Can Ethics Be Christian?

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University of Chicago Press, 1975 - Religion - 191 pages
Is there a special relation between religious beliefs and moral behavior? In particular, is there a distinctive Christian moral character and how is this manifested in moral actions? The influential theologian James M. Gustafson probes these questions and offers an analysis of the distinctively religious reasons of the "heart and mind" which constitute the basis for a Christian ethics.

Professor Gustafson grounds his discussion in a concrete example of moral conduct which deeply impressed him. The incident—narrated in detail at the start and referred to throughout—concerns a nonreligious colleague who came to the aid of an intoxicated soldier. Although seemingly trivial, this incident, in the author's view, approximates the normal sorts of experiences in which individuals have to make moral decisions every day; it becomes a touchstone to investigate the logical, social, and religious elements in moral decision making.


1 Moral Dimensions of Experience
2 The Sort of Person One Is
3 Christian Faith and the Sort of Person One Becomes
4 Christian Faith and the Reasons of Mind and Heart for Being Moral
5 Theological Interpretation of the Significance of Circumstances
6 Religious Beliefs and the Determination of Conduct
7 Can Ethics Be Christian? Some Conclusions

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About the author (1975)

James M. Gustafson is University Professor in the Divinity School and in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. His other books include Ethics from Theocentric Perspective, volumes 1 and 2; Christ and the Moral Life; Protestant and Roman Catholic Ethics; and Treasure in Earthen Vessels; The Church as a Human Community, all published by the University of Chicago Press.

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