Do Morals Matter: A Guide to Contemporary Religious Ethics / Edition 1

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Do Morals Matter? is an accessible and informed guide to contemporary ethical issues that reflects upon the intersection of religion and morality.

  • An informal yet informed guide through the key ethical issues we are facing today, from moral decision making in business and medicine, to the uncertainty of war and terrorism, and the condition of our environment.
  • Reflects on religion’s intersection with morality, exploring the challenge of pluralism in major world religions, and the question of Humanism and God’s role in ethics.
  • Considers the forecast of future situations that will be affected by today’s ethical decisions.
  • Questions what accounts for the variances in ethical beliefs in different cultures, and how we properly reassess our conceptions of ethical standards as new issues arise.
  • Written by the internationally regarded Ian Markham, Dean of Hartford Seminary and author of numerous books on world religions and ethics.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book would likely work well for advanced undergraduate classes in religious ethics." (The Journal of Religion, July 2009)

“Designed as a textbook for upper-level undergraduate courses in ethics, the presentation is both balanced and challenging … Recommended.” Choice

“A lively and lucid introduction to religious (albeit predominantly Christian) ethics … A distinctive and welcome feature of this book is that every chapter begins with a short case-study or thought-exercise. All are well chosen, and help to make the book user-friendly for those new to this crucial area.” Church Times

"An excellent book for students setting out on the study of ethics. It is stimulating and challenging. Markham has provided a cogent and coherent perspective on contemporary ethics, which is readable, accessible, and thought-provoking." Journal of Contemporary Religion

"Ian Markham has provided an eminently readable guide through the murky terrain of ethical reflection for the twenty-first century - an accessible invitation to conversation with western ethicists, ancient to contemporary, theoretical and applied. His goal is 'to cultivate a morally serious person' who engages the awkward questions and multifarious answers that dispose one to decision-making that enhances life and cares for others. The outcome is a remarkable textbook for anyone seeking perspective on today’s moral dilemmas through ethical discourse." Lucinda Huffaker, Director of the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, Wabash College

"This is an extremely helpful, calm and competent guide to thinking about ethics. With the help of thought experiments, it provides reasoned expositions of diverse points of view. I recommend it strongly." Keith Ward, Christ Church, University of Oxford"Do Morals Matter? by Ian S. Markham is an open-minded and highly readable exercise in the field of comparative religious ethics. What sets this book apart from similar works is Markham's proposal for a theoretical framework, grounded in case studies, to enable readers to form their own judgments about burning theological and moral topics in the current setting such as homosexuality, euthanasia, business ethics, just war theory, and the environment. Markham tackles contemporary moral dilemmas in the spirit of a give-and-take between conversation-partners, not as a fight between enemies. Beautifully written, carefully researched, and highly recommended, Do Morals Matter? will stimulate readers to think critically and openly about answers to many of today's most pressing religious and moral questions." Mark Wallace, Swarthmore College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405153775
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/25/2006
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.17 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian S. Markham is the Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary and Professor of Theology and Ethics. He is also Visiting Professor of Globalization, Ethics, and Islam at Leeds Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom. He is the author of numerous books including: Globalization, Ethics and Islam (2005), A Theology of Engagement (Blackwell, 2004), The Funeral Handbook (2003), September 11: Religious Perspectives and Consequences (2002), Theological Liberalism (2002), The Church Wedding Handbook (2000), World Religions Reader (Blackwell, 1998), Encountering Religion (Blackwell, 1998), and Truth and the Reality of God (1998).

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Table of Contents


1 Thinking about ethics.


Part One: Philosophical Ethics.

2 Why not do wrong?.

3 Is the ethical a human construct or a factual realm?.

4 Do you just do what is right or do you try to predict the outcomes?.

5 Natural law and virtue ethics.

6 Ethics and the Bible.

7 Learning from the wisdom of the world.

8 Humanism: do we need God to realize that people just matter?.


Part Two: Ethical Dilemmas.

9 Dilemmas in bed.

10 Dilemmas in business.

11 Dilemmas in medicine.

12 Dilemmas involving violence and power.

13 Dilemmas in government and leadership.

14 Dilemmas and the future: the environment, animals, and plants.


Part Three: Making a Decision.

15 Becoming a morally serious person.

16 Taking an ethical position.


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