The Substance of Consciousness
May 23, 2023
December 21, 2011
In part one of my assessment of Doing the Right Thing, I discussed the quality and benefits of this DVD series. In this post, I want to say something about how one may wish to use this series.
Anyone who wants to become a more discerning person, whose life attempts to integrate with moral reality, should receive this series with eagerness to learn. It can be a helpful springboard for engaging both the relevant, introductory literature on the topic and for considering how to even begin to think about this topic in a personally, enriching manner. Perhaps one could utilize Doing the Right Thing as a basis for one’s own curriculum and syllabi in this area.
Classroom (upper-division high school and college)
For “public” (pluralistic) learning environments, I did not find this series to be “preachy,” overtly religious or inhospitable to differing perspectives. A triumphalist tone does not reign in the series. Moreover, when Christianity is mentioned, it is done so in a manner consistent with what it is; a publicly testable knowledge tradition that has data to be considered and a perspective to be weighed like any tradition of knowledge.
To be sure, the series has a perspective, as it should, and it is (rightly so) consistently opposed to moral relativism. But I didn’t get the impression that the series would be inhospitable in a “public” learning environment. If anything, a teacher (Christian or otherwise) could use it as a bona fide representation of how a broadly theistic worldview might reason about truth, knowledge of it, and how to live integratively in its reality.
Instructors in private school settings should seriously consider adopting this DVD series, in whole or in part, for any of the following sorts of classes
For college classroom settings, I could envision the series useful (in whole or in part) for these classes:
In these learning environments, one could use any parts of the series as a discussion prompt, a replacement for an introductory lecture on a topic, an opportunity to represent and disagree with a natural moral law perspective.
Small Group Laity and Pastoral Leadership Formation
This DVD series should be utilized for any leadership formation needs in a local church if such leaders are supposed to be public influencers in their community. If Christian leaders are to help other disciples of Jesus become effectual in their witness in the world (wherever they are doing good for others), this series can help to empower Christian public witness of moral and spiritual reality. Without such training, most talk, appeal, and even affirmation of moral and spiritual reality could end up being not much more than appeals to scriptural proof-texts or “Christianized talk.”
The series offers resources for talking, reasoning and knowing about moral reality in a winsome way. A local church could offer this series as a whole-day seminar, perhaps even open to the general public, along with opportunity for Q&A with pastors and any Christian professors in the area.
Professional enrichment training
Professionals – whether they are in law, business, politics, finance, etc – who want to grow in a moral vision and life should welcome this series as a source of encouragement. Perhaps parachurch organizations focused on ministering to a particular type of professional might find this series useful for offering a primer on ethical decision-making, for example.
In a 2011 interview with ethicist Mike Austin, I mentioned to him that we need a “translation revolution” in Christian philosophy, where content producers offer work that has an “ear” to the academic discussion but seeks to stand in, and communicate to, the general public. Such a “translation” endeavor needs both scholar and practitioner influencers (e.g., pastors). Ethics, as an area of philosophy and theology, is a prime area poised for leadership in this “translation” endeavor. Doing the Right Thing is a helpful model for what can be done.
Doing the Right Thing is a joint project between the Colson Center for Christian Worldview (Lansdowne, VA) and The Witherspoon Institute (Princeton, NJ). It was also made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
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