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Understanding Religious Ethics

Charles Mathewes (Wiley-Blackwell: May 2010), 280 pages.

This accessible introduction to religious ethics focuses on the major forms of ethical reasoning encompassing the three “Abrahamic” religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It examines the ethical dimensions of these faiths, both individually and comparatively, by exploring how and what they think about a series of important issues such as friendship, marriage, homosexuality, lying, forgiveness and its limits, the death penalty, the environment, warfare, and the meaning of work, career, and vocation. In doing all of this, the book offers insight both into these particular traditions and into the common moral challenges confronting all people today. The book pays serious attention not just to what each faith has to say about an issue, but also to how each faith explains and defends its moral viewpoints. Equal attention is given to each faith’s deliberation and judgments on specific issues, the styles and modes of reasoning by which those judgments are reached, and the ways in which those judgments reveal some of these traditions’ deepest convictions about God, the cosmos, and humanity. Timely and insightful, Understanding Religious Ethics offers a powerful model of how the traditions can be understood and engaged charitably and critically – the sort of understanding and engagement that will be increasingly necessary in the twenty-first century. ~ Product Description

Table of Contents

    • Acknowledgments vi
    • Introduction: Conviction and Argument 1
  • Part I Preliminaries 19
    • 1 God and Morality 21
    • 2 Jewish Ethics 38
    • 3 Christian Ethics 53
    • 4 Islamic Ethics 65
  • Part II Personal Matters 81
    • 5 Friendship 83
    • 6 Sexuality 91
    • 7 Marriage and Family 106
    • 8 Lying 118
    • 9 Forgiveness 134
  • Part III Social Matters 145
    • 10 Love and Justice 147
    • 11 Duty, Law, Conscience 157
    • 12 Capital Punishment 167
    • 13 War (I): Towards War 182
    • 14 War (II): In War 199
    • 15 Religion and the Environment 209
  • Part IV The Last Things 223
    • 16 Pursuits of Happiness: Labor, Leisure, and Life 225
    • 17 Good and Evil 239
    • Conclusion: What’s So Funny ’bout Peace, Love, and Understanding? 254
    • Notes 262
    • Index 270