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31. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Simeon O. Ilesanmi So that Peace May Reign: A Study of Just Peacemaking Experiments in Africa
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Post-colonial Africa's political stability, economic growth, and human development have been impeded by a vicious circle of ethnic rivalry and civil wars. This article examines the various attempts in Africa to move beyond the traditional lens of pacifism and just war theory in curtailing the deleterious effects of war. These attempts, which are also consistent with the theoretical proposal of just peacemaking, have had mixed results on the continent. The article focuses on Liberia and Rwanda to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of just peacemaking theory, and concludes with a few suggestions on how its vision might be better pursued in Africa.
32. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 1
Lisa Sowle Cahill Just Peacemaking: Theory, Practice, and Prospects
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The just peacemaking project is a commendable effort to derive proactive initiatives from the teachings of Jesus and a strong sense of Christian discipleship, and to make these effective in volatile political situations. The project could be strengthened by a more explicit doctrine of sin, and an ethical justification of coercion. Recent debates among political scientists about effective social action in the era of globalization can also offer insights to enhance the political plausibility of the just peacemaking theory.
33. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Cynthia S. W. Crysdale Playing God?: Moral Agency in an Emergent World
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Arguments against intervening in nature's ways have been used against many new technologies in the last century. Many of these arguments have employed the metaphor of "playing God." In this essay I briefly review the use of the term "playing God" in recent decades. I then examine the cosmology that lies implicit in this language. My thesis is that the language of "playing God" (or not) overlooks the dynamic, evolutionary nature of world process—the role played by the indeterminacy of statistical probabilities. I review the notion of "emergent probability" (Lonergan) in order, in the end, to advocate an ethic of risk that both recognizes the dangers of hubris and includes an open and emergent view of creation.
34. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
E. Harold Breitenberg, Jr. To Tell the Truth: Will the Real Public Theology Please Stand Up?
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Public theology has been praised for being in keeping with the best of the Christian theological tradition and denounced as a distortion of the church's true calling. However, it is not clear that public theology's advocates and critics always refer to the same thing. In this paper I seek to clarify and refine the conversation by comparing and contrasting descriptions of public theology with other related terms, describing three main types of public theology literature and two main areas of concern they address, proposing a definition of public theology based on a consensus within the field, outlining four basic critiques, and suggesting some implications for the continuing discussion of public theology.
35. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Joel James Shuman Ethics, Liberalism, and the Law: Toward a Christian Consideration of the Morality of Civil Law in Liberal Policies
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This paper compares the accounts of agency, morality, and law presumed by liberal political theory to the account offered by Thomas Aquinas. In Aquinas, law is among the several "principles of human acts" and is presumed always to have a constructive effect on the moral formation of those living under its aegis. One of its purposes, in other words, is to make women and men good. The liberal account, on the other hand, is relatively less attentive to the constructive effects of law. This difference raises a question concerning the viability of the liberal assumption of a distinction between a morally neutral public law (based in reason) and a private morality (based in personal belief).
36. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Dov Nelkin "A Threefold Cord Is Not Quickly Broken": Virtue, Law, and Ethics in the Talmud
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Jewish ethics has more in common with the burgeoning field of virtue ethics than generally has been acknowledged within the discourse of contemporary religious ethics. This paper describes the virtue ethics present in the Talmud and other rabbinic texts. Missing from many of the arguments in support of virtue ethics is space for other approaches to ethics, including act-evaluation and the codification of at least some ethical decisions into (moral) law. The approach to virtue ethics found in the Talmud overcomes this dichotomy. Therefore, it is advantageous to bring these Talmudic texts concerned with character and virtue into dialogue with contemporary virtue ethics.
37. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Contributors
38. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Janet R. Nelson Bioethics and the Marginalization of Mental Illness
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This paper explores why ethical issues associated with mental illness have been generally neglected in the literature and texts of the discipline of bioethics. I argue that the reasons for this are both philosophical and structural, involving the philosophical framework of principlism in bioethics, in particular the privileging of the principle of autonomy, and the institutional location and disciplinary boundaries of bioethics as a profession. Other contributing factors include developments outside of bioethics, in medicine and law and in the delivery patterns and funding sources of mental health services, and above all the pervasive stigma that attaches to mental illness. My goal is to show both how the attention bioethics could bring would benefit this neglected area of health care, and why attending to the issues surrounding mental illness would benefit bioethics in meeting its professional obligations as the public voice on matters of ethical significance in health care.
39. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
Christine Gudorf, Paul Lauritzen Preface
40. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 23 > Issue: 2
William F. May The Shift in Political Anxieties in the West: From "The Russians Are Coming" to "The Coming Anarchy"
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Partly diagnostic, this essay explores the religious background to the shift in the dominant political anxieties of our time: from injustice (or tyranny) to anarchy. The primordial elements of water, fire, earth, and air supply us with powerful images for the dissolution of institutional forms and structures into chaos. In its response to the threat of chaos, the United States runs the danger currently of shifting in its sense of itself: from leading citizen among the nations to imperial power ruling over all nations. On the domestic scene, the country also shows signs of reconfiguring its life after the pattern of imperial Rome. While both order and justice are fundamental social goods—neither of which can be ignored—the essay argues, in closing, for the priority of justice in God's charitable ordering of all things. This article was the Presidential Address at the 2003 SCE annual meeting in Pittsburgh.