Engaging Voices: Tales of Morality and Meaning in an Age of Global Warming

Engaging Voices: Tales of Morality and Meaning in an Age of Global Warming

by Roger S. Gottlieb
     
 

Our ecological dilemmas provoke powerful emotions and deeply contested views. How should we think about them? And how can we live together, or even talk together, when we cannot listen to people who think differently?

In a lively and at times very funny book, Roger S. Gottlieb ( A Greener Faith, This Sacred Earth, A Spirituality of Resistance) explores

…  See more details below

Overview

Our ecological dilemmas provoke powerful emotions and deeply contested views. How should we think about them? And how can we live together, or even talk together, when we cannot listen to people who think differently?

In a lively and at times very funny book, Roger S. Gottlieb ( A Greener Faith, This Sacred Earth, A Spirituality of Resistance) explores these questions in a collection of distinct but related philosophical short stories. Fictional characters with personalities, individual histories, and strong opinions wrestle with the meaning of life, the value of nature, animal rights, the roles of science and religion in environmentalism, and political choices facing environmental activists--as well as their own anger, fear, despair, and close-mindedness. Encountering forcefully articulated positions and engaging characters, readers will be moved to reconsider their own beliefs--and to examine personal barriers to truly listening to those "on the other side."

Baylor University Press

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This book of short stories begins quite unusually—a professor and lecturer (and the book's author) Gottlieb is fictitiously given this manuscript by an audience member. What follows are stories about choices and judgment, religion and ethics. In one tale, a skeptical teacher holds a class at a prison where the inmates fight over the truthfulness of the major world religions. At the end of the session, one inmate has the last word and asks if they are just arguing semantics when the real problems of the world lie in something even greater. In another story, a university chancellor receives a million donation with the stipulation it must be used to fund a comprehensive program. He summons the heads of several departments to choose among them, but realizes the greater strength in their unity. Gottlieb (A Greener Faith) carefully crafts morality tales that champion disparate yet constructive voices while still giving a platform to the myopic dissenters. While the characters' sole purpose is to facilitate these kinds of dialogues, the author's curious approach is a refreshing way to "engage" in these debates. (Mar.)
Capitalism Nature Socialism - Richard Plate

Engaging Voices would stand as a useful text even without the current climate of political stubbornness. For students, it provides an accessible introduction to a broad range of issues and ideas in the field of environmental ethics... for those already more familiar with these ideas, it provides a reminder that gaining wisdom does not imply deducing the ‘‘right’’ answers to sticky questions, but rather approaching those questions with humility and openness.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781602582606
Publisher:
Baylor University Press
Publication date:
03/01/2011
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

"And here Wendy was quite clear: if the cleanup helps the animals, fine. But we don’t do it for the animals; we only do it for the people. Only people count. Is that the way we all feel?"

Richard could hear the impatience in Erica’s voice. "This ain’t your seminar, Doc, so don’t start with questions for everybody else. What do you think?"

"Me? Oh, I don’t know," he sighed, as if he couldn’t carry a heavy weight any further. "I try to love the oak trees and my neighbor both. In a way, the oak tree is my neighbor as much as old Mr. Taubman who lives next door or that gorgeous widow Sarah Griffith who lives across the street. I don’t see why we can’t all get along.

"Mostly I hate the waste, the stupidity. Why do we have to choose between cleaning up the ghetto and saving the polar bears? Who says that’s the choice? Who? Maybe we could do both and skip the new bombers or the new makeup or a whole season of American Idol." He opened his eyes wide in mock horror.

adapted from an excerpt from Chapter Two

Baylor University Press

What People are saying about this

Kwok Pui-lan

In a deeply polarized political climate, Gottlieb’s book offers fresh insights of how we can save the planet and live together into the future with our moral and political differences. Timely and urgently needed, this compelling book challenges us to rethink political activism, spirituality, and community in new ways. I highly recommend it.

Paul Wapner

In this heart-opening and beautifully-written book, Roger Gottlieb shares moving stories of profound difference that reflect the urgent challenge of creating a moral community. Engaging Voices invites us to experience how opening ourselves to what others have to say—especially those we fundamentally disagree with—tests our moral courage in ways that accelerate inner growth, and provide pathways for improving our collective lives.

Holmes Rolston

A highly imaginative, if also down to earth, appeal for better listening to each other, hopeful, fearful, ambivalent in the midst of our differences, and how such listening can bring us to better caring for our common Earth.

Rabbi Michael Lerner

In these captivating stories Roger Gottlieb shows that fiction can still be a powerful way to engage with our most complex and pressing dilemmas. You will learn more philosophy by reading this one enjoyable and illuminating journey through contemporary morality, politics, and spirituality than you would by taking any ten philosophy courses at most universities. This book is certain to both move and provoke you–challenging old ways of thinking and preparing us all for the challenges of the coming decades of the 21st century.

Read More

Meet the Author

Roger S. Gottlieb is Professor of Philosophy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. A contributing editor to Tikkun and a prolific author, his most recent books include A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet's Future, The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology, and A Spirituality of Resistance: Finding a Peaceful Heart and Protecting the Earth. He lives in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Baylor University Press

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >