Western Culture Articles

A Review of After Virtue by Alasdair MacIntyre

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

In his seminal work After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre argues that our Western society has lost the conceptual context for and foundation within which moral language makes sense. In the premodern world moral judgments were understood as governed by impersonal standards justified by a shared conception of human good. That context was lost in the Enlightenment when Aristotelian Scholasticism and Christian theology were discarded and, with them, the idea of teleology. After teleology was discarded, several conceptual systems attempted to provide a new account of morality which would maintain the status, authority, and justification of moral rules.


What Did the Early Christians Think About Abortion?

By Randy Ellis

Randy Ellis earned his Bachelor of Religious Education from Baptist Bible College in Clark Summit, Pennsylvania. He originally wrote this paper in 2000 while attending Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. Randy was born and raised on Long Island and currently resides in Tega Cay, South Carolina, with his wife Christine. He has three daughters and two grandsons.

Introduction

On January 22, 1997, the 24th anniversary of the U. S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, American Vice President Al Gore gave a speech in Chicago, Illinois, to the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL).


If Life Ends at Death, Then Eat, Drink, and Be Merry, for Tomorrow We Die

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

The book of Ecclesiastes is notoriously difficult to interpret. In this article I share my best attempt at understanding and explaining what this book is about. Many have argued that the main message of Ecclesiastes is that we shouldn’t look for meaning and purpose in this world or in this mortal life. While that might be a valid application of the truths found in Ecclesiastes, I don’t think that is its primary message. It seems to me that the main purpose of Ecclesiastes is to teach the following conditional: If life ends at death, then life, and the toil of this life, is vanity because it’s fleeting, futile, meaningless, and absurd.


When the Machines Take Over… Or Have They Already?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

People have been intimidated by machines for a long time. It’s hard to say when this first began, but it definitely was ramped up during the industrial revolution when machines were taking over more and more jobs. It’s easy to understand why people felt intimidated; machines were superior to humans in certain respects – they were stronger, faster, and more reliable. Computers have only exacerbated this anxiety because now machines can be smarter than humans in certain ways – they can remember more and compute faster. This was strikingly driven home in 1997 when IBM’s computer “Deep Blue” beat World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov.


Created to Know: The Epistemologies of Michael Polanyi and Francis Schaeffer

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

During the mid to latter part of the twentieth century, thinkers from various disciplines spoke out against the epistemological conclusions of Modernism. Some of them thought that the modern view of human knowledge had been a major impetus behind the carnage of World War I, World War II, fascism, and communism. One such thinker, Michael Polanyi (1891-1976), a world-renowned physical chemist, recognized that this incomplete understanding of knowledge had become especially prevalent in the scientific community. He turned to the study of philosophy in order to explore how these ideas came about and to propose a much needed course correction.