ARS and the San Diego Church of Christ put on a conference in San Diego on Ethics and Christianity. Here are the audio and some power points and notes. Christianity and Politics Audio Intolerance of Tolerance Audio The Intolerance of Tolerance PPT Moral Question of Abortion Audio The Moral Question of Abortion PPT Same Sex Attraction & Transgender Audio Christianity and Race Audio Christianity and Race PPT Bioethics Audio Bioethics PPT Bioethics Notes Ethics Forum
Ethics and Christianity Conference
The San Diego Church of Christ sponsored a one-day mini-conference titled Ethics and Christianity in San Diego Sept. 30, 2017. The conference was well attended, with about 250 participants. The event raised questions that we, as believers in Christ, do not normally discuss in church settings, and rarely hear about in sermons or midweek lessons, yet these things definitely impact our lives. They also affect our ability to reach out to the lost in our communities.
Topics covered include a class by Robert Carrillo on Christianity and politics. This is clearly a touchy subject. Robert was himself deeply immersed in political issues as a Chicano leader during his college days. He challenged us that we need to be aware that there is a rather large range of political views in our fellowship. In its essence, politics are a “weapon of the world.” The most important thing for us to do is to assiduously avoid using the opportunity to express our political opinions in a way which will be a stumbling block for the family of God.
This was followed by a class by Dan Conder on the limits of Christian tolerance. Tolerance, generally, is a virtue, but many present tolerance as an end, in and of itself. Would we “tolerate” a rapist entering our house? Probably not. Dan concluded that there must be a balance and there are beliefs and practices that we will not tolerate in Jesus’ church. This TED-style talk was followed up by a very thought-provoking speech about the morality of abortion from Kedron Jones. Kedron asked a simple question. Is the unborn human? If so, is there any reason to take its life? The simple answer is no. Kedron showed the unreasonableness of pro-abortion arguments in the clearest terms, to the point that even we believers were made perhaps just a bit uncomfortable. But then again, this conference was not necessarily designed to leave us in a comfortable position.
The next talk was perhaps the most emotional and compelling of the day. It was from Morgan Roberts and Brandon Redler on the issues which come with those who are same-sex attracted or who are trans-gender. They began by addressing the biblical questions, but then shared their personal testimonies. There was hardly a dry eye in the building. We were challenged to show compassion, not to judge, to respect those outside the church who have not embraced the Christian ethic, and to provide a safe place for people with these backgrounds to embrace God’s will for their lives.
In the afternoon we had two classes. The first was from Jaz Vick, who is a campus minister in Atlanta. He addressed the question of Christianity and race. He called us to face the fact that there are cultural differences in our societies and that those not in the position of power in out societies are often left in a place of disadvantage even within our churches. The discussion period for this class raised some difficult issues, as some felt to even discuss the politics of race and power in the church can be divisive, but others finally felt empowered to express their feelings in a safe environment. All were challenged to consider the point of view of others.
The last talk was by me (John Oakes) on Christianity and Bioethics. Science is beginning to open up frontiers which we may not choose to cross over. Should we pursue research into genetic modifications of human beings, external brain stimulation, cloning and stem cell research? This brings up some gray-areas, but the proposal was that those technologies which can relieve unneeded pain and can increase the quality of human live without artificially extending “normal” human capabilities should be embraced. These are things that Jesus himself did in his ministry, but he never used his supernatural powers to go around the natural human limits in his own life.
Audio and power points for all of the lessons are available at www.evidenceforchristianity and will eventually be at www.sdcoc.com Thanks to those who helped with the event, including Jan Oakes, Evan Grimes and Russel Riggs.