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

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

by Darrell J. Fasching
     
 

ISBN-10: 0791413764

ISBN-13: 9780791413760

Pub. Date: 07/01/1993

Publisher: State University of New York Press

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

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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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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791413760
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
07/01/1993
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
366

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Prologue: The Challenge of Babel - From Alienation to Ethics After Auschwitz and Hiroshima1
Pt. IThe Promise of Utopia and the Threat of Apocalypse
1Technology and the Dialectics of Apocalypse and Utopia19
The Coming of the Millennium19
Language, Technique, and the Utopianism of the Body30
The Technological City as Utopian Horizon of the Body-Self34
The Apocalyptic Deformation of Utopianism: Procrustean and Protean Distortions37
Doubt and Utopian Transcendence42
The Dialectics of Apocalypse and Utopia46
2The Narrative Ambivalence of a Technological Civilization: Apocalypse or Utopia?55
Technopolis: The Secular City as Utopian55
Auschwitz: The Secular City as Apocalyptic60
Technopolis: The Sacralization of the Secular City68
From Auschwitz to Hiroshima: Technopolis and the Abyss of the Demonic74
3From Auschwitz to Hiroshima: The Apocalyptic Dark Night81
Doubling and the Demonic Narrative of Auschwitz: Killing in Order to Heal81
From Auschwitz to Hiroshima: The Demonic Inversion of the Narrative Traditions of the Holy - East and West96
From Trinity to the Bhagavad Gita: Wounding in Order to Heal, Slaying to Make Alive100
The Apocalyptic Dark Night and the MAD-ness of Planetary Suicide115
Pt. IIAfter Auschwitz and Hiroshima: Utopian Ethics for an Apocalyptic Age
4The Ethical Challenge of Auschwitz and Hiroshima to Technological Utopianism123
Ethics: From Sacred Narratives to Utopian Critique123
Theology of Culture as the Utopian Critique of Technical Civilization134
The Dialectics of the Critique of Culture: From the Sacred and Profane to the Holy and Secular141
The Challenge of Auschwitz and Hiroshima: From Sacred Morality to Alienation and Ethics155
5Utopian Ethics: From Human Dignity to Human Rights and Human Liberation161
The Utopianism of Job: From the Ethics of Obedience to the Ethics of Audacity161
Secular Holiness in Defense of Human Dignity: The Commanding Voice from Auschwitz and the UN Declaration of Human Rights176
The Convergence of Utopian Narratives: From Abraham and Siddhartha to Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.202
6Beyond Technopolis: The Utopian Promise of Babel213
The Linguistic and Narrative Poverty of Secularism214
Welcoming the Stranger as the Utopian Norm of Secular Reason220
Technobureaucratic Rationality and the "Myth" of Human Rights231
From Narrative Diversity to the Utopian Promise of Babel238
7A Utopian Vision: Narrative Ethics in a MAD World247
Beyond the Naked Public Square247
The Utopian Quest in an Age of Apocalyptic Darkness276
Utopian Technopoesis and the Limits of Political Realism285
From Apocalyptic MAD-ness to Utopian Madness: Public Policy Ethics as Critique of the Narrative Imagination296
Epilogue: The Secular University, Religious Studies, and Theological Ethics After Auschwitz and Hiroshima317
Appendix: The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights327
Notes333
Index359

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