From time to time I like to sit down with Christians and have discussions where any question goes. There are no limits. So while we drink coffee, we’ll come up with questions that we all are interested in knowing what God and Scripture would have us think. Sometimes our questions are silly: Did Adam have a belly button? or Did God choose people before He planned the Fall or did He plan the Fall before He chose people? Yeah, have fun with those questions…
But sometimes our questions are very serious and bring up extremely important ethical issues. For many of us, the subjects are important because they intersect with our lives (should we use birth control?) or they intersect in the lives of people we care about and/or are trying to reach with the gospel (e.g., homosexuality).
This is where the subject of ethics and morality comes into play. The Feinberg’s write,
“Terms like “ethics,” “morals,” and “morality” are often used synonymously. The same is true of “ethical” and “moral.”… To act ethically or morally means to act in accord with accepted rules of conduct that cover moral (as opposed to non-moral) matters. To have ethics or a morality is to hold a set of believes about what is good and evil, commanded and forbidden. To “do”ethics or moral philosophy is to reflect on such issues as the meaning of terms such as “good” and “ought” and the method of justifying ethical rules” (p.21).
So this book is about right and wrong and how, specifically, Christians should think about the issues the authors address, though the book also provides somewhat of an “apologetic” for a Christian world view when thinking about morality.
I have really enjoyed this book. I’m not convinced on every detail that the authors present, but I really appreciate how thorough the book is, after all, the book is nearly 850 pages long!
Some of the subjects covered are as follows:
- Capital Punishment
- Sex & Birth Control
- Genetic Engineering
- Stem Cell Technology
- Divorce & Remarriage
- The Christian and the Secular State
There’s a lot covered in this book and I really recommend that you purchase a copy. At the very least, you’ll have a reference to consult concerning a variety of subjects that you may have never considered before or you’ll find some help in thinking through the different perspectives that other Christians have held regarding those subjects.
Update: Brian Fulthorp wisely pointed out that a major “selling-point” for this book is that the Feinberg’s provide substantially solid exegesis for the subjects that they tackle.
For pastors, scholars, and theologians this is important. This is important for all Christians who take God’s Word seriously because Ethics for a Brave new World provides significant biblical reflection on important subjects (see above). As I was telling Brian (view Facebook), I was surprised at how much exegetical work went into this project. This is not simply a psychological or sociological study on morality; rather, it’s serious interaction with the issues and with how Christians should respond and think in relation to what is revealed in the scriptures.