The Peaceable Kingdom

CHRISTIAN ETHICS: The Person Of The Spirit—The New Testament Evidence (Paul) by Stanley Hauerwas

August 13, 2018

From The Peaceable Kingdom To answer that question we must turn to the New Testament to see if it will really allow such an abbreviation in our doctrine of God.  Will we be able to say what the revelation of God, to which the New Testament bears witness, requires us to say about Christ and the Spirit, if we regard the Spirit simply as a mode of activity of Jesus? At the outset we need to recognize that these are not questions that the New Testament authors were themselves concerned about, so that the material that they provide for answering them is implicit and indirect, coming to expression as a by-product of their dealing with the quite different questions that occupied their attention. Furthermore, we have to recognize that there are [...]

CHRISTIAN ETHICS: The Truthfulness Of Christian Convictions by Stanley Hauerwas

August 11, 2018

From The Peaceable Kingdom The modern moral and religious situation I have reviewed makes the task of Christian ethics precarious at best.  The temptations and pitfalls are innumerable.  At a time when we are no longer sure our religious beliefs are true, perhaps the most destructive of these temptations is to salvage some significance for religion by claiming it can hold back the moral anarchy that threatens us.  Calling on religion to supply those absolute values we think necessary to support the leaking breakwater of our civilization, we train “religious ethicists” to teach courses in business ethics, medical ethics, and value clarification. But this strategy avoids the most essential question.  We should not want to know if [...]

CHRISTIAN ETHICS: The Privatization Of Religion by Stanley Hauerwas

August 4, 2018

From The Peaceable Kingdom Many of the same processes that have shaped our modern understanding of morality have had an equally strong and corrosive effect on our religious convictions and institutions.  If religion is no longer considered a matter of truth, it cannot and should not command our attention as something worthy in and of itself.  Rather religion’s significance is reduced, at best, to the functional.  Thus religious belief may be a source of strength in a personal crisis and/or an aid in interpersonal relations.  Accordingly, the church has become but one among many voluntary associations of like-minded people from similar economic strata. The functional character of contemporary religious convictions is perhaps nowhere [...]

CHRISTIAN ETHICS: Fragile Foundations by Stanley Hauerwas

July 14, 2018

From The Peaceable Kingdom Equally pervasive as the stress on freedom in modern ethical theory has been the concern to find a foundation for ethics.  Indeed the attempt to provide a foundation for ethics is interrelated with the attempt to establish freedom as a prerequisite characteristic of human agents.  As MacIntyre suggests, modern philosophers, both analytic and existentialist, have taken the essence of moral agency to be the capacity of the self to evade identification with any particular contingent state of affairs. To be a moral agent is, on this view, precisely to be able to stand back from any and every situation in which one is involved, from any and every characteristic that one may possess, and to pass judgment on it from a [...]

CHRISTIAN ETHICS: Freedom As Fate by Stanley Hauerwas

June 23, 2018

From The Peaceable Kingdom Our sense that we live in a morally chaotic, fragmented world accounts for two of the dominant characteristics of recent ethical theory: (1) the stress on freedom, autonomy, and choice as the essence of the moral life; and (2) the attempt to secure a foundation for the moral life unfettered by the contingencies of our histories and communities.  As we will see, these are closely related insofar as it is assumed that freedom depends on finding the means to disentangle ourselves from our own engagements. Caught between the competing interests, we increasingly feel compelled to create or choose our morality.  This is variously reflected by moral theories such as emotivism, existentialism, and situationalism, which [...]

CHRISTIAN ETHICS: Christian Ethics In A Fragmented And Violent World—2 by Stanley Hauerwas

June 16, 2018

From The Peaceable Kingdom Living Amid Fragments: The Insufficiency of Ethics One of the ironies of the current situation is that the attempt to deny that ethics responds to the peculiarity of our current social and historic situation only makes us more subject to that situation.  We are told we live in a morally bankrupt age.  People think what was at one time unthinkable; indeed they do what was once unthinkable.  We experience our world as so morally chaotic that we now feel our only alternative is for each person “to choose,” if not create, the standards by which they will live. As pervasive as this feeling is, it is unclear exactly why we feel we are morally at sea.  No time or society has ever been free of moral ambiguity.  [...]

CHRISTIAN ETHICS: Christian Ethics In A Fragmented And Violent World—1 by Stanley Hauerwas

June 9, 2018

From The Peaceable Kingdom Ethics and the Demand for Absolutes All ethical reflection occurs relative to a particular time and place.  Not only do ethical problems change from one time to the next, but the very nature and structure of ethics is determined by the particularities of a community’s history and convictions.  From this perspective the notion of “ethics” is misleading, since it seems to suggest that “ethics” is an identifiable discipline that is constant across history.  In fact, much of the burden of this book will be to suggest that ethics always requires an adjective or qualifier – such as, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, existentialist, pragmatic, utilitarian, humanist, medieval, modern – in order to denote the [...]

CHRISTIAN ETHICS: Introduction—Introducing An “Introduction” by Stanley Hauerwas

May 24, 2018

From The Peaceable Kingdom While this book is meant to be a primer or introduction to Christian ethics which I hope can be used both in introductory courses in college and by adult study groups, I am not providing a survey of what various ethicists think on current issues in the field.  Nor will I offer any extensive analysis of past and current figures in Christian ethics.  Instead this book is an introduction in the sense that it attempts to present one straightforward account of a Christian ethic. Alternative accounts are mentioned only as a means of clarifying my own position.  As a result the book may be said to be decidedly “one-sided” for an introduction.  My only defense is that I know no other way it can be done.  As I [...]