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Christian Ethics: Options and Issues 0th Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The first part of the book is concerned mainly with approaches to Ethics in general and Christian Ethics in particular. After perusing the field and debunking moral relativism, Geisler concludes that the best ethical position is what he calls "Graded Absolutism." This basically means that certain situations require one to decide which of two conflicting absolutes to obey. Geisler is sure to clarify that this is different than Situation Ethics (by Joseph Fletcher and others) which states that the situation determines the rule. On the contrary, the graded nature of absolutes determines which rule to apply in a given situation. Overall, a good read which still has me thinking and referring back to the book.
1) Defend Christian ethics against non-Christian ones e.g. might makes right, good = pleasure. This includes showing that Christian ethics is deontological (duty-centred) rather than teleological (end-centred), e.g. utilitarianism. In particular, it is based on God's revelation. He rightly points out that even unbelievers have a law written on their hearts (Rom. 2:14-15), so they have no excuse for neglecting this general revelation. But one weakness is that Geisler insufficiently stresses that Scripture must be the guide for interpreting general revelation and for determining whether one's conscience is right.
2) Present a good defence that the Christian position is "graded absolutism", where moral absolutes exist, but a higher absolute exempts one from following a lower absolute. His gives the ethical dilemma of not telling the truth to save lives, describes how six different views deal with this, presents both pluses and minuses, then analyses them in detail in terms of Scripture to draw his conclusion.
3) Analyses hot topics such as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, homosexuality and "biomedical issues". He presents both sides' arguments, usually from science and Scripture, then effectively critiques the view he disagrees with. The arguments seem so effective that there's little I would change even though the book is now 12 years old. So the book is an excellent handbook for all Christians who want to argue effectively about moral issues.
Here is Geisler's own position, Graded Absolutism:
(1) There are higher and lower moral laws.
(2) There are unavoidable moral conflicts
(3) No guilt is imputed for the unavoidable.
(4) Love for God is more important than love for man.
(5) Obey God over Government
(6) Mercy over veracity (Nazis at the door).
Options and Applications:
He defends capital punishment by asking the question: Is punishment supposed to be “retributive” or “rehabilitative?” The Bible clearly supports the former. Punishment is to punish the offender. Nothing more, nothing less. And common sense shows how tyrannical the latter can be. If the offender is just a patient, then when he is “cured?” (Hint: whenever (if at all) the state says he is).
Geisler gives good responses to the opponents of capital punishment. In fact, if “rehabilitative” models of justice are necessarily suspect, then capital punishment wins by default.
Geisler defends the possibility of just war, including tactical nuclear strikes. A tactical nuclear strike against a larger army is not the same thing as launching thousands of ICBMs and will not destroy planet earth.
Makes a helpful distinction between “Antipromulgation” and “Anticompulsion” (241-242).Read more ›
There are some draw backs to this book though. Firstly, this book sometimes seems to read more like a stero manual, especially early on. Secondly, though this book tries to be objective in its survey of various views, Geisler tends to make it very evident what he believes the proper view is, and usually reserves his personal views for the end of each chapter. Thirdly, after the first 8 or 9 chapters or so, I tended to find myself simply skimming the book, as it became pretty easy to anticipate what he was going to say... which made the book rather dry to read. Forthly, I think it would have been nice if Geisler included a chapter on birth control. Finally, I think this book is a little out of date, and probably could use more interaction with more influencial theologians on each side of the various debates.
This book makes for a good introduction to Christian ethics, though it is not exactly a page turner. Ideal perhaps for Bible college text- which is why I read it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
great book, great author, written somewhat at a college level.Published 8 days ago by John J Bradshaw
Not an easy read for me but very interesting nonetheless. I highly recommend for anyone with concerns regarding confusion about ethics in todays enviroment.Published 17 months ago by Maurice Caron
This was required reading for my Master's course in Christian Ethics. I found the author to be fair-minded and thorough. Read morePublished on April 17, 2009 by William
The book exudes Geisler at his best straight to the point and unapologetic on his thoughts.Published on January 5, 2009 by GodsAmbassador
This book is divided into two parts, as the title suggests; options and issues. The options section goes through different philosophical frameworks of ethics-situationism, graded... Read morePublished on September 29, 2008 by Bobby Bambino
Book great condition at a great value. Received in a timely manner.Published on February 2, 2007 by Rosolyn Gaulden
Geisler manages to slaughter an entire army of straw-men in this book. I was rather disappointed, as Geisler is usually a very good author. Read morePublished on June 11, 2006 by Jesse Rouse
How you determine one's own human behavior? How do you define ethics when one believes the Bible is God's word? How do you write on this topic and keep it under a thousand pages? Read morePublished on February 25, 2006 by Philip S Roeda
Geisler builds the best straw man models that I have ver seen. He presents a general explanation of each of the models of ethical decision making. Read morePublished on January 11, 2002 by Dale Belvin