Sunday, December 09, 2012

Christmas 2012: Integrity

London-trekearth

London-trekearth

































Christmas posts have done fairly well relatively speaking, pageview wise on this blog and therefore I can reasonably conclude that my readers are receiving benefit from the Christmas posts and also the related New Year's Eve and New Year's articles as well. I reason I can write this article with a level of integrity and not simply as a pageview grab.

Blackburn philosophizes that integrity is most simply 'a synonym for honesty'. Blackburn (1996: 195). But the philosophical concept of integrity is often connected with more complex notions of a human harmony with self, and this very self would be compromised by doing certain things. Blackburn (1996: 195). The implication being that self would be compromised by committing acts/actions that would lack honesty and not be of integrity.

After church Sunday, I sat with Mr. Matt and the choir, having lunch. Now I would never be caught alive or dead in the choir, but I was nice enough to assist Mr. Matt, even though it was not my scheduled turn with church clean-up, and so I had a very small lunch with Mr. Matt and some ladies and at the time assisted bringing dishes, trays and coffee (a proof we are not Latter-Day Saints) related pots and cups downstairs and helped load the dishwasher after assisting with the rinse in the sink.

At the lunch table, in the Christmas spirit we were discussing issues such as divorce, dating, evangelism to non-believers and in general living as a Christian. My thought as a Christian theologian and philosopher was that everyone in the Church, as noted previously on my blogs, as a sinner fails to have perfect integrity in the Gospel, because even though the believer is regenerated as in born again (John 3) and chosen for salvation (Ephesians 1, Romans 8), each believer still has the sinful nature described in Romans 1-6. So when certain non-believers or certain fellow Christians label Christians as hypocrites, it is as one who violates his or her own principles, ethics, morals. There is at times truth with these labels,

The Sunday sermon was focusing on 'election' and was basically in agreement with the compatibilism expressed in my MPhil and PhD theses.

I reason as Calvin expressed the idea in 'Bondage and Liberation of the Will' that the regenerated person was one freed to worship the Biblical God in a way that the lost, unregenerate person could not. Calvin (1543)(1996: 115).

Feinberg expressed similar concepts in his work but more also from a philosophical perspective as well, as did I.

The point being that even though those in the Church are 'chosen'/'elected' and it is first a move by God implied by God moving someone to be 'born again', as Calvin noted, there is a sense of the will being freed upon regeneration to do the will of God, in Christ.

The example of divorce arose at lunch. I do not claim that relationship experience, but have studied related concepts for hours online psychologically from secular perspectives and theologically, Biblically and philosophically academically. If the Scripture only allows for divorce in the cases of divorce (Matthew 19, I Corinthians 7) then as the one young woman in particular agreed with me today, the way to avoid divorce is to approach marriage with the attitude that divorce is a non-option. Of course this requires a suitable partner to start with... I refuse to write relationship posts anymore and I was in fact invited by a secular relationship professional, now Facebook friend that was so impressed by my work to start a Christian site dedicated to such, but I declined as I have enough to do online already, and desire no more. But in light of Jesus warning on the subject in Matthew 5 (see the Dr. RNM blog) and Paul with I Corinthians 7 (see Dr. RNM blog)  it is common sense I reason most people reading this struggle with this general area, including me.

A key seems to be reconsidering perspectives again and again and again by the Holy Spirit's guidance within Scripture.

Not to be following set worldly patterns. Or bad patterns within the Church for the matter.

On Sunday we discussed evangelism and how sometimes persons in 'cults' were more friendly than Christians. Mr. Matt correctly stated that Christians should not always be 'nice' because the Gospel is true and offends, implying for example, hell is not nice. True enough, but one of my faults as an introvert that is becoming slightly more extroverted over the years is that I am not the most smiley person, or the first person to shake hands etc.. But on the other hand, I am never afraid or ashamed to share the Gospel, the Bible, Christian theology and philosophy in public and private.

I will not win awards for overt friendliness, but at least I cannot be blamed for hurting the Gospel by being mean-spirited and by being unwilling in a friendly manner in public and private, as I do on these blogs, to discuss Christian theology and philosophy.

These are examples in my mind for a Christian to have integrity with a Christmas type spirit year round.

BLACKBURN, SIMON (1996) Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

CALVIN, JOHN (1543)(1996) The Bondage and Liberation of the Will, Translated by G.I. Davies, Grand Rapids, Baker Book House.

Bad Christmas Gift-The Guardian
Bad Christmas Gift-The Guardian
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