Overview

Using timely examples, J. Philip Wogaman illustrates how moral decision-making works on the personal level, national and global levels, and in communities of faith. He includes discussions of 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 ...
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Moral Dilemmas

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Overview

Using timely examples, J. Philip Wogaman illustrates how moral decision-making works on the personal level, national and global levels, and in communities of faith. He includes discussions of 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.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Wogaman (Christian ethics, emeritus, Wesley Theological Seminary; Christian Ethics: A Historical Introduction) adds to the academic literature on moral decision making with a brief and accessible work directed to Christian students. Intending to help readers debate ethical issues and make sound moral judgments in a Christian context, Wogaman proposes that God acts as a value center connecting ethics with the universal, allowing us to escape some of the problems of moral relativism. In the book's second half, Wogaman explores some difficult moral dilemmas such as abortion, affirmative action, and environmentalism. The author's liberal perspective comes through, and he does address some common conservative religious and secular arguments. However, the work would be more useful if he could adequately account for how two individuals holding the same Christian presumptions can come to radically different moral conclusions. Of little practical value for those who feel secure in their choices without recourse to theology, this work can help members of the Christian community come to their own moral conclusions while remaining true to their faith. Recommended for academic libraries.
—Steven Chabot

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611641813
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
  • Publication date: 3/2/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author


J. Philip Wogaman is former Senior Minister at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. and former Professor of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Wogaman is a past president of the Society of Christian Ethics of the United States and Canada and the author of several books on Christian ethics.
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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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