Sharpened Image by J. Daryl Charles

Sharpened Image

Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God
by John F. Kilner
Eerdmans, 2015
(402 pages, $35.00, paperback)

reviewed by J. Daryl Charles

As the news on any given day will confirm, the pressing ethical issues of our time, virtually without exception, concern what it means to be human and the nature of human dignity. Not helping matters, it scarcely needs saying, is the prevailing social climate—a sort of "cultural totalitarianism," as one social critic has called it—which expresses itself in the form of a "secular inquisition" against those daring to engage in moral reasoning.

Most anyone today who testifies to the sacrosanct nature of human life in any stage, whether at its margins or in its very constitution, can expect to be demonized by the high priests of secular culture. (One thinks, for example, of the 2003 essay by Ruth Macklin, "Dignity Is a Useless Concept," and the 2008 essay by Stephen Pinker, "The Stupidity of Dignity." The problem, Pinker opines, is that the notion of human "dignity" is "squishy" and "subjective," "hardly up to the heavyweight moral demands assigned to it.")

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J. Daryl Charles is the Acton Institute Affiliated Scholar in Theology & Ethics. He is the author or editor of twenty books, including Retrieving the Natural Law (2008), Natural Law and Religious Freedom (2018), and, most recently, Just War and Christian Traditions (forthcoming). He is also co-editor of Abraham Kuyper, Common Grace: God's Gifts for a Fallen World, Volume 3 (2020). He is a contributing editor to Touchstone.

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