Faith in a Wounded World

WOA Approach to Ethics: Parts 3&4

WOA Approach to Ethics: Parts 3&4

Part 3: Jesus and the WOA Principle The WOA principle drives the mission of Jesus. He constantly moves to meet people on the margins of the social world of Galilee and Judea. The lack of direct references to widows, orphans, and aliens as vulnerable social groups does not negate our premise that the ethics of the gospel requires us to consider moral issues from the perspective of people in the borderlands. The following examples show the two features of WOA… Keep reading

WOA Approach to Ethics: Part 2

WOA Approach to Ethics: Part 2

Part 2: Defining the Widow, Orphan, and Exile   The traditions contained in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures span a period of almost 2000 years.[1] The mega-narrative has stories of creation, the early patriarchs, delivery from slavery in Egypt, settlement in the new land, the monarchy, a divided kingdom, exile and national humiliation, the return to Palestine, the domination of Greece and Rome, the mission of Jesus, and the birth of the early church. Life is contested and fragile at every… Keep reading

WOA Approach to Ethics: Part 1

WOA Approach to Ethics: Part 1

The WOA Approach to Ethics Gordon King & Rupen Das Rupen Das and I have have been colleagues at World Vision Canada and Canadian Baptist Ministries. He is one of Canada’s leading experts in humanitarian relief and international development. Over the past eight years Rupen has worked in the Middle East with the Lebanese Baptists and, most recently, with the European Baptist Federation based in Amersterdam. We share a mutual concern for people that live on the margins of their… Keep reading

Duty Approach to Ethics Part 2

Duty Approach to Ethics Part 2

Critique of Duty Ethics I will offer five initial observations about the duty approach to ethics and conclude by expressing my concern that “duties” can be defined in ways that actually lead us toward evil in the name of virtue. The principle that each human life has inherent value resonates with our Biblical faith traditions. We believe that each person was created in the image of God (Gen. 1.27). This doctrine asserts that each individual has the dignity of bearing… Keep reading

Duty Approach to Ethics Part 1

Duty Approach to Ethics Part 1

The Duty Approach to Ethics[1] There are two parts to my blog post this week. The first section provides a brief description of the duty approach to ethics. Part 2 offers a personal critique based on my understanding of following Jesus in the context of moral issues and ambiguities. Part 1: Description of the Duty Approach to Ethics Deontological ethics is the technical term for this approach to moral issues. The Greek noun deon can be translated as duty or… Keep reading

Utilitarian Ethics Part 2

Utilitarian Ethics Part 2

The Alberta Carbon Tax. A current issue of public morality in Alberta, Canada is the carbon tax that was implemented in January 2017. This tax requires payment by industry and individuals for the carbon dioxide we place in the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels. The rate has been set at $20 per tonne, meaning that gasoline prices rose by 4.5 cents a litre (about 20 cents a gallon in the US).   The government objective is to raise $9.5… Keep reading

Utilitarian Approach to Ethics Part 1

Utilitarian Approach to Ethics Part 1

Utilitarian ethics approaches a moral dilemma by asking a critical question: What action will result in the greatest happiness for the largest number of people? This first part of my article will describe utilitarian ethics and provide a biblical example related to Torah regulations of land ownership. Part 2 will offer a brief perspective on the public issue of a carbon tax in Alberta, Canada and some reflections on the use of utilitarian ethics by followers of Jesus. My presentation… Keep reading

Virtue Ethics Part 3

Virtue Ethics Part 3

What is distinct about a Christian virtue ethic? As mentioned previously, Christians do not have a monopoly on virtue ethics. However, we should be confident that we have an important contribution to make to the broader discussion. We can be grateful for the work of scholars like Alasdair McIntyre, Stanley Hauerwas, and Jonathan Wilson in emphasizing the importance of the development of virtues for the life and witness of the church. Here I will offer a few suggestions: drawing on… Keep reading

Virtue Ethics Part 2

Virtue Ethics Part 2

Christians have no sense of “ownership” on virtues and virtue ethics. When Paul penned his message to the Galatians, he was aware that four centuries earlier the Greek philosopher Aristotle had emphasized the importance of virtues. Aristotle distinguished between: Intellectual virtues: Traits that help us to think and reason well. Moral virtues: Qualities that help us to live and act well in community. Aristotle taught that virtues required practice; they could not simply be learned in an academy. He introduced… Keep reading

Virtue Ethics Part 1

Virtue Ethics Part 1

Virtue ethics offers a distinct approach to moral issues by concentrating on the character of social agents rather than an analysis of a particular dilemma. The foundational principle is that the actions of virtuous people will be morally sound and noble in nature. I will attempt to briefly outline and evaluate the virtue ethics position in three blog posts. The Christian faith has emphasized virtue ethics through the centuries. A good example is found in the New Testament in Galatians… Keep reading