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4 - Globalization and Christian Ethics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 September 2009

Max L. Stackhouse
Affiliation:
Rimmer and Ruth de Vries, Professor of Reformed Theology and Public Life Princeton, Theological Seminary
William M. Sullivan
Affiliation:
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Education
Will Kymlicka
Affiliation:
Queen's University, Ontario
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Summary

There is no single attitude or program, statement, or orientation that articulates a Christian approach to the globalization of ethics, or, for that matter, to global trends in society, economics, culture, technology, law, or politics, which are often the carriers of religiously rooted ethical principles and ends. That is in part because there are competing definitions of what globalization is, its sources, range, and effects, and in part because there are several alternative understandings of what the most important features of Christian ethics are. Neither the biblical resources nor the classical traditions present Christians with a monolithic perspective. Although there is one Christ, he is portrayed in the Gospels by many authors, and although there is one God, that unity is held to be constituted by a trinitarian set of “persons” in interactive relationship.

In ethics as well as in theology, which is always a companion to ethics in the Christian tradition, several key modes of normative discourse have been joined in various ways in various parts of the tradition. Thus, in order to focus the discussion, so that it does not sprawl in all directions, I shall proceed in four steps. First, I will describe what I take to be the major modes of Christian moral discourse needed to address this question of the globalization of ethics. Second, after setting out these modes of moral discourse, and emphasizing how they necessarily interrelate in all actual Christian moral judgments, I will use this approach to evaluate the relative merits of two major, antithetical, understandings of globalization in debate among Christians today.

Type
Chapter
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The Globalization of Ethics
Religious and Secular Perspectives
, pp. 53 - 74
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

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