Character is Growth

In my view, the goal of growth is character, and in the Platonic sense of forms, but not aligned with Platonic morality, the form of growth is a positive transformation in flux. The reader may inquire what is positive, and this writer would say that doing the right action even if it does not result in the best outcomes is positive in a deontological sense. Therefore, the views of this writer differ from the Greek form of character in that they support deontology, and they are also that of a born again Christian. N.T. Wright shares insights related to the kind of character that Aristotle believed all should aspire to in life in the form of dedicated behavior transformation. N.T. Wright said, “Sooner or later, you’ll be acting naturally. Second nature. That’s how virtue works” (Wright, 2010, pg. 262). Wright argued that the Christian theory of virtue is, to paraphrase, “to be learned” (pg. 223). Moreover, character in the Christian worldview or belief is the development of the God’s royal priesthood, prophet kings rather than Platonic philosopher kings. Wright’s distinction was between the theological view of character that Christians should aspire to and the prior Greek view of repeated cultivation of strengths.

N.T. Wright asserted that character transforms by a process of steps. Wright argued, “First, you have to aim at the right goal. Second, you have to figure out the steps you need to take to get to that goal. Third, those steps have to become habitual, a matter of second nature” (Wright, 2010, p. 29). Therefore, it is the view of this writer that the goal of character transformation is a consistent process of behavior. This is in agreement with Wright’s view on teleos, the goal of humanity in the world after Christ lived on earth.

In my view, the opposition of this position may be that humanity has the autonomy to decide whatever it wants in a Sartrean form of identities, that humanity is simply the result of behaviors. However, this argument excludes the morality of behavior transformation in favor of the concept of free will. Without morality, behavior alteration can be described as a story foregoing structure in that people may behave in life with certain views about humanity and the world, but this view lacks the understanding of human reason as necessary, though not sufficient to be aware of true duty. Andy Crouch shares this position in relation to cultural behaviors. To paraphrase, Crouch stated, “culture is not finally about us, but about God” (Crouch, 2008, p. 13). Therefore, starting with faith will lead to understanding of objective morals in an Anselmian sense.

During the process of leadership, students ought to consider those who came before as stated in the Biblical Scriptures as the Kouzes and Posner model asserts. An anonymous writer wrote, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith” (NIV, Heb: 13:7). Step one of the Kouzes and Posner model consists of “Model the Way” (Kouzes, Posner, 2004, p.38), and my understanding of that begins with the formation of a personal stance that agrees with the shared values of others. In a Christian context, this likely forgoes the corruption of Scripture that those who believe in God should worship other gods, breaking Mosaic law; rather that leaders may share the love of liberty with fellow United States citizens, for example, and can inspire the protection of that very same liberty. While the Christian view is that freedom comes from God, non-Christians can share in the care for liberty in promoting the freedom to have differing views without persecution by the law of the land. As Paul defined, to paraphrase, “for there is no authority except that which God has established” (Rom 13:1). Having that in mind, this writer’s view argues that character relates asymmetrically to the various consistent personal views that an individual person holds. Therefore, who the reader reflects on ultimately describes our own character when views undergo inversion.

While Joseph L. Badaracco Jr. wrote about the flexibility of a personal moral code, he asserted a critical point about receptiveness. The question Badaracco asked was, “Do I Have the Courage to Reconsider?” (Badaracco, 2006, p. 45). By observing Okonkwo, Badaracco defines moral flexibility as the ability to persevere through tumultuous moral dilemmas, reflect on personal failures, respond to ethical surprises, and improve personal conviction. In essence, there may be the thought that it conflicts with the Christian view of the Kouzes and Posner modeling of the way in that Jesus the Christ gave a warning of judgment. The Christ spoke, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Mat 7:1), there may, therefore, be a common view that argues all judgment should cease, but to stop all practice of considering decisions probably contrasts Jesus’ purpose in saying that. A way of interpreting this is that those seeking to learn from others should be willing to allow others to reflect on them correctly. As the Kouzes and Posner model asserts that of the Christian worldview, which considers the Christ as an authority on morality, they probably considered this to a certain extent. Furthermore, Badaracco’s reflection on Okonkwo includes the intention of others reading Badaracco’s views thus he willingly submitted to judgment, himself. Therefore, there should be no tension between the Kouzes and Posner model and Badaracco’s views on moral flexibility.

