In March, Palgrave Macmillan will release Ethical Exploration in a Multifaith Society by Catherine Shelley (Solicitor, Archbishop’s Faculty Office). The publisher’s description follows:
This book considers the theory and application of ethics for a multifaith society. Much ethics taught in the UK has been dominated by Christian ethics, their relation to secularism and by the Enlightenment’s reaction against theology as a basis for ethical thought. In contrast to these perspectives this book brings secular and theological ethics into dialogue, considering the degree to which secular ethics has common roots with theological perspectives from various traditions. The book assesses the application of ethical and theological principles in today’s multifaith society. Aiming to enhance ethical understanding and awareness across divergent worldviews, identifying at what points divergence does occur, the author examines topics such as reason and ethics in theology, natural law, utilitarianism and deontology and differences of approach to interpreting religious scriptures. The focus on ethical methods is illustrated through topical concerns in religion and ethics, for example sexuality, marriage and education and religion in relation to global ethics and human rights.
In July, Columbia University Press will release “Friends and Other Strangers: Studies in Religion, Ethics, and Culture,” by Richard B. Miller (University of Chicago Divinity School). The publisher’s description follows:
Richard B. Miller aims to stimulate new work in religious ethics through discussions of ethnography, ethnocentrism, relativism, and moral criticism; the ethics of empathy; the meaning of moral responsibility in relation to children and friends; civic virtue, loyalty, war, and alterity; the normative and psychological dimensions of memory; and religion and democratic life.
In June, the University of California Press will release “Becoming Religious in a Secular Age,” by Mark Elmore (University of California, Davis). The publisher’s description follows:
Religion is commonly viewed as a timeless element of the human inheritance, but in the Western Himalayas the community of Himachal Pradesh discovered its religion only after India became an independent secular state. Based on extensive ethnographic and archival work, Becoming Religious in a Secular Age tells the story of this discovery and how it transformed a community’s relations to its past, to its members, and to those outside the community. And, as Mark Elmore demonstrates, Himachali religion offers a unique opportunity to reimagine relations between religion and secularity. Tracing the emergence of religion, Elmore shows that modern secularity is not so much the eradication of religion as the very condition for its development. Showing us that to become a modern, ethical subject is to become religious, this book creatively augments our understanding of both religion and modernity.
In February, Springer Publishing will release “The Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics” edited by Stanley D. Brunn (University of Kentucky). The publisher’s description follows:
This extensive work explores the changing world of religions, faiths and practices. It discusses a broad range of issues and phenomena that are related to religion, including nature, ethics, secularization, gender and identity. Broadening the context, it studies the interrelation between religion and other fields, including education, business, economics and law. The book presents a vast array of examples to illustrate the changes that have taken place and have led to a new world map of religions.
Beginning with an introduction of the concept of the “changing world religion map”, the book first focuses on nature, ethics and the environment. It examines humankind’s eternal search for the sacred, and discusses the emergence of “green” religion as a theme that cuts across many faiths. Next, the book turns to the theme of the pilgrimage, illustrated by many examples from all parts of the world. In its discussion of the interrelation between religion and education, it looks at the role of missionary movements. It explains the relationship between religion, business, economics and law by means of a discussion of legal and moral frameworks, and the financial and business issues of religious organizations. The next part of the book explores the many “new faces” that are part of the religious landscape and culture of the Global North (Europe, Russia, Australia and New Zealand, the U.S. and Canada) and the Global South (Latin America, Africa and Asia). It does so by looking at specific population movements, diasporas, and the impact of globalization. The volume next turns to secularization as both a phenomenon occurring in the Global religious North, and as an emerging and distinguishing feature in the metropolitan, cosmopolitan and gateway cities and regions in the Global South. The final part of the book explores the changing world of religion in regards to gender and identity issues, the political/religious nexus, and the new worlds associated with the virtual technologies and visual media.
