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.
Consider the Evidence
The four gospels all say Jesus rose from the dead. They give us almost excessive details. Setting aside the biblical reports of the resurrection for the sake of scrutiny, we still have to make sense of the other solid facts: a) Jesus's body disappeared and has never been recovered; b) The Roman guards would not have allowed his body to be stolen, and all the authorities wanted him dead and gone for good. c) The disciples had no faith that he would rise from the dead, and they had no reason to even try to steal a dead man's body in light of who they had expected him to be—an invincible Messianic deliverer, who had failed. Now, it is an historical fact that the disciples later believed that Jesus had risen. Is there a reasonable explanation for this?
Yes, there is. Consider the evidence.
Who were the responsible parties for the mock trial and condemnation of Jesus?
by Nathan McLatcher, Junior at UM Dearborn
In Jesus’s crucifixion, there is more than enough blame to go around. The Jewish religious leaders plotted against Jesus, seeing him as a heretic and a threat to their power. Pilate believed Jesus was innocent yet had him crucified in a cowardly effort to retain his grip on power. But there’s still blame left to share. When the Jewish crowd accepts condemnation for Jesus’ death, they place the blame on not just themselves, but on all humanity. The various actors in the trial serve not just as characters in a supernatural drama, but as archetypes, showing us the various ways in which the world is blind to Jesus’ message. These include the Romans, the Jews, and everybody.
How and Where it Shows up in Philosophy, Culture and Religion
by Scott Cherry—
Society craves icons, or heroes. And why is that? Russell Brand can mock this craving all he wants, but I doubt he is above it. Could it be that we actually need great people and exemplars in the world? Could it be that a kind of hero-recognition code has been ‘pre-installed’ into our collective psyche that even spawns some of them? I mean, not that it would be unjustified—there are an awful lot of disturbing maladies and crises in the world. Who does not (openly or secretly) yearn for a Superman or a Wonder Woman, or a whole team of heroes like the Avengers? And isn’t that why the Marvel Avengers series and other superhero movies have been so wildly successful and seem never to stop being popular? The glaring thing, of course, is that the world’s problems are too big and too numerous even for them. We are desperate for great Humanitarians and lots of ordinary ones too. We rightly crave them and we should all want to become one. Humanity is in no position to disparage people who want to do great good for the world and have the means to do it. On the other hand, an actualized “messiah complex’ can produce a dangerous kind of person if not tempered by love, humility, and compassion, etc. Not everybody is qualified to be a “messiah”. Actually very few.