Moral Dilemmas

Moral Dilemmas

by J. Philip Wogaman
     
 

How can we make decisions that are consistent with our basic values? We must first, J. Philip Wogaman says, identify basic moral presumptions that can guide our thought as we face moral dilemmas. These basic moral presumptions include equality, grace, the value of human life, the unity of humankind, preferential claims for the poor and marginalized, and the

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Overview

How can we make decisions that are consistent with our basic values? We must first, J. Philip Wogaman says, identify basic moral presumptions that can guide our thought as we face moral dilemmas. These basic moral presumptions include equality, grace, the value of human life, the unity of humankind, preferential claims for the poor and marginalized, and the goodness of creation. The burden of proof, he argues, must be borne by decisions that are contrary to such presumptions. He pulls into the conversation difficult ethical issues such as divorce, sexuality, abortion, political choices, economic justice, affirmative action, homosexuality, nuclear disarmament, economic globalization, global warming, international security, environmental policies, and military power. In the process, he provides a smart and helpful guide to Christian ethical behavior.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780664233167
Publisher:
Westminster John Knox Press
Publication date:
03/02/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
184
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction xiii

Part 1 Starting Points 1

1 Some Decisions Are Easier Than Others 3

Easy Decisions 3

More Difficult Decisions 6

Moral Dilemmas 9

2 The Deep Basis of the Moral Life 13

Practical Decision-Making 14

Why Ethics Is Ultimately Religious 15

Acceptable and Unacceptable Forms of Revelation 18

The Useful Incompleteness of Religious Tradition 20

Moral Virtue and Character 21

Intuition and Deliberation in Moral Decision-Making 23

3 The Absolute and the Relative in Moral Life 26

Have We Become Too Relativistic? 27

The Natural-Law Approach 30

God as the Absolute 33

Facts and Values 35

Individual Integrity and Communal Authority 39

The Transcendent Absolute 41

Rules and Relationships 42

4 The Moral Burden of Proof 46

A Legal Analogy 46

Applying the Idea of "Presumption" to Ethical Decision-Making 49

Moral Presumptions as a Common Starting Point 52

5 Basic Moral Presumptions 57

Uses of Scripture 57

Positive Christian Value Presumptions 59

The Limits and Flaws in Human Nature 70

Presumptions That Preserve Balance 74

A Presumption for Scripture and Tradition 78

When Presumptions Are in Conflict 79

Part 2 Applications and Illustrations 81

6 Difficult Personal Decisions 83

Sexual Intimacy and Family Life 84

Contraception and Abortion 86

Choosing a Spouse 89

Divorce 91

Vocational Choices 94

The Uses of Our Money 95

Political Choices 97

7 Hard Choices in the Public Arena 101

Abortion 102

Homosexuality 106

The Dilemma of "Affirmative Action" 109

Securing Economic Justice 112

Environmental Policies 117

Criminal Justice 119

Uses of Military Power 122

8 Hard Choices at the Global Level125

International Institution Building 125

International Security and Policing 128

Nuclear Disarmament 133

Economic Globalization 136

Global Warming 141

9 Hard Choices in Communities of Faith 146

Appendix Avoiding Pitfalls in Moral Argument 150

Notes 163

Index 167

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