Are humans really different from animals and, if so, how? And what difference does the answer make for our understanding of human morality? Through questions such as these, Alasdair MacIntyre brings his philosophy into dialogue with recent studies of dolphins, gorillas and other animals.
What counts as the good life? What constitutes happiness? What do we really need in order to flourish as human beings? Many of us would associate these questions with the late-night conversations we love to have with friends or the subjects we explore together on long afternoon walks.
Why is that man holding a sign, Daddy?” “He wants us to give him some money.” “Why does he want money, Daddy?” “Because he doesn’t have any and he’s hungry.” “Why aren’t you giving him any money, Daddy?” “Because I’m not sure he’s really going to spend it on food . . . errr . . .
In the late 1970s, Dieter Georgi would begin his New Testament ethics class by speaking of hunger. In lectures that moved us students to tears, he spoke of the absolute necessity of placing ethics into real-world, tangible contexts, since the biblical writings emerged from specific contexts.
A theological engagement with the current global environmental crisis needs to do four things. It needs to show a thorough grasp of the scientific and historical context in which these questions are being discussed.
Two stories run through this book. The first is about the devastation of Crow culture in the 19th century as whites settled the region that is now southeastern Montana and northern Wyoming; the second concerns not the devastation of Crow culture but the vulnerability of our own culture after the events of 9/11.
To reimagine Christian ethics, Samuel Wells draws on the liturgy as his chief resource. That he does so in accessible prose without pausing to wrangle with other ethicists is welcome enough—all pastors and many laypeople could read this book profitably.