John Locke's vs. Thomas Hobbes' Liberty
by Christian Ledford—
John Locke’s 1689 Second Treatise on Civil Government is, without a doubt, one of the most fundamental and foundational texts of the Enlightenment. Not only did the work of Locke directly inspire the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution, but Lockean Classical Liberalism has laid the foundation of modern day political movements such as American conservatism and rightwing libertarianism. Locke, in writing his Second Treatise, took Hobbesian philosophy on natural rights and extrapolated and elaborated upon it to produce a definition of natural rights that was in direct alignment with both capitalist social mechanics as well as Christian ethics. Rather than endorsing Hobbesian philosophy that argued for an idea of rights where the only rights an individual possessed were those they could personally grasp and defend on pure, brute strength alone (up to and including the very property and lives of other individuals), Locke distilled the idea of natural rights into a consistent, universal standard in which each individual, on pure basis of humanity alone and regardless of any natural strength, possessed inalienable rights: life, liberty, and property.
John Locke vs. Thomas Hobbes
by Christian Ledford—
In the coming decades natural rights may be more vulnerable to subversion and violation than they have ever been. It is of the utmost importance that we return to the ideals of Lockean Liberalism and the Christian origins of natural rights. ...Individuals across the globe must rise up and declare that their rights come not from constitutions, not from politicians, not from laws, and not from the state, but instead as a universal and inalienable endowment from their creator: God.
*This piece is both timely and fitting for the current political climate. It is an excerpt from a longer speech that Christian wrote for last spring's Locke and Lewis / Faith and Reason speech contest at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He delivered this speech from the university's film studio on March 18, the first week after it had been shut down due to the Coronavirus. It won first place. The full video recording of the speech can be viewed in YouTube here: https://youtu.be/glhYFz7nxmc. Christian Ledford is a recent political-science graduate of the university (2019) who aspires to a profession in law.
**The Editor has divided this piece into three parts beginning with the final two paragraphs.
Why would an all-good and all-powerful God allow a pandemic?
by John Shaheen—
John is a junior at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. He especially loves philosophy and biology.
Fear is aroused, panic abounds, medical supplies dwindle, and the economy suffers… where is God? Why would he let the people that he loves suffer? Within months, the Coronavirus has rapidly spread throughout the world. What seemed like alarmism now seems like inadequate preparation. Surely, the question on the minds of many is why would God allow this? Where is the God of infinite and perfect love and mercy?
In response to the logical problem of evil, many solutions have been offered, the most famous being the Free will Defense. Perhaps evil and suffering are a consequence of allowing free beings to exist. The objection soon arose, what about natural evil? How are floods, diseases, earthquakes, etc. the result of free beings? Alvin Plantinga suggested that perhaps these disasters are the result of the free actions of supernatural beings such as angels or demons. Though this is definitely a solution that makes natural evil logically compatible with a perfect and powerful God, it still feels unsatisfactory. Why did God give these beings this kind of power? He could have easily restricted their power without limiting their free will. They can only cause this kind of havoc if God allows them. God is still the ultimate authority and power in this paradigm. Furthermore, in an age of scientific knowledge of the causes of natural disasters, this solution may seem unsatisfactory to the naturalist.
What It Is and Why Christians Believe It
by Justin Oswalt–
The Doctrine of the Trinity is a vitally important doctrine of the Christian faith because this doctrine explains in essence who God is and what His nature is like. It is part of what distinguishes Christianity from all other religions, especially other Monotheistic faiths. In examining who God is, and to explain the Trinity, we must go to the Bible to present the case for this belief. The Doctrine of the Trinity can be seen in the Old Testament, but can most fully be understand in the revelation of the New Testament scriptures. It can be broken down in the following premises:
1. There is only one God.
2. God has revealed himself as three distinct persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit within the Godhead (Trinity).
3. Each person of the Godhead (Trinity) is fully God, co-equal and co-eternal in essence.
My studies have led me to the revelation that the statement ‘Jesus is Lord’ is not merely a propositional truth that needs to be apprehended for salvation. But that "Jesus is Lord" is a mission statement.......
Is Christian social activism biblical? This debate is often at the forefront of the Church when societal ills or political propositions arise. We are confronted with the proverbial fork in the road: Should we do or say something? . . . Should we stand by in silence because we would sacrifice our Christian witness to align ourselves with the causes of the world? My hope is to offer some perspective that might help resolve this conundrum, or at the very least, provide some food for thought.
Part of the challenge lies in our theological framework. Things such as our views on the effects of sin can greatly influence how we look at problems in this world. For example, sin causes brokenness and depraved behavior. Therefore, some suggest what logically follows is that sin is a problem that will remain until God makes all things new. So as Christians we shouldn’t involve ourselves in temporal resolutions. Rather, we should preach that we all need Christ and that is how you deal with the problems of sin. Others argue that God has left us here as his representatives to be His salt and light. Through this representation (as salt and light) God draws people and they become part of the Church or a Christian. Which view is correct? My belief is that the latter is the more correct of the two. So let me share with you some of the reasons for this conviction.