return to religion-onlineChristian Ethics
Walter Brueggemann challenges the commentators who call the terribly destructive Hurricane Katrina a storm of biblical destruction and suggests some categories that give it some genuinely biblical terms.
Those who believe that voluntary charitable giving can be a substitute for adequate tax revenues deny the effects of the fall and our dependence on Godís grace to help us fight the sin of greed.
Naysaying is ubiquitous, rooted in all our lives. Dissent, in the biblical tradition that commends fidelity to God and neighbor, is a universal alternative to it.
Building on the observations of H. Richard Niebuhr, Bellah shows how the gap between the religious pluralism of Ernst Troeltsch and the absolute distinction between the revelation of God in Christ versus other religions can be bridged by the Christian without being unfaithful. Both Niebuhr and Troeltsch talked in terms of "the truth for us" in the context of historical relativism. That, plus the fact that as central as the community of the church is for us, it is not our only community, enables us - paradoxically - to be home and not at home in a religiously pluralistic world. This article is adapted from a presentation made at Yale Divinity School marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of H. Richard Niebuhr.
The kingdom of God that Jesus announced was not for people who never did anything wrong. It was for "sinners," for those who -- mostly -- tried their best to do the right thing, often failed, but accepted the forgiveness of God and of others, forgave others and themselves, and started over.
(ENTIRE BOOK) Dr. Harkness has applied Christian ethical principles to the major issues of contemporary life. From the starting point of the revelation of the nature and will of God that has come to man through Christ, she has dealt first with the biblical foundations of Christian ethics followed by their application to specific contemporary problems, including self and society, marriage, economic life, race, the state, war, peace and others.
One does not have to be a Marxist to understand that ethical questions are often determined by economic considerations. As examples slavery has been abolished not only because of Christian conscience, but because it became unprofitable, and nuclear-fission has reached its nadir primarily because its economic balance has been found wanting
The author reviews four books on ethics by Herbert Mcabe: The job of ethics is to aid us in discovering and living out the deepest desires of our fleshly, human hearts. And that deepest desire, the end of all our lives, turns out to be nothing other than sharing the life of God available to us through the body of the man Jesus and the Spirit whom he sent. A great mystery, yes; nonsense, no.
Sixty years after the warís end, we are still waiting for the reconstruction of society for which Bonhoeffer dared to hope, but we have more resources for understanding his vision. The new translation of Ethics takes its place at the head of that list.
If Christian teaching of universal human dignity was so central and so thoroughgoing, why has Christian practice so often violated the dignity both of Christians and of others? We need a post-liberal Christianity that relativizes the Enlightenment. We need to assimilate its gains in a wider context. This requires listening carefully to the voices of outsiders, especially those whose dignity it has repeatedly offended. Hence, interreligious dialogues are of the greatest importance.
Spohn outlines Richard B. Hays' attempt in his book The Moral Vision of the New Testament to discern a coherent moral stance in the wide range of New Testament witnesses by offering a synthesis of the varying and divergent canonical voices through biblical paradigms and root metaphors.
Although there is a conflict between our love and our fear of justice, for those who love God that conflict is absorbed by God’s purity.
Growing religious diversity and the loosening of confessional orthodoxy have meant that Americans can no longer expect to deal with public political questions from a common theological perspective.
Perhaps the greatest gift anyone can give is unconditional love. Too often love is part of a bargaining process for getting what one needs at the expense of another. Prostitutes, like all human beings, deserve respect and a chance to live life to the fullest.
Susan Neiman uses father Abraham as a model for focusing attention on action rather than person.† Have the courage to judge actions, rather than the presumption to judge the individual.† Leave it to the Lord to judge the agent.
The only way of coping effectively with the kind of world we live in is to deal seriously and constantly with the questions that point toward at least relatively satisfactory answers to why we are what we are and do as we do.
