Human Evolution and Christian Ethics

Human Evolution and Christian Ethics

by Stephen J. Pope
Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press
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Human Evolution and Christian Ethics

Christian ethics has increasingly assumed a central place within academic theology. At the same time the growing power and ambiguity of modern science and the rising dissatisfaction within the social sciences about claims in value-neutrality have prompted renewed interest in ethics within the secular academic world. There is, therefore, a need for studies in Christian ethics which, as well as being concerned with the relevance of Christian ethics to the present-day secular debate, are well informed about parallel discussions in recent philosophy, science or social science. New Studies in Christian Ethics aims to provide books that do this at the highest intellectual level and demonstrate that Christian ethics can make a distinctive contribution to this debate - either in moral substance or in terms of underlying moral justifications.

Can the origins of morality be explained entirely in evolutionary terms? If so, what are the implications for Christian moral theology and ethics? Is the latter redundant, as socio-biologists often assert? Stephen Pope argues that theologians need to engage with evolutionary theory rather than ignoring it. He shows that our growing knowledge of human evolution is compatible with Christian faith and morality, provided that the former is not interpreted reductionistically and the latter is not understood in fundamentalist ways. Christian ethics ought to incorporate evolutionary approaches to human nature to the extent that they provide helpful knowledge of the conditions of human flourishing, both collective and individual. From this perspective, a strong affirmation of human dignity and appreciation for the theological virtues of faith, hope, andcharity is consistent with a revised account of natural law and the cardinal virtues.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521175302
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 03/03/2011
Series: New Studies in Christian Ethics Series , #28
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 374
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.83(d)

Table of Contents

General editor's preface     xi
Acknowledgments     xii
Introduction     1
Evolution and religion     8
The indifference of Christian ethics to human evolution     32
Varieties of reductionism     56
Faith, creation, and evolution     76
Chance and purpose in evolution     111
Human nature and human flourishing     129
Freedom and responsibility     158
Human dignity and common descent     188
Christian love and evolutionary altruism     214
The natural roots of morality     250
Natural law in an evolutionary context     268
Sex, marriage, and family     297
Bibliography     320
Index of scriptural citations     346
Index of names and subjects     348

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