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Godless Morality Paperback – July 30, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

* A passionate, provocative and common sense challenge to easy cant. The Observer * Lucid, convincing and manifestly compassionate -- Mary Warnock * A book of morals for our brave new world, by a very wise man indeed. Inspiring. Fascinating. Full of hope -- Fay Weldon * This is a courageous book for a bishop to write, and everything it says about morality is right and true Literary Review * His conclusions are refreshing ... a brave and scholarly book Observer

About the Author

One of the most outspoken and best-loved figures in the modern church, Richard Holloway recently stood down as the Bishop of Edinburgh. He has written for many newspapers including the Times, the Guardian, the Sunday Herald, and the Scotsman, and he presented his own series on BBC Television. His books include Doubts and Loves and On Forgiveness.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate UK (July 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841955787
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841955780
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #649,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Bishop Holloway presents cogent arguments for reconsidering some of our moral positions, reminding us that religion has often been used to lock us into conformity with moral regulations that are in fact culturally determined. Many of us are no longer willing to base our morality on "blind obedience to any authority, including what is alleged to be divine authority." As our thinking about authority evolves, we may require a "more dynamic understanding of God," one that is more in synchrony with the process of creation. Because Christianity "absorbed as much as it rejected" of Gnostic thought in the early centuries of the Church, creation and its pleasures have been regarded as essentially sinful. Few people today hold that view, but the Christian attitude toward sexuality remains tainted by these Gnostic borrowings, as the attitude of many in the Church towards homosexuality and current sexual mores demonstrates. In his examination of our attitudes toward homosexuality, the use of drugs, sex, and marriage, Bishop Holloway encourages an open and honest look at our beliefs. Recommended for those both inside and outside the Church who are willing to think again.
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Format: Paperback
Holloway starts right out giving us a challenge: "What many people have clearly departed from is any sense that the moral life, lived intentionally and consciously, is consistent with blind obedience to any authority, including what is alleged to be divine authority." And things get better from there! This tightly argued book puts into words what many of us seem to struggle with in our discussions of good and evil, sin, and meaning in life.
Holloway has recently stepped down as Bishop of Edinburgh. He is "one of the most outspoken and best-loved figures in the modern church." And I had the privilege of hearing him speak recently at a seminar on the future of faith. It is perhaps because I heard him expound upon his views that I learned so much by going back to read his book. Yet I find the writing to be clear and convincing on its own. I was shocked and pleased to read this from the good Bishop's pen: "Paradoxically, it is scripture itself that calls us to overturn scripture; it is the witness of the living word of Jesus that challenges us to follow the logic that scripture was made for humanity and not humanity for scripture." These are courageous words indeed for a Bishop to write and preach. He deserves praise and support for this stand.
Richard Holloway challenges us on many levels of our daily lives. He changes our concept of how to choose between competing moral values (often good values, not straight good versus straight evil). He makes us think about our institutions of marriage, church, and government as the recipient of our moral judgments and challenges us to live up to the responsibility with a Godless Morality. Excellent book.
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Format: Paperback
Bishop Holloway has done us as real service by writing this brilliant and courageous book. By helping us to separate religion and morals, he allows us all to move beyond theistic assumptions about morality to a new liberation. He does so in an engaging way that American readers in particular will appreciate. His clarity and skillful writing will also be a tonic for anyone who enjoys good writing. For those of us in the Church who are are becoming increasingly concerned about the growing dysfunction of conventional Christianity, this book leads us into fresh air.
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Format: Paperback
Bishop Holloway provides us with a provacative, compassionate, occasionally humorous and always well reasoned argument to develop a non-theocentric ethic for the twenty-first century. Not since Joseph Fletcher has the world seen such a strong argument for a coherent situational ethic.
Fundamentalists of all stripes will undoubtably object to Bishop Holloway's efforts to outline a moral system requiring the consent of those who live within it. Such a system would potentially undermine the absolute authority that Church, State, Synagogue, Mosque and Temple have too often claimed for themselves.
Despite the inevitable objections of the ethical establishment, Bishop Holloway's intellectually sophisticated argument offers the possibility of a new morality that will appeal to the millions who have opted out of older, absolute, authoritarian systems.
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This is a sensible, straightforward discussion of an ongoing societal question...must religious belief be the foundation of morality? Bishop Holloway's book is written in accesible language, and the discussion is easy to follow. He looks at a number of issues facing modern society, and although the book was first published in 1999, it remains relevant. In his Introduction he says that "...the aim is to unite those who believe with those who do not in the discovery of a workable ethic for our time." I found it well worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
Holloway is a recently retired Anglican bishop, which makes the title of his book even more interesting than it would be otherwise. He takes a very refreshing view of ethics, arguing that in a society where the Bible is no longer regarded as the fount of all knowledge, attempting to appeal to it as the support for a system of ethics is futile. The most impressive feature of his argument is his appeal to the pastoral harm inflicted by such an approach, with multiple examples.
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