It follows that there should be flexibility in the reader’s moral code. When speaking of flexibility, this writer views that there should be, in the economic sense, substitutes for consideration with respect to the objective morals of God. For example, when King Solomon heard a dispute between two prostitutes in 1 Kings 3, he considered the substitute for the first female’s argument in the form of the second female’s argument. The lying prostitute had an inflexible moral code in that she willingly accepted the death of her own would-be baby divided by a sword in favor of the argument that she would have any portion of the baby only for herself after demanding to retain a relationship with the baby. This directly contradicts her supposed motherly behavior. Differently, the true mother had a flexible moral code, willing to lose her baby’s guardianship to save her baby’s life. This reflected King Solomon’s true intention thus the mother and baby reunited. In the Biblical context, flexibility in moral code can be the defining trait of a person’s life thus character is a goal in flux.

Bibliography

Badaracco, J. L. (2006). Questions of character: Illuminating the heart of leadership through literature. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Crouch, A. (2008). Culture making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books.

Kouzes, J. M., Posner, B. Z., & Kouzes, J. M. (2004). Christian Reflections on The Leadership Challenge. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wright, N. T. (2010). After you believe: Why Christian Character Matters. New York, NY: HarperOne.

 

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Data Privacy and Protections

For the ongoing discussion of data theory and applications, Science News, an organization that reports research of various subjects, released an article called Theoretical computer science provides answers to data privacy problem. For the purpose of this article, concepts related to the handling of data are discussed, and their applications. Specifically, the purposes that relate data to people are recognizable. Science News (2015) said, “Some data may be trivial, but in many cases, data are deeply personal. They can even influence our insurance premiums or the price we pay for a product online.” An example of a working system model with privacy worked with was reported by Science News as researched by a professor of computer science in Harvard University and former director of the Center of Research on Computation and Society, Salil Vadhan (2015). Described as “differential privacy” (2015), this concept protects data with approximations. With this premise, a series of queries may provide an identifiable pattern; a summation may be reckoned. The calculus of this approximation would then be equivalent to an integral that will produce an exact result. Science News reported that this is defended against by good judgment that would be increasing randomization and taking full care in comparing characteristics across queries (2015). This assessment seems vague because what people view as good judgment depends on initial assumptions about reality.

Although rule utilitarianism, for example, is discussed in contemporary times as a serious ethical concept, there is debate about its efficacy. Bo Brinkman and Alton F. Sanders describe rule utilitarianism. Brinkman and Sanders (2013) said, “In rule utilitarianism, we select a set of rules, and each act is evaluated as to whether it conforms to them” (p. 16). In this case, a rule utilitarian approach might be that the supposedly good judgment of differential privacy is people who may have access will have the keys to accurate information retrieval, and people with incorrect keys will get incorrect values returned to them. In the late 20th century AD, Winslett, et al. (1994) supposed a similar proposal. Winslett et al. (1994) said, “We believe that many of the MLS problems can be resolved by directly addressing the question of what an MLS database means, rather than making syntactic adjustments to avoid semantic problems” (p. 627). This proposal essentially asserted that lying is an effective form of confidentiality for cyber security. Although the supposed truth of relative semantics makes sense for the access key holders for secret information in short term, this causes a failure of integrity. For a historical account, the Apostle Paul discussed the Hebrew Bible. Paul (KJV) said, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Rom 3:10). This was the view before grace.

