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Legislating Morality: Is It Wise? Is It Legal? Is It Possible? [Paperback]

By Norman L. Geisler (Author) & Frank Turek (Author)
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Item description for Legislating Morality: Is It Wise? Is It Legal? Is It Possible? by Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek...

All Laws Legislate Morality

Whose Morality Should We Legislate?

America's moral decline is no secret. An alarming number of moral and cultural problems have exploded in our country since 1960---a period when the standards of morality expressed in our laws and customs have been relaxed, abandoned, or judicially overruled.

Conventional wisdom says laws cannot stem moral decline. Anyone who raises the prospect of legislation on the hot topics of our day---abortion, family issues, gay rights, euthanasia---encounters a host of objections:

"As long as I don't hurt anyone the government should leave me alone."

"No one should force their morals on anyone else."

"You can't make people be good."

"Legislating morality violates the separation of church and state."

Legislating Morality advocates a moral base for America without sacrificing religious and cultural diversity, debunking the myth that "morality can't be legislated" and amply demonstrating how liberals, moderates, and conservatives alike exploit law to promote good and curtail evil. This book boldly challenges prevailing thinking---about right and wrong and about our nation's moral future.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Pages   272
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.22" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.59"
Weight:   0.82 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2003
Publisher   Wipf & Stock Publishers
ISBN  1592441521  
ISBN13  9781592441525  

Availability  4 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2016 06:07.
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More About Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek

Norman L. Geisler Dr. Norman Geisler, PhD, is a prolific author, veteran professor, speaker, lecturer, traveler, philosopher, apologist, evangelist, and theologian. To those who ask, "Who is Norm Geisler?" some have suggested, "Well, imagine a cross between Thomas Aquinas and Billy Graham and you're not too far off."

Norm has authored/coauthored over 80 books and hundreds of articles. He has taught theology, philosophy, and apologetics on the college or graduate level for over 50 years. He has served as a professor at some of the finest Seminaries in the United States, including Trinity Evangelical Seminary, Dallas Seminary, and Southern Evangelical Seminary. He now lends his talents to Veritas Evangelical Seminary in Murrieta, California, as the Distinguished Professor of Apologetics.

Norman has been married for 57 years (as of 2013) to wife Barbara Jean, graduate of Fort Wayne Bible College (Taylor University) Dr. and Mrs. Geisler have six children, fifteen grandchildren, and three great grandchildren

SPANISH BIO: Norman Geisler (PhD, Loyola University) es presidente del Seminario Evangelico del Sur y autor de mas de cincuenta libros, entre los que se destacan Decide For Yourself, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics y When Skeptics Ask. Fue tambien coeditor de Is Your Church Ready? Un libro asociado a Quien creo a Dios?

Norman L. Geisler currently resides in Weddington, in the state of North Carolina.

Norman L. Geisler has published or released items in the following series...
  1. 10 Questions and Answers
  2. A to Z Guides

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Law > Constitutional Law > Civil Rights
2Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Law > Constitutional Law > Civil Rights
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Church & State

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Reviews - What do customers think about Legislating Morality: Is It Wise? Is It Legal? Is It Possible??

Every citizen should read this book  Jul 21, 2004
This is the best book I have seen on this topic. Through a very concise and logical presentation, it answers objections from those who are opposed to legislating morality and those that question whether political activism is a proper focus of Christians. A brief history lesson helps put things in perspective. Legislating religion vs. legislating morality is also covered, as are short sections on specific moral issues like abortion and homosexuality. Appendixes include the Declaration of Independence and Amendments to the Constitution.

The book is clear, well-written and well-researched, as you would expect from Norman Geisler or Frank Turek. It is not dry. Every citizen, whether conservative or liberal, should read this book. Conservative Christians will be especially interested.
Book Debunks Separation of Church and State  Dec 26, 2003
Many Christians have foolishly bought into public school arguments about separation of church and state. This book goes back to all the court decisions which were made over the last 100 years which led to this common idea we hear today. The book clearly shows that Jefferson never intended separation of church and state the way it is being taken out of context today. I was shocked to find that it isn't even mentioned in the Constitution and am surprised so many Christians have bought into this. I now see that it is "freedom of religion, not freedom from religion." This part to me is the most helpful part of the book. This book will help you not feel like you are somehow "inflicting your religion on someone else" and that all laws are in essence, a legislation of someone's morality.

The book also does an excellent job of tackling issues such as homosexuality, euthenasia, and abortion. The thing I like best about the book, though, is that it shows that the government still has a right to make moral laws. It is not a matter of whether moral laws will be made, it is just a matter of whose morals. I won't say I agree with 100% of what is in this book, but the book is very helpful with debate, especially for those who claim you are forcing your religion on them.

Fundamentally Flawed  Jun 23, 2003
The authors attempt to justify Christian elitism, arguing for a largely paternalistic government (pages 35-36 and 208 liken the government's societal role to that of a parent) that governs according to an objective "Moral Law." Giesler & Turek make the argument that all laws enforce morality at some level, so the question ultimately becomes, "whose morality?" The authors begin by defending the alleged right of governments to promote religion with taxpayer funds and resources, arguing that it's legitimate and constitutional for government to promote religion, just not any particular denomination (of Christianity); quite an interpretation of the First Amendment.

