Jerry Sandusky and Ultimate Right and Wrong

The Penn State scandal culminating in the conviction of Jerry Sandusky on 45 counts of sexual abuse last month was a truly horrible story. However, I think that some good may have come out of it; namely, the Sandusky case has brought some important moral questions to the fore of our national consciousness. Last month, for example, Dr. Benjamin Wilker published an article in the Catholic Report with a provocative title: Why is Jerry Sandusky Guilty?

The article opens with this:

There is no doubt that Jerry Sandusky is guilty, the real question is why? Why is it that we, here and now, would send a man to prison for molesting boys? Why is the public reaction one of both deep disgust and quite visceral anger? Just canvass a few opinions about what people would like to be done to punish Sandusky if they were the judge.

But why? What is the cause of this deep disgust? This seething anger?

Why indeed. I would agree with just about everyone that what he did was sick and despicable. But why does it anger us so?

Wilker chalks it up to one thing: Christianity. He notes that in the ancient Greco-Roman world, homosexual relations between an older man and a boy (between 12 and 17) were completely acceptable. This was the age range that Sandusky happened to target. In other words, if Sandusky had done what he did 2000 years ago, no one would have thought much of it and we wouldn’t have found him guilty of anything. The rise of Christianity, with its Judeo-Christian sexual ethics, according to Wilker, was the main thing that ended up instilling a new morality so that most of us now view such acts with disgust.

I think he has a point, but the historical impact of Christianity isn’t what I want to address right now. Regardless of what you make of Wilker’s argument, it highlights one simple thing about morality that I think people tend to overlook when they make their own moral judgments: moral norms change across eras and civilizations. Continue reading →

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A Pair of Unrelated Q&As

A little flair of my personal interests today.

One, I’ve shared my love for AMC’s The Walking Dead. Here’s an interview with the editor of the series. He talks about what it takes to make “exploding zombie heads emotional.”

Two, ultimate Frisbee is my favorite sport to play, hands down. So here’s a basic Q&A about the great game of ultimate with Kevil Seiler. Yes, I know we ultimate players are a little strange, but we’re still awesome.

Welcome to the Blog

Welcome to ACwords! This is my second attempt at blogging. My first try had its highs and lows, but mostly lows. I never achieved much of a readership besides a handful of friends and family members. I posted inconsistently and, last summer, decided to completely abandoned the whole thing.

So here’s the goal this time around. I want to post my own original content at least once by the Sunday of every week. I think that’s reasonable: one post a week that I write myself. I will also occasionally post links that catch my eye, maybe offer a bit of commentary on things, etc. Substantial posts of my own work will center on personal philosophical/theological musings, art analysis and criticism like film and music reviews, political commentary, criticism of news coverage, perhaps the occasional poem or short story, and whatever else inspires me.

This blog will not be another one of those public diaries where I post things like insignificant personal ramblings or pictures of me and friends. Hopefully, it will be a place for intelligent commentary and conversation. After a few months, I want this to have developed into something that I can use for my portfolio.

I also plan to repost some of my work on the (hopefully) rare week that I can’t get something of my own up. I wrote a few decent pieces at my old blog as well a some things for school that may end up resurfacing here.

It will probably help you to get an idea of where I’m coming from personally. I’m a Christian, sometimes a bitter, confused and cynical one, but a Christian nonetheless. I struggle with my faith, I have doubts, and I make lots and lots of mistakes. My core beliefs are rooted in the Bible. I’ve been influence quite a bit by people like C.S. Lewis, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, Timothy Keller, and Albert Mohler (among others). But I also want to be a writer and a thinker in the public square. I’d like to be a journalist, teacher, and perhaps even screenwriter eventually. My concern in this regard is with the truth and understanding how the world works. I believe I can bring all subjects under the Lordship of Christ without necessarily bringing in the Bible or any explicit mention of God.

Understand, though, that all that “religious” stuff will come up eventually because I care more what God thinks of my writing than anyone else. I just don’t want to be that one-sided, fundamentalist Christian metaphorically beating people over the head with a “Jesus brick.”