or wrong.i wonder why he lives then. i guess he’s trying to figure that out too? maybe i should talk to him about it again =)

  2. It’s all hot air.Note how he says, “Ethics, as I conceive it….”He’s just given away the whole ballgame. Why should anyone prefer ethics as he conceives it to some other view?Also, the term “flourish” is so vague as to be almost meaningless. Is “flourish” intended to be qualitative or quantitative? If the first, it becomes “what I prefer to think is good”, since there are many ways to flourish in the qualitative sense.If it’s quantitative, then it just becomes survivalism, or as C. S. Lewis so sarcastically put it,On then! Value means survivalValue. If our progenySpreads and spawns and licks each rival,That will prove its deity(Far from pleasant, by our presentStandards though it well may be.)I actually ran across a good answer to the Euthyphro’s dilemma stuff a long time ago, in Jacques Ellul’s book, TO WILL AND TO DO. He says that, yes, goodness is what God wills. But that doesn’t make it arbitrary, since God’s will is loving and creative, desiring our being and the full expression of it.The heart of Christianity is not morality anyway, but relationship. Goodness is an inference from love.

  3. @jesusdontmakerotgut – thanks fred :)yeah i was pondering the whole “is good good in itself or is it only what God says is good” question and i was also thinking that it could be both.and yeah, it seems like eventually an individuals desire to flourish would become contradictory to another’s. or we could imagine a society like that set up in brave new world, where people “flourish” but don’t really live at all.

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