Altruism and Christian Ethics

Overview

Separated from its anchorage in religion, ethics has followed the social sciences in seeing human beings as fundamentally characterized by self-interest, so that altruism is either naively idealistic or arrogantly self-sufficient. Colin Grant contends that, as a modern secular concept, altruism is a parody on the self-giving love of Christianity, so that its dismissal represents a social leveling that loses the depths that theology makes intelligible and religion makes possible. He argues that to dispense with ...

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Overview

Separated from its anchorage in religion, ethics has followed the social sciences in seeing human beings as fundamentally characterized by self-interest, so that altruism is either naively idealistic or arrogantly self-sufficient. Colin Grant contends that, as a modern secular concept, altruism is a parody on the self-giving love of Christianity, so that its dismissal represents a social leveling that loses the depths that theology makes intelligible and religion makes possible. He argues that to dispense with altruism is to dispense with God and with the divine transformation of human possibilities.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...the book is an engaging and valuable addition to the literature on altruism." Journal of Religion

"Grant offers a careful analysis of recent secular literature on altruism...he provides a compelling critique of sociobiology's interpretation of altruism...Grant book is a highly nuanced examination of much of the literature on altruism and agape...It is readable and interesting...most informative" Theology Today

"It provides a useful introduction to features of and debates surrounding altruism and makes clear the role Christian ethics can play in defending and promoting it." Religious Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521093613
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/11/2009
  • Series: New Studies in Christian Ethics Series , #18
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I. Alien Altruism: 1. Explanations for altruism; 2. Evidence of altruism; 3. The elusiveness of altruism; Part II. Ideal Altruism: 4. Contract altruism; 5. Constructed altruism; 6. Collegial altruism; Part III: Real Altruism; 7. Acute altruism: Agape; 8. Absolute altruism; 9. Actual altruism.

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