By Steve Layman,
The Seattle Pacific University junior-level Common Curriculum course "Belief, Morality and the Modern Mind" (University Core 3000) deals with challenging questions for the Christian faith that arise from science and modern philosophy. For example:
To help us tackle these questions, University Core 3000 instructors selected three texts as required reading for all SPU juniors taking the Common Curriculum. They are:
Each of these books provides an insightful discussion of some of the questions listed above. Reason for the Hope Within is one of the finest recent contributions to Christian apologetics (the branch of Christian thought that provides an intellectual defense of the faith). The Battle of Beginnings is a carefully researched discussion of the creation-evolution debate. But here I particularly want to explain how The Abolition of Man fits into the course as a whole.
In the contemporary intellectual climate, we naturally tend to think in terms of the following contrasting pairs:
The tendency to place morality and religion on the right-hand side of the above list is no small matter. It is a fundamental feature of the current philosophical atmosphere, part of the intellectual "air" that we all breathe. Probably we have all been in a discussion of a religious or moral issue that ended with someone saying (in effect), "Look, there are no facts in this area, no scientific evidence is available. You feel one way; I feel another. And that's all there is to it. There is no objective truth about religion and morality."
The Abolition of Man provides an insightful discussion of certain contemporary assumptions about morality, including the assumption that morality is just a matter of subjective feeling. The book is a profound reflection on the foundations of morality from a Christian point of view, and as such it not only merits inclusion in the SPU Canon, but is also a must-read book for every thoughtful Christian.