As Joachim Biskup showed, lying is not the correct approach. Biskup (2000) said, “The initial belief and the first k-1 answers (lies) would reveal the last secret psi_k.” This is a mathematical statement that reflects a Biblical prophecy. The Son of Man (KJV) said, “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Lu 12:3). Therefore, when randomizing data for the purpose of producing lies or untrue information for those who seek unauthorized access to data, I think that more secure concepts require something other than this sort of concept because true information will eventually be revealed, though that may be understood as defense in depth with protections being more understood as unapproachable like the image that a security guard for a crucial represents to attackers, defenders, and other vulnerable groups. Similarly, an available mathematical problem that computers would have difficulty solving would serve as a known defense that would be well defensible in contemporary times.

References

Biskup, J. (2000). For unknown secrecies refusal is better than lying. Data & Knowledge Engineering, 33(1), 1-23. doi:10.1016/S0169-023X(99)00043-9

Brinkman, W. J., & Sanders, A. F. (2013). Ethics in a Computing Culture. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Marianne Winslett, Kenneth Smith, and Xiaolei Qian. 1994. Formal query languages for secure relational databases. ACM Trans. Database Syst. 19, 4 (December 1994), 626-662. DOI=http://0-dx.doi.org.library.regent.edu/10.1145/195664.195675

National Science Foundation. (2015, October 7). Theoretical computer science provides answers to data privacy problem: New tools allow researchers to share and study sensitive data safely by applying ‘differential privacy’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 25, 2016 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151007144933.htm

Excessive Autonomy or Excessive Control in the Digital Age

While reading through Egypt’s national mobile phone ethics code, I noticed some aspects that I think are pernicious. Particularly, the rules number one and fifteen. From ITP.net, “1. The mobile phone technology is considered one of the greatest technologies that emerged in the last few years to serve humanity, so do not ever use it to annoy or tease others” (Sutton 2009) and “Don’t respond to text messages or calls you receive from unknown numbers or sources because most probably they aim to swindle on you” (Sutton 2009). The idea that something as subjective as annoyance could be put an ethics code is potentially paralyzing because the annoyed are not homogeneous. Further, the idea that someone probably has nefarious plans for another because they are calling from an unknown number is self-defeating because it encourages paranoia.

When utilizing a mobile device, I consider its purpose. Today, mobile devices such as smartphones, tablet, and laptops are designed for human requirements. I wonder what those requirements are at the meta level. Jean-Paul Sartre shared his thoughts. Sartre thinking was, “Lived narratives comprise a succession of events and the responses one makes to them, and they are the basis of our identities” (Gillett, 2009, pg. 337). I think that the framework or narrative of the mind of the Messiah should be the basis of a Christian identity.

As Paul said to the Corinthians, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (NIV, 2 Cor 10:5). I think that this is an argument for internal thoughts more than external confrontation because the mind is what Christ sought for humanity rather than our bodies. I think that people should care about why they are utilized so that ideas like Egypt’s aforementioned code, frankly, do not propagate. When seeking safety, people are sometimes willing to give up freedom because the deluge of discomforting information overwhelms. However, I think that excessive control is as unacceptable as Sartrean identities without a true moral standard as God is.

Bibliography

Gillett, G. (2009). Intention, autonomy, and brain events. Bioethics, 23(6), 330-339 10p. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8519.2009.01726.x. Pg. 337.

Sutton, M. (2009, October 31). Egypt introduces mobile phone ethics code – – ITP.net. Retrieved March 30, 2016, from http://www.itp.net/578306-egypt-introduces-mobile-phone-ethics-code/?tab=article

