Biblical v. Secular Ethics: The Conflict

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Establishing acceptable norms of behavior and consistent standards of conduct has been part of the human enterprise since the dawn of time. Without principles of ethics and the moral rules that affect individual behavior, humankind would plunge into a state of chaotic indifference, insecurity, and unending fear. But while few question the need for moral guidance, a growing number of people believe that the only ethic worth considering must rest on a biblical foundation. Is morality dependent upon God and ...
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Overview

Establishing acceptable norms of behavior and consistent standards of conduct has been part of the human enterprise since the dawn of time. Without principles of ethics and the moral rules that affect individual behavior, humankind would plunge into a state of chaotic indifference, insecurity, and unending fear. But while few question the need for moral guidance, a growing number of people believe that the only ethic worth considering must rest on a biblical foundation. Is morality dependent upon God and "revealed truths" found in scripture? Must this claim be accepted without question lest we risk the torment of eternal damnation for questioning it? Without critical evaluation and careful scrutiny, there is little hope of distinguishing truth from unfounded belief.

How valuable is the Bible as a source for ethical truth? Do the scriptures truly have the insight needed to guide humankind safely through the moral dilemmas of modern society? What constitutes a biblical ethic? Should the Bible be construed as the only basis for moral teaching? Is it really the final authority on moral issues, or are there secular alternatives that can serve as guides to acceptable conduct within the human community?

A distinguished group of social philosophers, biblical scholars, and ethicists met at the University of Richmond, Virginia, under the aegis of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER) and its Biblical Criticism Research Project, to address these and related questions. The essays in this provocative work demonstrate a diversity of perspective and breadth of insight that will shed much needed light on the nature of ethics.

The contributors to this volume include: Robert S. Alley, Joe Edward Barnhart, Joseph L. Blau, Frank E. Eakin, Jr., Lewis S. Feuer, Joseph Fletcher, Theodor H. Gaster, James H. Hall, R. Joseph Hoffmann, Paul Kurtz, Gerald A. Larue, John Priest, Ellis Rivkin, Richard L. Rubenstein, and Richard Taylor.

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Editorial Reviews

Humanistic Judaism
Great literature.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879754181
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/1988
  • Pages: 191
  • Product dimensions: 5.64 (w) x 8.41 (h) x 0.63 (d)

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