When, in Ch. 8, the authors finally explain the "Moral Law," it turns out the "objective" Moral Law works on an "I know it when I see it," (p.121), basis. The authors concede that there is no test to determine whether something is immoral enough to warrant government attention, but that each of us has a "factory-installed Baloney Meter" (p.121) that ultimately determines how governments should legislate. Not only is such a standard not objective, it could not be more subjective: reality presents us with a world in which reasonable people disagree and individuals, even within Christian circles, often have widely differing interpretations of conventional morality.

Armed with this "Moral Law," a purely subjective point of reference, the authors argue that government should have free reign to do whatever it feels is "good" for society. Take this reasoning to its logical extension: should government mandate healthy eating and regular exercise, or prohibit contact sports such as football and boxing because they represent consensual assault (after all, "who said consent makes something moral?" p.136)? Certainly we would expect them to censor expression, ideas, and opinions that set off somebody's "baloney meter." Out the window goes our freedom, in comes the totalitarian regime of the "elite" (those whose baloney meters really matter). The authors warn against "over legislating" morality, but just as the "Moral Law," such extremes are never defined by any objective standard.

Private property rights are the objective standard by which free countries are governed (a standard we are sadly moving away from): the inherent morality of self-ownership trumps the "rights" of others not to be offended. If somebody is offended by the church I attend, the fast-food I eat, or the excessive hours I work, tough. When nobody has a right not to be offended, it doesn't matter whose "baloney meter" is set off. Murder, rape, child abuse, and other violent crimes mentioned in this book (including abortion), however, involve violating the individual rights of another, and the distinction is painfully clear. Throughout the book, the authors consistently ignore the difference between crimes in which there is a victim, and "crimes" in which the only victim is an offended third party.

The often frustrating reality of freedom is that some people choose to exercise their freedom in ways to which I am opposed, ways that I may firmly believe are immoral or even harmful to the individual. But nobody has the right to initiate force against someone else, including me. In Geisler and Turek's world, there is no room to say "I disagree with what you're doing, but I respect your right to do it." From their perspective, if someone is being "immoral" (ie. offensive) government should act. Many Christians, as evidenced by the wide circulation and acceptance of this book, are unwilling to acknowledge this necessary condition of freedom.
Objective Morality Is a Must  Nov 19, 2002
Although many today espouse a relativistic approach to moral values in society, Turek and Geisler do a marvelous job of showing how this is not only irrational but idealistic in a world in which governments have legislated some form of moralty since the dawn of civilization. When civilations strayed from such laws, they soon reached an anticlimatic ending. Objective moralty is not only rational, but a pragmatic must for society to exist. If you do not or cannot understand why, read this book.

I find it interesting that several critics chastise the authors for using discredited or uncredited "pseudo-science". It seems a consistent tactic by left wing sketptics to point fingers at such oversights, but then use even less credited sources (or plain dogma and no sources) to argue their position. I refer to the criticism of the authors to use Cameron's questionable work, these same left wing critics continue to refer to totally discredited research and researchers such as Dean Hamer and Simon LeVay. They even use a self-annointed jounalist cum-scientist named Chandler Burr as representing science when he has done nothing but espouse an unfounded opinion.

Let's focus on the work itself and not the tidbits that we find offensive. And, in that sense, this truly a great read for anyone confused by the self-defeating philosophy of relativism.

Logic  Sep 7, 2001
The reviewer from Denver Colorado gave this book two stars since he claims it is based on a faulty premise, which is "there are differences in how to enforce crimes and what a punishment should be, but murder and 'victimless' crimes are the same in kind. After all, no one lives in a bubble. Drug use and prostitution can have a very negative affect on people's lives."
Our reviewer argues, "Wait! Skiing and eating fatty foods can negatively impact people's lives if they increase your chances of dying sooner! Should they be illegal?" Well, there is risk in almost everything, and if you thought about the effects of drug use and prostitution listed in the book, these are both pretty benign (until the point of gluttony for the latter).
He makes his greatest logical error in saying that he draws the line between crimes such as murder and "victimless" crime by saying that the negative effects of victimless crime are really the lack of anticipated benefits of a voluntary relationship. Now, would it be a lack of anticipated benefits if you got an STD or made your spouse angry enough to divorce you by sleeping with a prostitute who is nothing more than a piece of meat to you? Furthermore, what does it being voluntary have to do with anything? How does consenting to something affect the univeral right or wrongness of an act? (Don't argue relativism against that sentence; relativism's self-defeating, as shown in this book and others.)If Joe likes committing murder and I like being murdered, does that make murder any less absolutely wrong? Would the attempted genocide of the Holocaust have been acceptable if the Jews had consented to being wiped out? Human life is so precious, it is even more important than your liberty to take away your own life. (Dead people don't seem to have much liberty at all these days.) Sometimes it is necessary to protect a person from themselves; an immoral act's no less wrong no matter how much they will it to take place. Lastly, he blunders by saying that morality in legislature is limited to a person's self-defense, or something like that. It doesn't matter, since all laws dictate right and wrong and he should know that after reading the book. I know I haven't talked much about Legislating Morality in this review, but it is excellent and thought-provoking and if you read it, I think you'll find the logical fallacies belong to our Denver, Colorado reviewer and not to this book.

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