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Christian Ethics: A Very Short Introduction

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Christian ethics, writes theologian D. Stephen Long, is the pursuit of God's goodness by people on the way to a city not built by human hands. The cultivation of practical wisdom that comes from diverse sources, it draws on all that is good in God's creation and among the nations. In this Very Short Introduction, Long examines these diverse sources, discusses the relations Christian ethics, writes theologian D. Stephen Long, is the pursuit of God's goodness by people on the way to a city not built by human hands. The cultivation of practical wisdom that comes from diverse sources, it draws on all that is good in God's creation and among the nations. In this Very Short Introduction, Long examines these diverse sources, discusses the relationship between Christian, modern, and postmodern ethics, and explores practical issues including sex, money, and power. The book also examines some of the failures of the Christian tradition, including the crusades, the conquest, slavery, inquisitions, and the Galileo affair. Placing them in the context of the theory and practice of ethics and their historical perspective, Long notes the challenges they raise for Christian ethics. He concludes with a discussion of their implications in the modern era, considering how this affects our lives in the present age. Long recognizes the inherent difficulties in bringing together Christian and ethics but argues that this is an important task for both the Christian faith and for ethics. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.


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Christian ethics, writes theologian D. Stephen Long, is the pursuit of God's goodness by people on the way to a city not built by human hands. The cultivation of practical wisdom that comes from diverse sources, it draws on all that is good in God's creation and among the nations. In this Very Short Introduction, Long examines these diverse sources, discusses the relations Christian ethics, writes theologian D. Stephen Long, is the pursuit of God's goodness by people on the way to a city not built by human hands. The cultivation of practical wisdom that comes from diverse sources, it draws on all that is good in God's creation and among the nations. In this Very Short Introduction, Long examines these diverse sources, discusses the relationship between Christian, modern, and postmodern ethics, and explores practical issues including sex, money, and power. The book also examines some of the failures of the Christian tradition, including the crusades, the conquest, slavery, inquisitions, and the Galileo affair. Placing them in the context of the theory and practice of ethics and their historical perspective, Long notes the challenges they raise for Christian ethics. He concludes with a discussion of their implications in the modern era, considering how this affects our lives in the present age. Long recognizes the inherent difficulties in bringing together Christian and ethics but argues that this is an important task for both the Christian faith and for ethics. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

30 review for Christian Ethics: A Very Short Introduction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jakub Ferencik

    D. Stephen Long is a professor of Systematic Theology at Marquette University. I was a fan of Systematic Theology growing up and I still think that it's among the few branches of Christian thought that make sense. I am open to refutations of a literal interpretation of the Bible, however. Most reformed theologians are not, to my understanding. That aside, I was not expecting this book to be the way it is. Long addresses Virtue Ethics and how it differs with Christian Ethics. He then says that a D. Stephen Long is a professor of Systematic Theology at Marquette University. I was a fan of Systematic Theology growing up and I still think that it's among the few branches of Christian thought that make sense. I am open to refutations of a literal interpretation of the Bible, however. Most reformed theologians are not, to my understanding. That aside, I was not expecting this book to be the way it is. Long addresses Virtue Ethics and how it differs with Christian Ethics. He then says that a crucial element to the Christian idea of morality are a) the Trinity, and b) the Resurrection. This is where the book starts to get somewhat tediously theological rather than descriptive about the true nature of Christian Ethics. To be honest, I expected a brief synopsis of the major Christian figures' understanding of ethics, such as that of Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, then Luther, then perhaps Wesley & Spurgeon, to modern-day Evangelicalism. But Long's approach was much more ambiguous. . . He claims that the crusades, the Witch Hunt, & the Inquisition are not correlated with Christian claims (or lack thereof) about rights. He writes: "No official Church body still sanctions crusades, slavery, or the use of torture to investigate heretics, witches, or sinners (a practice that is, however, still justified by some 'civilized' secular nations against their enemies). Most of these corrections were internal to Christianity itself" (92). This is just misleading. Witches were killed because the Bible ordained it. Slavery may have originated before Judaism & Christianity, but slavery was encouraged in the Bible. In the 17th century, for example, we have no record of an anti-slavery sermon or text from Christian leaders condemning it. That is not an accident. He, then, also dismisses Utilitarianism because it is not based on Divine revelation (pp. 96) and then claims that ethicists replace God with ethics, Long argues. He also says that the 20th century can exemplify that "secularism failed" (99). Overall, not a great synopsis of Christian Ethics, in my humble view.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Audra Spiven