Conceptualizing Worldview and Expressing the Biblical Worldview

Throughout history, various perspectives which could be called worldviews have been formed, and with the life of Jesus Christ, the Biblical worldview has as well thus this paper is seeking their delineation. Eugene Webb, Professor Emeritus in the University of Washington Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, asserts what he views as an essential part of humanity. Eugene Webb states, “No human being lives without a worldview, but comparatively few ever give much thought to what worldviews are, how they come into being, how they change, and how they are held” (Webb, 2009, Pg. 1). Another way of saying this is that all of humanity perseveres with a worldview. This essay is an inquiry into what the Greeks called οὐσία, which is translated to English as being or, as an adjective, factual in the state of the things as they are. Therefore, this is to deduce what a state of being is and what can be defined as any true Christian fact, if any. The process of analyzing these views is something which is a substantial effort and it is possible that all details fundamental to them may not be described in this essay which shall be addressed in the form of implications for the reader to apprehend through induction. Furthermore, the outcome of this essay is not to express what a conceptual worldview and the Biblical worldview should be, normative proposals, but rather to express what they are, descriptively. It is thus this writer’s contention that the concepts of worldview and the Biblical worldview can be bounded.

To understand a word, apprehending its etymological roots can be worthwhile. The research of James W. Underhill about the origin of the meaning of worldview shows insight. James W. Underhill says that the German word “Weltanschauung” (Underhill, 2009, Pg. 54) is associated with the idea of “’function[ing] as an idea of pure reason to bring the totality of human experience into the unity of the world-whole, or Weltganz’” (Underhill, 2009, Pg. 54). The converse of this is the totality of Weltganz, another German word, into the unity of the human experience. This writer asks if this is a sound relation with some skepticism. If it is, then it a functional idea about which the human experience and the world-whole and sets of values can be input to output information relevant about the entirety of existence. However, looking at the history of the world and its state of not knowing everything in existence, even that of human experience, it is clear to this writer that this term could be, at best, viewed as a conceptual ideal rather than the relationship between humanity and the world in fact or as de facto situation. Therefore, at the very least, worldview is not a relationship between human experience and a unified understanding of the world. Having stated this, it follows that the Christian worldview could be inquired about for the sake of understanding its characteristics.

At this point in this discussion, the word Christian in Christian worldview can be seen as a characteristic of worldview, being an adjective. However, this writer asks if this grammatical explanation is a sufficient one. To reflect, the apostle Paul states something worthwhile to the Romans. Paul says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12: 2 King James Version). This writer holds the view that exegetically, this is to say that if there is a single Christian worldview it is thus not a characteristic of the world hence it forgoes that of attribution to worldview in its true form. Therefore, a more reasonable identification of this understanding should be described as the worldview of Christianity.

During Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, he writes about the natural state of Christ in the world. Paul states to the Corinthians, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now if you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it” (1 Cor 12: 26-27 King James Version). A view of this writer is to express that the humanity of Christianity is connected by Christ. Therefore, the worldview of Christianity is hierarchically subordinate to him as if Christ is the metaphorical roots of a tree or a mainframe system of a computer network. It follows that the prior identification of worldview as not that of a relation should be compared to the Christian worldview. Interestingly, all of humanity is linked with Jesus, collectively, and Jesus is linked with all of humanity by Paul’s assertion.

After contemplation, David Mathis states that Christ is the son of the unifier of the gospel. David Mathis states, “And, mark this, no one cares more for her unity of his church around her Savior, his own Son, than God himself.” (Piper, Mathis, Warren, 2011, Pg. 11). This is to say that the will of Christ is a characteristic of God, yet the Holy Spirit is a third person thus the Triune God would necessarily be a collective relationship with all of humanity. It cannot be humanity with Jesus and God, and the Holy Spirit, separately, and be a relation. Therefore, at the very least, a worldview without the collective of humanity considered as a single idea with a body of knowledge as the Christian worldview is not a relation. It follows that it cannot be functional. This is to say that while a worldview and the Christian worldview, so to speak, may be concepts that human recognize without a true form of apprehension, at least we may be aware of what these concepts are not.

Bibliography

Piper, J., Mathis, D., & Warren, R. (2011). Thinking, Loving, Doing. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. Pg. 11

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2004). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. Cor 12: 26-27.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2004). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. Rom 12: 2.

Underhill, J. W. (2009). Humboldt, Worldview and Language. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Pg. 54.

Webb, E. (2009). Worldview and Mind: Religious Thought and Psychological Development. Columbia: University of Missouri Press. Pg. 1