Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Christian Carnival, for March 7th, 2012

[Note: Some stuff had to be rearranged category-wise and I'd missed Dustin White's post from Belzian. There was also some weird stuff with the URLs a couple of links were going to. Apologies on that, all links, quotes and posts are now included under the proper posts and in proper categories, and all the links work. That said...]

Welcome to this week's Christian Carnival, y'all. The Christian Carnival is open to Christians of Protestant, Roman Catholic or Orthodox convictions and hosted by a different blog each week. This week it's the keyboard theologians' turn, so here we go. In a typical host's caveat, my hosting this carnival doesn't automatically mean I endorse everything everyone has to say: Part of the point of the carnival is to be exposed to different points of view, after all. Anyway, have a look around and have fun being informed and challenged.


Carson Weitnauer presents Is Religion Bad for Kids? at Reasons for God.
Richard Dawkins and others claim that religion is bad for kids, even comparing it to child abuse and locking children in dungeons. I look at the evidence and find that these claims are leaps of faith, not supported by the evidence.
Janeva asks, Why Evil? over at In Front of God and Everybody.

General Theology

Carl Ayers gives us Mongergism, Syngerism, and God's Image over at Theological Pursuit.
How does the concept of being created in God's Image affect discussion concerning monergism and synergism? Are we saved or justified on account of faith alone? Is there any sense in which we are saved or justified on account of works? In two posts I seek to lay groundwork to answer that both monergism and synergism have merit.
I ask some sci-fi motivated questions about Prosthetic Bodies and Marriage here at Keyboard Theologians.
I recently re-watched the first season of the sci-fi anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, which raises some interesting issues.

Jennifer Vaughn takes A Look at Spiritual Awareness Month over at à la mode de les Muses.

Russ White gives us Genesis 3: The Consequences of Sin over at Thinking in Christ.
This final separation is separation from our Creator, God. What is the impact of separation from God? Spiritual death. To be spiritually dead is to be in rebellion against that which sustains you, to choose to live while choosing not to connect to the source of all life. It is a desire to be in the power of God while not being in the presence of God.
Over at A Christian Worldview of Fiction, Rebecca LuElla Miller speaks of Pollen.
"Pollen" is an article making an analogy regarding suffering. In particular I looked at James 1:2-3 and 1 Peter 1:6-7.

Over at Adventures of a Girl Who Loves Jesus, Michelle is provoked...
Journey with me to the mission field.
Ridge Burns considers The Ten Commandments over at Ridge's Blog.
I’ve been speaking all week on the Ten Commandments – twelve lectures on the Ten Commandments. Do you know the problem with the Ten Commandments? They’re convicting. They drive you to the person of Christ. They point you there because you realize there’s know what you can live to the standard of the Ten Commandments.
Rob Sisson looks at God's Glorious Provision on InFaith's Mission Blog.
Our God is the God of glorious provision! He provides in the strangest ways, but He always provides.
Dustin White at Belzian explores The Sacrifice of Jesus from a Non-Religious Perspective.
Throughout history, we have seen many great individuals sacrifice themselves in order to promote an idea or message they thought would be for the betterment of humankind. Many of these individuals did make great impacts on the world, which had long lasting impacts. Others simply have been lost to the sands of history. One such sacrifice was that of Jesus. Yet, it is also one largely misunderstood, or even denied by various individuals. With a closer, historical look, we can once again see what his sacrifice was, and whether it still effects the world today.

Jocelin at One Money Design talks about How to Talk to Your Elderly Parents About Their Finances.
Talking to our elderly parents or grandparents about money is not necessarily easy.  It is admitting to ourselves that they are not doing as well as they could and may need some assistance. 
Go to the Christian Carnival blogspot page to submit a post for next week's carnival.

Prosthetic Bodies and Marriage

I recently re-watched the first season of the sci-fi anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. It's an excellent piece of work. While the show is neither Christian nor Catholic, it raises interesting issues for Catholic theology. One such issue concerns prosthetic bodies and marriage.

A number of characters on the show are cyborgs, or humans with fully functioning prosthetic bodies. Most of their humanity, physically speaking, is in the approximate 3% of their brain that is still the original flesh-and-blood they were born with. Everything else is their prosthetic body and brain.

While this technology is far from real-life, very similar technology is likely to develop as the science of engineering artificial human body parts develops.

So the question then becomes whether marriage and the marriage act would be appropriate for persons with prosthetic bodies?

In Catholic ethics, intentional frustration of the procreative faculty of a given act (by artificial contraception, or by other methods) is considered an intrinsic and grave evil.*

Prosthetic bodies, at least as imagined by Ghost in the Shell, are certainly not impotent, as at least a few episodes of the series seem intent on pointing out. But they do seem contraceptive or rather to act as contraceptives, or at least to be sterile or infertile.

Sterility in itself would be no problem for a Catholic couple. But if the prosthetic body itself acts as a sort of contraceptive, this seems to change the game. I suspect for those of us who call ourselves Catholics, the morality of marrying and the marital act where prosthetic bodies are concerned will hinge largely on the question of whether those bodies are considered artificially contraceptive, or merely infertile or sterile.

Perhaps the situation is most analogous to that of women who have had hysterectomies.** In this case the  intent of the procedure in the first place would seem to play a role. If that is the case then erhaps that procedure, not the marital acts following it, would be the act which one could properly call right or wrong or should at least take the primary focus in theological-ethical discussions.


* This doesn't mean all contraception is the worst evil ever (lots of things are grave and intrinsically evil in Catholic tradition), but it does mean that it cannot be considered in Catholic moral tradition to be a "good" thing.

** One might ask why I'm not noting vasectomies here--I considered it, but a good key difference is that as far as I know, while not all men in marital situations are expected to reverse them, vasectomies are not candidates as moral actions in Catholic theology, whereas hysterectomies can be for medical reasons.