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Day’s Verse:
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
1 Cor 5:20
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This is going to bother some people, but I would like to take this chance to explicitly state where I fall on a variety of controversial issues (in alphabetical order). I have talked about some or all of these in the past, but I have thought more about most of them since I originally wrote. These are issues I have specifically thought about and feel somewhat qualified to form an opinion on, based on personal reading, classes I took, or other sources that provide me with evidence to support my statements here.

  • Abortion: Aside from the one special case of the baby endangering its mother’s life (which virtually everybody agrees is a circumstance where abortion is OK), I think abortion is wrong. I have thought about the case where a woman has been raped; although this seems harsh, I still think she should carry the baby to term and give it up for adoption when it’s born. A child shouldn’t have to die because of its father’s evil. Generally I fall on this one towards valuing life at almost any cost, including discomfort and unhappiness for a brief while to the mother.
  • Alternative Power: Related to Global Warming, but this particular issue has so many sub-issues that it gets its own category. A caveat is that many of the sources listed below (nuclear, for instance, and even coal) could, given the appropriate technology, prove low-pollution enough that they are viable. Politics does get in the way of the exploration/development of these technologies, so I base my opinions on what we have right now. There are lots of alternative power sources to the fossil fuels we burn now:
    • Wood – Not a bad idea, actually, since trees are a renewable resource. But we’d have to (a) regulate tree-cutting strictly and (b) find a way to reduce the pollution associated with burning wood.
    • Hydroelectric – Involves destroying ecosystems by damming rivers, so although it doesn’t pollute, it causes other ecological damage that I can’t condone.
    • Wind – I most strongly support this. Maybe turbines aren’t beautiful, but they work great, and no — they don’t kill large numbers of birds.
    • Tidal – When we get the technology up and running effectively, harnessing the up-and-down motion of waves, and the in-and-out movement of tides, could work very well. It’s a matter of getting the technology designed and in place.
    • Geothermal – I support this one absolutely, but unfortunately it’s only available in a few unique places in the world.
    • Biomass – A great solution, using rotting materials (especially animal crap) to create energy. Especially good in Third World countries, but it also doesn’t produce enough energy to, say, power a city.
    • Solar – Too expensive to promote at this point, I’d also like to know how environmentally damaging the solar cell production is before actually supporting this fully.
    • Nuclear – I flip-flop on this one, but ultimately concerns about the final resting place of nuclear waste makes me fall on the No side of that. The idea of producing waste that will last millions of years, probably outlasting our society, terrifies me.
  • Cloning: SCNT, where the nucleus from one adult cell is implanted into the an unfertilized egg and the resulting cell can develop into almost any other cell type, is fine. Research should proceed in that direction. Cloning of human beings by any process is absolutely wrong. Cloning embryonic stem cells is also wrong, mainly because of the slippery-slope issue of defining where personhood begins. Using embryonic stem cells or cloning from embryos is wrong EXCEPT where those embryos resulted from IVF. Millions of potential babies produced from IVF, currently frozen as microscopic blastocysts, will be discarded; I see nothing wrong with using those embryos as starting points for cloned cells as well. (Just gonna die soon anyway.)
  • Evolution: I will put this as simply as I can: Evolution happens, both on the macro and the micro scale. The earth is 4.5 billion years old, and life began 4 billion years ago with single-celled organisms that, through a process of natural selection that slowly changed a population’s genetic makeup, evolved into human beings. The vast weight of scientific observation supports these statements, and denying them because of faith is wrong. I see no difficulty in reconsiling my Christianity with this viewpoint, because God is outside of time and totally unlimited in His actions. He has the absolute ability to create us in His image, not physically but spiritually, regardless of whether primates were our ancestors or not. Additionally, science makes observations in the physical realm, while theology and faith operate in the spiritual realm. Causing one to infringe on the other is also wrong. I will, I think, write much more extensively on this based on my recent reading of The Language of God.
  • Gay Marriage: God designed marriage as a reflection of His relationship with the church. Sadly, the church constantly break this ideal relationship, “cheating” on God with money, human relationships, a busy lifestyle, and a plethora of other God-replacing idols. In the same way, 50% of the people who undertake marriage break it. Although marriage between two men or two women is non-ideal, I cannot deny same-sex couples who want to marry: Those who stay together are, in a sense, reflecting the relationship between God and the church too. Yes, it’s sinful to be gay, but is it any more sinful than committing adultery or lusting after someone not your spouse? I don’t think so; there are no gradiations in sin.
  • Global Warming: In my view, and the view of the vast majority of scientists around the world, global warming should not even make it onto the list of controverial issues to discuss. Human beings clearly cause global warming by the release of CO2, CH4, and other greenhouse gasses. If we do not take immediate drastic action to change the way we live, I also believe that the reprecussions on our children, grandchildren, and all generations to come will be staggering and (currently) unimaginable.
  • Iraq War: At this point, is there any redeeming the situation? Before the war started, I opposed it, and I still maintain that position now. It was wrong for us to get involved, and much evidence points towards our involvement stemming from the absolute wrong reasons (no, they had no WMDs, and we even knew it then; no, attacking did not reduce the terrorist threat and has not made our country any safer). I would like to see the US pull out as soon as possible, but not in an precipitous way. With the level of involvement we have undertaken, I suppose I have to advocate an immediate but responsi
    ble withdrawal.

Closing comments:
1. If I have missed some issue you think I should have addressed, comment it and I will address it if I have an opinion.
2. If you want an elaboration or evidence to support the above claims, let me know and I will expand my discussion. Generally I tried to keep these short (as they go), to touch on many issues rather than delving into one very deeply.
3. If you disagree with me, and I feel confident many of you will disagree on at least one thing, please tell me why (details are good). I respect evidence and willingly consider other viewpoints that can provide strong evidence to support those beliefs.

6 thoughts on “Where I Fall: Concise Opinions on Almost Everything

  1. Alternative Power — Nuclear

    The sad thing about nuclear is that although building new power plants in the US has stopped, research on better ways to build them has continued, to the point where power plants could be built within 20 years that produce almost no waste AND do not create byproducts that could produce weapons-grade materials. There was a good article about this a couple of months ago in Scientific American. It seems likely the politics will never allow new nuke plants, but the technology is there.

  2. I’ve always respected your intelligence and ability to look at faith as something integrable with reality, instead of faith as in a longstanding fight with reality that must be fought to the death.

    If you and I disagree on anything, it’s probably what constitutes threatening a mother’s life (I consider the burden of 20 years’ obligation or the trauma of giving up a child for adoption a distinct threat, especially for a 16 year old), and with your mention of gays as sinful. But that’s okay. I’d still probably vote you into office.

  3. My opinions are somewhat different from yours on a couple of those issues, but I think it is great that you took the time to think things through. However, there is one thing that bothers me: How could you list all the important issues in alphabetical order and only stop at the letter “I”? Surely you can think of some issues beginning with the letters J – Z…

  4. Congratulations on taking a position that will make both liberals and conservatives both want to physically assault you, but don’t worry; if your position *doesn’t* have that effect, you’re doing something wrong (Luke 6:22). I agree with your positions, although I have different opinions about what is the most important.

    However, I can’t fail to point out that you spelled “reconcile” and “gases” wrong.

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