Moral Dilemmas: An Introduction to Christian Ethics

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-02-16
  • Publisher: Presbyterian Pub Corp

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How can we make decisions that are consistent with our basic values? We must first, Wogaman says, identify basic moral presumptions that can guide our thought as we face moral dilemmas. These basic moral presumptions include equality, grace, the value of human life, the unity of humankind, preferential claims for the poor and marginalized, and the goodness of creation. The burden of proof, he argues, must be borne by decisions that are contrary to such presumptions. Wogaman then illustrates how moral decision making works on the personal, national, and global levels and in communities of faith. He pulls into the conversation difficult ethical issues such as divorce, sexuality, abortion, political choices, economic justice, affirmative action, homosexuality, nuclear disarmament, economic globalization, global warming, international security, environmental policies, and military power. In the process, he provides a smart and helpful guide to Christian ethical behavior.

Author Biography

J. Philip Wogaman is Professor Emeritus of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary. He also served as Senior Minister of Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Christian Moral Judgment; Christian Perspectives on Politics; Christian Ethics: A Historical Introduction; and From the Eye of the Storm: A Pastor to the President Speaks Out.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Introductionp. xiii
Starting Pointsp. 1
Some Decisions Are Easier Than Othersp. 3
Easy Decisionsp. 3
More Difficult Decisionsp. 6
Moral Dilemmasp. 9
The Deep Basis of the Moral Lifep. 13
Practical Decision-Makingp. 14
Why Ethics Is Ultimately Religiousp. 15
Acceptable and Unacceptable Forms of Revelationp. 18
The Useful Incompleteness of Religious Traditionp. 20
Moral Virtue and Characterp. 21
Intuition and Deliberation in Moral Decision-Makingp. 23
The Absolute and the Relative in Moral Lifep. 26
Have We Become Too Relativistic?p. 27
The Natural-Law Approachp. 30
God as the Absolutep. 33
Facts and Valuesp. 35
Individual Integrity and Communal Authorityp. 39
The Transcendent Absolutep. 41
Rules and Relationshipsp. 42
The Moral Burden of Proofp. 46
A Legal Analogyp. 46
Applying the Idea of "Presumption" to Ethical Decision-Makingp. 49
Moral Presumptions as a Common Starting Pointp. 52
Basic Moral Presumptionsp. 57
Uses of Scripturep. 57
Positive Christian Value Presumptionsp. 59
The Limits and Flaws in Human Naturep. 70
Presumptions That Preserve Balancep. 74
A Presumption for Scripture and Traditionp. 78
When Presumptions Are in Conflictp. 79
Applications and Illustrationsp. 81
Difficult Personal Decisionsp. 83
Sexual Intimacy and Family Lifep. 84
Contraception and Abortionp. 86
Choosing a Spousep. 89
Divorcep. 91
Vocational Choicesp. 94
The Uses of Our Moneyp. 95
Political Choicesp. 97
Hard Choices in the Public Arenap. 101
Abortionp. 102
Homosexualityp. 106
The Dilemma of "Affirmative Action"p. 109
Securing Economic Justicep. 112
Environmental Policiesp. 117
Criminal Justicep. 119
Uses of Military Powerp. 122
Hard Choices at the Global Levelp. 125
International Institution Buildingp. 125
International Security and Policingp. 128
Nuclear Disarmamentp. 133
Economic Globalizationp. 136
Global Warmingp. 141
Hard Choices in Communities of Faithp. 146
Appendix: Avoiding Pitfalls in Moral Argumentp. 150
Notesp. 163
Indexp. 167
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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