    This book is what the title promises: a very short introduction into the topic of Christian ethics. I do not feel like I have a decent grasp on the subject yet, though. Instead, I feel like I swam in a small, cordoned-off pond that is part of a vast ocean. I feel no closer to understanding that ocean than if I had remained on the shore and looked out. My best guess about what that means is that it indicates that this book is best read in partnership with other books. While this may be a good pri This book is what the title promises: a very short introduction into the topic of Christian ethics. I do not feel like I have a decent grasp on the subject yet, though. Instead, I feel like I swam in a small, cordoned-off pond that is part of a vast ocean. I feel no closer to understanding that ocean than if I had remained on the shore and looked out. My best guess about what that means is that it indicates that this book is best read in partnership with other books. While this may be a good primer or introduction, it certainly leaves a lot unsaid and untaught (which I know was its goal), so I don't think I would recommend this book as a solo read, but I do think it was a good way for me to be introduced to the topic at large before moving on to much larger, much more boring volumes.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    It's clear that the concept of Christian Ethics is, at best, convoluted as each ethical question has been interpreted and reinterpreted from scripture over the centuries. In truth though, Christian Ethics is incoherent and entirely relative. Slavery was OK, now it is not. Homosexuality was definitely not OK, now some Christians are not so sure. When the author compares the use of fetal tissue in medical research to cannibalism, I can only conclude that he is clutching at scriptural straws. Hence, It's clear that the concept of Christian Ethics is, at best, convoluted as each ethical question has been interpreted and reinterpreted from scripture over the centuries. In truth though, Christian Ethics is incoherent and entirely relative. Slavery was OK, now it is not. Homosexuality was definitely not OK, now some Christians are not so sure. When the author compares the use of fetal tissue in medical research to cannibalism, I can only conclude that he is clutching at scriptural straws. Hence, I finished this book none the wiser as to what represents Christian Ethics, but untroubled by this inevitable conclusion.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Josep Marti

    A very short introduction indeed, but I found it useful. I specially liked the simple explanation that the author offers or Gifts (Isaiah 11), Theological Virtues (I Cor 13 and Aristotle), Beatitudes and the Fruits of the Spirit; and how they have helped people from different traditions build different variations of Christian ethics.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Scott Andrews

    not for me I do like that Long has a relationship to Radical orthodoxy, which he evidently used as a basis for his work, The Divine Economy: Theology and Market. I find that intriguing. But, I did not like the organization or flow of this book. Maybe a different editor would have helped? It certainly is not enjoyable, so why read it when so many other options are out there?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    Sometimes, when you see a series of books which have the word introduction in them, there is a concern that not all books would justify being in the series. I’m pleased to say this is not the case with this book. It’s a great little introduction and would help any Christian who is looking to understand the basis upon which any moral decision can be made.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alan Hughes

    Christian ethics, writes theologian D. Stephen Long, is the pursuit of God's goodness by people "on the way" to a city not built by human hands. The cultivation of practical wisdom that comes from diverse sources, it draws on all that is good in God's creation and among the nations. In this Very Short Introduction, Long examines these diverse sources, discusses the relationship between Christian, modern, and postmodern ethics, and explores practical issues including sex, money, and power. The bo Christian ethics, writes theologian D. Stephen Long, is the pursuit of God's goodness by people "on the way" to a city not built by human hands. The cultivation of practical wisdom that comes from diverse sources, it draws on all that is good in God's creation and among the nations. In this Very Short Introduction, Long examines these diverse sources, discusses the relationship between Christian, modern, and postmodern ethics, and explores practical issues including sex, money, and power. The book also examines some of the failures of the Christian tradition, including the crusades, the conquest, slavery, inquisitions, and the Galileo affair. Placing them in the context of the theory and practice of ethics and their historical perspective, Long notes the challenges they raise for Christian ethics. He concludes with a discussion of their implications in the modern era, considering how this affects our lives in the present age. Long recognizes the inherent difficulties in bringing together "Christian" and "ethics" but argues that this is an important task for both the Christian faith and for ethics.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Wright

    Ethics is really just a fancy word philosophers use for the various answers to the question, 'What should we do?' Starting with the idea of 'Christian', the question is not all that difficult to answer. Despite what many people think (especially today), Christian or otherwise, there has always been a more-or-less uncomplicated agreement - save for quibbling over details and motives - among Christians about What We Should Do, the difficulty being that of actually doing it. Dr Long's book is mainly Ethics is really just a fancy word philosophers use for the various answers to the question, 'What should we do?' Starting with the idea of 'Christian', the question is not all that difficult to answer. Despite what many people think (especially today), Christian or otherwise, there has always been a more-or-less uncomplicated agreement - save for quibbling over details and motives - among Christians about What We Should Do, the difficulty being that of actually doing it. Dr Long's book is mainly about the quibbling over details and motives. He draws on a variety of sources, not just the Bible but Aristotle and many theological authors over the centuries. When I told a friend I was reading this, she said, 'Oh, but you know it all already!' She was quite mistaken; there is a good deal for most people to learn here. It would perhaps have been better to see more examples of the interface between Christian ideas about ethics and how they have worked out in practice - Christianity is, after all, a religion, not an academic thought-experiment - but otherwise Long's analysis is commendable.

  9. 4 out of 5

    jzthompson

    Think I'd have to read this over again when I've got a bit more functioning mental bandwidth to get the most out of it. interesting all the same. Think I'd have to read this over again when I've got a bit more functioning mental bandwidth to get the most out of it. interesting all the same.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mustafa

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gerrit G.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jon Mack

  13. 5 out of 5

    Keith Suckling

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chris Spotts

  16. 4 out of 5

    B

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Cowden

  18. 5 out of 5

    John

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Smith

  20. 4 out of 5

    deebeeem

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dale Schaeffer

  22. 5 out of 5

    Erich Deptolla

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sly Samudre

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joe Stobaugh

  25. 5 out of 5

    Helen Rees

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cariño

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ricky Dodd

  29. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  30. 5 out of 5

    Fergal

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