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141. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
John Kelsay, Sumner B. Twiss Preface
142. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
Vigen Guroian Human Rights and Christian Ethics: An Orthodox Critique
143. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
Martin L. Cook Reflections on James Gustafson's Theological-Ethical Method
144. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
Daniel Rush Finn Valuing the Future: On the Ethics and Economics of Discounting Future Events in Public Policy
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Public policy analysis employs a discounting to translate future costs or benefits of alternative policies into a "present value" by reducing them, based on a discount rate and the number of years in the future when these outcomes will occur. In recent years, many professional ethicists, from both philosophical and religious perspectives, have criticized discounting as morally inadequate, particularly when assessing potential long-term environmental damage, such as that arising from global warming. This essay reviews the ethical objections to discounting and concludes that discounting is a necessary dimension of the moral assessment made in public policy analysis, ultimately helpful provided that policy makers also respect two constraints to ensure sustainability and equity.
145. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
Darryl L. Birkenfeld Deciphering Moral Landscapes in Agricultural Biotechnology
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In the complex field of agricultural biotechnology, is there an approach that Christian ethicists can use to evaluate competing claims, multiple goods, and human rights issues in this important arena where humans and natures are intertwined? This paper is an attempt to apply Gibson Winter's three root metaphors (organic, mechanistic and artistic) as an ethical analysis that describes key socio-historical patterns in Western society and deciphers moral landscapes that undergird different forms of agricultural biotechnology. The paper also explores five key principles of the emerging "artistic" root metaphor that could guide more appropriate application and use of agricultural biotechnology.
146. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
John R. Bowlin Augustine on Justifying Coercion
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Augustine encouraged Christian bishops and magistrates to coerce and constrain religious dissenters, he participated in these activities almost from the start of his career as presbyter under Valerius, and he offered justifications for what he did. Robert Markus and John Milbank consider Augustine's justifications inconsistent with the aspect of his social thought each admires most. Their conclusions are unwarranted and unnecessary. Augustine's justifications are neither inconsistent with the rest of his social thought, nor dependent upon judgments about just and unjust coercion that are fundamentally different from our own.
147. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
James P. Gubbins Grief's Lesson in Moral Epistemology: A Phenomenological Investigation
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This paper considers the thesis that grief holds special and significant moral knowledge. First, I argue that grief recognizes and responds to moral good. Second, I argue that grief holds special moral knowledge by contending that the goodness of the unique other and the unique love for the other are made conspicuous and thus specially known in grief. Third, I argue that grief holds significant moral knowledge. The griever has significant moral knowledge of her radical bond with a unique other. Also, grief's moral knowledge has a significant impact on the character of the griever. Furthermore, grief's moral knowledge is significant for moral psychology by highlighting the relationship among uniqueness, radical interdependence, and human good.
148. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
D. M. Yeager Anger, Justice, and Detachment
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Working within the framework of concern for justice, Christian ethicists have treated the counsel of detachment as destructive of active involvement in history and have undertaken to rehabilitate anger as the mark of caring and as the engine powering the struggle for social justice. Aided by the suggestive accounts of virtue offered by Georges Bernanos in Diary of a Country Priest and Charles Dickens in Dombey and Son, the author upholds the importance of detachment (understood not as indifference but as the alternative to self-will) and explores the problematic character of anger in its relation to justice, change, and gratitude. While the two novelists set before us powerful and magnetic instances of just anger in Mme. la Comtesse, Chantal, and Edith Dombey, they also deliberately contrast these characters against the detached love of the nameless priest and Dombey's daughter Florence. The critique of anger constituted by these stores raises provocative questions about the notion that anger can be good.
149. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
Timothy P. Jackson Is Isaac Kierkegaard's Neighbor?: "Fear and Trembling" in Light of William Blake and "Works of Love"
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I consider in this essay three possible interpretations of the infinitely rich story of Abraham and Isaac found in Genesis 22. Against the background of what I call "the traditional reading," I compare the views of William Blake, Johannes de Silentio, and Søren Kierkegaard. Blake's poetry and painting suggest a striking alternative to our usual understanding of the story, but they finally require too radical a departure from the Biblical text. The pseudonym de Silentio's views on obedience to God, presented in Fear and Trembling, are even more problematic, however. They are at odds with Kierkegaard's powerful account of love of neighbor, related under his own name in Works of Love, for instance. The God who is Love would not literally require murderous intent toward a neighbor, I conclude, but that same God might issue an "ironic" command designed to lift us out of an abominable ritual.
150. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
David Little Religion, Nationalism, and Human Rights
151. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
Karen Lebacqz Difference or Defect?: Intersexuality and the Politics of Difference
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Under current medical practice, when a child is born with ambiguous genitalia, sex is assigned and medical/surgical intervention undertaken. This practice is criticized by the Intersex Society of North America and by feminist scholars. Together they are creating a "politics of difference" approach in which differences are not seen as "defects" to be corrected. This paper analyzes the reasons offered in support of current medical practice and of the politics of difference, and argues for a move toward the latter. Crucial to the determination that this move is warranted are justice concerns and the emergence of support groups and technologies that allow geographically separated individuals to form a relevant "group."
152. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
Paul J. Wojda Dying for One's Friends: The Martyrological Shape of Christian Love
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This essay considers the contemporary debate about the nature of Christian love and its relation to friendship from a perspective informed by the martyrological context in which Christian love is disclosed. In this context agape is understood as simultaneously the willing of the neighbor's good and the witness to the divine source of all goodness. From this perspective it is argued that friendship, far from being alien to Christian love, is one of its primary works, its principal criterion, and the context in which it is put most decisively to the test.
153. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
Elly Haney Where Do We Go from Here, or How Should White Christian Ethicists "Do" Ethics?
154. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
P. Travis Kroeker Theocentric Ethics and Policy
155. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
Anne E. Patrick Creative Fiction and Theological Ethics: The Contributions of James M. Gustafson
156. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
Joseph J. Kotva, Jr. The Formation of Pastors, Parishioners, and Problems: A Virtue Reframing of Clergy Ethics
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This essay illustrates how insights gained from virtue ethics would reframe clergy ethics. By sketching virtue-oriented themes that have received scant attention in the current work on clergy ethics, I show how a virtue-informed clergy ethics focuses on moral growth and the everyday aspects of ministry instead of dilemmas and discrete actions. Those virtue-oriented themes include the role of prayer and friendship in the formation of the pastor's character, the refocusing of pastoral moral leadership on training parishioners for the Christian life, and the way virtue ethics changes what we perceive to be the central ethical issues of ministry and how we deliberate about them.
157. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 17
Brent W. Sockness Troeltsch's 'Practical Christian Ethics': The Heidelberg Lectures (1911/12)
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This essay analyzes Ernst Troeltsch's course lectures on "practical Christian ethics" held at the University of Heidelberg in 1911—12. The author situates these lectures within Troeltsch's wider teaching activity, assesses the reliability of the extant student notes which preserve them, explains the idiosyncratic meaning of a "practical" ethics within Troeltsch's total theological program, critically interprets the method and content of the lectures, and suggests in conclusion that Troeltsch's approach to the tension between the universal aspirations of, and the particular historical genesis of, religio-ethical traditions remains relevant, perhaps even instructive, for contemporary debates in religious and theological ethics.
158. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 18
Tobias L. Winright Two Rival Versions of Just War Theory and the Presumption Against Harm in Policing
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In recent years, there has been a debate, centrally between James Turner Johnson and James F. Childress, on how to understand the just war tradition. The international arena has historically served as the context for demonstrating the normative and political utility of the just war tradition. Contemporary experience shows, however, that violence is not only a distant issue, but it is also a local, domestic problem. Investigation into contemporary police practice, a lacuna in Christian ethics, with regard to the justifiable use of force can help clarify which understanding of the just war tradition is preferable.
159. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 18
Timothy M. Renick A Cabbit in Sheep's Clothing: Exploring the Sources of Our Moral Disquiet About Cloning
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Emerging from the first successful cloning of a mammal, a sheep named "Dolly," is a critical but under-asked question: "Why do so many of us find this feat (and its potential application to human subjects) to be deeply disturbing?" This paper suggests that the answer rests not primarily in the theological and philosophical arguments most often heard against cloning but in the threat the act poses to our foundational "cosmological categories." Building upon theories introduced by Mary Douglas and Jeffrey Stout, the essay argues that Dolly becomes a "cabbit" in sheep's clothing—an outwardly innocuous entity which, like Stout's cat/rabbit, offends at a deep and visceral level. Like the cabbit, the cloned sheep and especially the cloned human are disturbing not because of the way they are produced nor by the physical threat they pose but because they challenge the very way we understand and organize our world.
160. The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 18
James Gustafson Cosmic Theocentrism: Remarks On Stanley Harakas's "Toward Transfigured Life"