In September, Ashgate Publishing released “Sensible Religion” edited by Christopher Lewis (University of Oxford) and Dan Cohn-Sherbok (University of Wales). The publisher’s description follows:
Around the globe religion is under attack. Humanists, secularists and atheists depict believers as deluded and dangerous. The aim of this book is to challenge this perception. Sensible Religion defends the validity and emphasises the excitement of the religious quest across the faiths. It demonstrates that the practice of sensible religion is often a courageous path pitted against religious extremism and secularism. Written by committed believers from the major world’s faiths, the book endorses the term ‘sensible’ as expressing religious reasonableness as well as sensitivity to criticism and new insights. Followers of the different traditions live ordinary lives in the mainstream of the world. This volume therefore addresses beliefs and the manner in which these convictions relate to social, political and ethical action. Countering the argument that religion is at root extremist and irrational, “Sensible Religion” brings together thoughtful and critical reflections by leading thinkers about humanity’s spiritual quest.
This March, Princeton University Press will publish The Moral Background: An Inquiry into the History of Business Ethics by Gabriel Abend (New York University). The publisher’s description follows.
In recent years, many disciplines have become interested in the scientific study of morality. However, a conceptual framework for this work is still lacking. In The Moral Background, Gabriel Abend develops just such a framework and uses it to investigate the history of business ethics in the United States from the 1850s to the 1930s.
According to Abend, morality consists of three levels: moral and immoral behavior, or the behavioral level; moral understandings and norms, or the normative level; and the moral background, which includes what moral concepts exist in a society, what moral methods can be used, what reasons can be given, and what objects can be morally evaluated at all. This background underlies the behavioral and normative levels; it supports, facilitates, and enables them.
Through this perspective, Abend historically examines the work of numerous business ethicists and organizations–such as Protestant ministers, business associations, and business schools–and identifies two types of moral background. “Standards of Practice” is characterized by its scientific worldview, moral relativism, and emphasis on individuals’ actions and decisions. The “Christian Merchant” type is characterized by its Christian worldview, moral objectivism, and conception of a person’s life as a unity.
The Moral Background offers both an original account of the history of business ethics and a novel framework for understanding and investigating morality in general.
This morning, I participated in Forum 2000’s second law-and-religion panel, “Religion, Ethics, and Law.” The panel (below) addressed the growing “divorce” between law and moral principles and the influence of secularization on law and ethics. The panel was chaired by Jiří Pehe, Director of NYU-Prague. Tomáš Halík, a sociologist and President of the Czech Christian Academy, opened the panel by discussing the different concepts of law in Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The first two religions, Halík said, are essentially about law, unlike Christianity, which is essentially about faith; the first two emphasize orthopraxy, while Christianity emphasizes orthodoxy. He noted that Western law has been influenced both by Christian roots and by the secularizing effect of the Enlightenment, which was itself “the unwanted child of Christianity.” I followed with a discussion of the distinction between moral and legal advice in American lawyers’ ethics. Over time, I showed, American legal ethics have minimized the lawyer’s role as moral counselor; although 100 years ago a lawyer had a duty to impress upon his client the need for “strict compliance” with “moral law,” nowadays a lawyer’s duty is to provide legal, not moral advice. I argued that the change could be understood, in part, as an effect of secularization. William Cook, Professor of History and Religion at SUNY, discussed Tocqueville’s insights into private associations and their role in promoting democracy. Günther Virt, Professor of Theology at the University of Vienna, spoke about translating faith commitments into public policy arguments, specifically, his experience working on bioethics committees in the Council of Europe and the European Union. (A great line: the increasing number of ethics committees in the West today is evidence of an ethical crisis). He also discussed human rights; although human rights can be justified intellectually without religion, he argued, religion provides the necessary motivation for honoring human rights in particular circumstances. Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation, ended the panel with a discussion of the dialectic between faith and reason in all three Abrahamic religions. He argued that the key concept in all these religions is not conflict, but synthesis, between faith and reason. – MLM
*UPDATE: You can now watch the video from the “Religion, Ethics and Law” Panel here. -ARH[vodpod id=Video.15541931&w=425&h=350&fv=bufferlength%3D5%26amp%3Brepeat%3Dalways%26amp%3Bstretching%3Duniform%26amp%3Bcontrolbar.position%3Dover%26amp%3Bcontrolbar.idlehide%3Dtrue%26amp%3Bdock%3Dfalse%26amp%3Bicons%3Dtrue%26amp%3Bautostart%3Dfalse%26amp%3Bimage%3D%2Fimg%2Flayout%2F_default3.jpg%26amp%3Bstreamer%3Drtmp%3A%2F%2Fbiztube.cz%3A443%2Fforum2000%26amp%3Bfile%3Dforum2000-forumhall-20111011-1.f4v]