An intriguing debate took place on the pages of The Christian Century in 1932 between brothers H. Richard Niebuhr and Reinhold Niebuhr. The immediate occasion for the publication of their articles was Japan's invasion of Manchuria, and the concrete issue that the brothers addressed was the proper response of the United States to that invasion. Both appeal to the tragic character of human history to support their views, yet each draws a radically different conclusion.
Where are the Nathans who will speak to us, even at personal risk, about our failures to be honest with ourselves? Nathan reminds us of who we are before God.
The sentimental hatred of the evil that is in others may blind one to the evil that one bears in himself and to the gravity of evil in general. The overly facile condemnation of the wicked man on the opposite side may conceal and favor much inward complaisance toward that very wickedness.
A visitor to our shores would probably come to the same conclusion at which St. Paul arrived in regard to the Athenians, namely, that we are "very religious." But the judgment might not imply a compliment any more than Paul wanted to so imply when he called attention to the worship of many gods in Athens, including the "unknown god." Our religiosity seems to have as little to do with the Christian faith as the religiosity of the Athenians.
The disease model of understanding alcohol abuse confuses moral thinking with moralizing and jugmentalism.
The one art most needful of restoration is the ancient art of moral reasoning, of wrangling not about personalities or policies but about the moral propositions and values underlying them.
China and India are adding more people to the planet than the U.S., but it’s the Americans who put more strain on the environment. Isn’t there something selfish about not having children? The notion cannot be easily dismissed.
Novak identifies the United States as a liberal society in the process of maturing, and proposes that the liberty of this society has and always will be dependent upon vigilance of mind with regard to such concerns as free speech, terrorism, and freedom of the press.
The Christian church has not dealt seriously, according to Biblical standard, with the violence and destruction brought by the principalities and powers. By and large, the churches have lived by adapting themselves to the reality of the power rather than transforming it.
We do not like the thought that it may be our own unconvertedness, our own unregenerateness, that causes racial tension within the church. A Christian may still like his own race better than others, but it is getting very hard to think that God agrees with him. And even if he does think that God agrees with him, it is getting very hard, almost impossible, to say it out loud.
Ethics is at the heart of theology because the grammar of Christian discourse is fundamentally practical. The most appropriate means to arrive at a practical ethical theology is to articulate how Christians have understood, and do and should understand, the relationship between Christ and the moral life.
(ENTIRE BOOK) Can the church help citizens of the emerging postindustrial society be more "saintly" in their "scientific" endeavors? What does it mean to be a morally responsible citizen in a complicated world?
A review of two books on eugenics. How many children people should have, and how parents (and society) can ensure that only genetically fit children are born, have been enduring questions in American culture. Christians must disentangle the fundamentally "utilitarian considerations" that have come to define procreation in the United States.
Review of Raising the Dead: Organ Transplants, Ethics, and Society, by Ronald Munson. Munson seems to imagine that there are no human goods more valuable than the continuation of physical life, and nothing to hope for beyond earthly existence.
We sell ourselves cheap, so that work can demand always more of our time, and families can claim always less. The sin most abhorrent to God is the failure of generosity, the neglect of widow and orphan, the oppression of the poor.
Not only is the widespread emphasis on winning over others less than Christian, argues the writer, but even the concept of "doing one’s best" is easily perverted into workaholism and pride.
Life in the global village requires a global ethic that is more than empty rhetoric.
Havel wonders at the tremendous strength of an oppressed people who "seemingly believed in nothing," yet who cast off a totalitarian system within a few short weeks, "in an entirely peaceful and dignified manner."
What do we do in a republic when my virtue does not match your virtue, when my discourse, metaphysics, ethics, theology, history, views and kind are or seem incommensurate with yours? We do not have to resort to strategies of ignoring present realities, overwhelming minorities, or inventing fictional homogeneous pasts.
An analysis of Peter Singer's ethics, as seen in his writings. Singer wants the best for all humankind. But if, by some chance, heís found the way to get it for us, itís despite not understanding us at all.