We take a look at another case study of consequentialism in the Bible - the Apostle Peter. I argue that Peter was not at all a coward, but was rather a human with an agenda who became disillusioned when God's way didn't align with his own.
By this point, inconsequentialism should seem to be the clearly correct position for Christians to hold. However, it may seem a bit overwhelming. What hope or joy is there in pursuing such a difficult ethic? The hearers of Christ's words in Matthew 5-7, as Jesus said "be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect," likely felt the same way. In this episode I look at how inconsequentialism provides us with more hope than its alternative. And as the nail in the coffin to consequentialism, I discuss how it is only on an inconsequentialist ethic that altruism as we know it can exist.
We recap the heart of the consequentialist ethic and look at how consequentialism impacts the issue of nonviolence.
I discuss a number of ways in which I believe the consequentialist ethic plays out in the real world. One of the prime examples I discuss is why we not only see so many sex scandals inside the church, but why those scandals are so often able to exist for an extended period of time and involve a number of godly people who try to keep them under the rug. When we perceive that God's reputation as more important than repentance, accountability, and resolving injustice - then we have gone seriously wrong in our understanding of what it is that brings glory to God's name and upholds his reputation. But this is exactly what consequentialism does, as it causes people to rationalize terrible actions which they believe to be works for God.
The final claim often levied at inconsequentialists is that their position is passive. If you don't lie to save lives or if you abstain from voting because all candidates are compromised, then you fail to act in the world in any meaningful sense. Although we discussed this quite a bit in our first season, we'll address this concept again very briefly and look at how being faithful and seeking holiness is not disengaging from the world.
One accusation levied against inconsequentialism is that it fails to pursue the good. If we don't lie to save lives and if we won't kill an embryo to save a mother, then our allowance to save a life which is within our power is a failure to do good. This episode responds to that accusation.
While many view inconsequentialism as pharisaical, some attack it from the opposite angle and say that it produces impossible expectations. Who has any hope if perfect holiness is what is required of us? In this episode I look at the Christian's call in light of our Savior's work, discussing how grace is central in spurring us on towards becoming more and more conformed to the image of the perfect Christ. I also provide what I think is one of the most beautiful exchanges regarding this idea, as we look at an excerpt of the unbeliever, Trypho, discussing his perception of Christians in his dialogue with Justin Martyr.
Since inconsequentialism focuses on uncompromising holiness, one of the first accusations levied against it is that it is pharisaical. In this episode I explore what being pharisaical actually is. We discover that the heart of the law is often harder than pharisaical morality, that to be lovingly incarnate, holiness must be maintained, and we find that it is the consequentialist position which most embraces pharisaicalism in their willingness to sacrifice others, namely their enemies.
I finally come back to the issue which started this whole journey for me - the issue of voting for a morally compromised candidate and/or platform. Here I look at the Bible's expectations for personal character, character of leaders (including leaders in the church), and the expectations for political/national leaders. I also take a look at how Israel compares to the church in theocratic terms. It is a jam-packed episode and there was quite a bit I wasn't able to explain in full. Hopefully this is able to spark good discussion.
This episode looks at how our political idolatry has caused us to remove a vital moral option from our repertoire - abstention in voting. We explore how abstention compares to the biblical call of justice in our lives, as well as looking at how abstention can actually shape the social and political landscape.
Is it wrong to tell a little white lie in order to save an oppressed minority you're harboring in order to avoid genocide? Such a claim seems unreasonable and unlovingly rigid. In this episode we look at the ramifications of accepting lying as a moral option.
We return to the conundrum that started it all for me - the M.A.S.H. baby. We take a look at the morality of taking a life in order to save other lives.
We take all we've discussed in the previous eight episodes and begin to look at specific moral conundrums. We specifically begin with ectopic pregnancies, since for pro-life, conservative Christians, the morality of this issue is very settled and clear for most. That makes uncovering inconsistencies in the generally accepted morality here an easy entry point.
I take a look at how consequentialism affected the way I loved.
I take a look at the third area in which consequentialism impacted my life - in my generosity.
I continue to look at how consequentialism has affected my life by looking at how it shaped my view of forgiveness. I look at some issues consequentialists tend to have with forgiveness and how that compares to what the Bible says.
The next four episodes deal with how God has uncovered the problems of consequentialism in my own life. The first area I want to explore is how consequentialism undermined the grace I showed (or failed to show) others, and my own view of the grace I needed myself.