The Ethical Challenge of Auschwitz and Hiroshima: Apocalypse or Utopia?

The Ethical Challenge of Auschwitz and Hiroshima: Apocalypse or Utopia?

by Darrell J. Fasching
     
 

This book addresses the problem of religion, ethics, and public policy in a global technological civilization. It attempts to do what narrative ethicists have said cannot be done—to construct a cross-cultural ethic of human dignity, human rights, and human liberation which respects the diversity of narrative traditions. It seeks to do this without succumbing to… See more details below

Overview

This book addresses the problem of religion, ethics, and public policy in a global technological civilization. It attempts to do what narrative ethicists have said cannot be done—to construct a cross-cultural ethic of human dignity, human rights, and human liberation which respects the diversity of narrative traditions. It seeks to do this without succumbing to either ethical relativism or ethical absolutism.

The author confronts directly the dominant narrative of our technological civilization: the Janus-faced myths of “Apocalypse or Utopia.” Through this myth, we view technology ambivalently, as both the object of our dread and the source of our hope. The myth thus renders us ethically impotent: the very strength of our literal utopian euphoria sends us careening toward some literal apocalyptic “final solution.” The demonic narrative that dominated Auschwitz (“killing in order to heal”) is part of this Janus-faced technological mythos that emerged out of Hiroshima. And it is this mythic narrative which underlies and structures much of public policy in our nuclear age.

This book proposes a coalition of members of holy communities and secular groups, organized to prevent any future eruptions of the demonic. Its goal is to construct a bridge not only over the abyss between religions, East and West, but also between religious and secular ethics.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Confronts the Janus-faced myth of technology as both the object of dread and the source of hope, which leads both to the demonic final solution and to the merciful, healing sacrifice. Attempts what ethicists have claimed is impossible: a cross-cultural ethic of human dignity, human rights, and human liberation. Proposes a coalition of religious and secular, and eastern and western, groups to prevent any future eruptions of the demonic. Paper edition (unseen), $16.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791413753
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
07/01/1993
Pages:
366

Meet the Author

Darrell J. Fasching is Professor of Religious Studies and Associate Dean for Faculty Development of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Florida, Tampa.

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