Query:

What do you think of the Catholic movement called integralism?

 

Reply:

You won’t like this, because if you frame the question that way, I can’t answer it.

 

Query:

Currently, I am preaching through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.  I find myself at the tail end of the “household code” in chapters 5 and 6, which teaches the duties of husbands and wives, children and parents, and slaves and masters.  I have arrived at slaves and masters.

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According to the so-called harm principle, most actions that cause no harm to others should be permitted by law.  This may be true, if we don’t take it as a definition of morality.  But even if it is only about the law, it settles fewer questions than one might think.

 

Query:

Some time ago, I debated my brother on the issue of reason.  He argued that reason is not important.  All that matters is that I do the things that I like and that I get good results, no matter the method.  How do I even engage with people who deny the point of reason?

 

For an old style car, first you refine hydrocarbons – say, oil.  Then you transport the resulting gasoline into the car’s fuel tank.  Then you burn it to make the car go.

 

In the name of mercy, some recent theologians have suggested that there are elements of good in some objectively wrong acts and relationships.  For example, friendship is good, and there certainly is an element of friendship in an illicit sexual relationship.

Or for that matter in the collusion of two thieves in a theft.  Funny that we don’t apply the argument to theft.

 

Now and then I realize how much of my writing results from trying to make up for having answered someone’s good question badly.

 

When people say that the standard of virtue is declining, it is considered shrewd and knowing to reply “Every age thinks it was better in the old days.”

 

(To the tune of “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” here sung by Fats Waller.

I'm gonna sit right down and write a good objection

And then show why it can't be true

I’m gonna fill it up with smarts