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Moral Choice

A Christian View of Ethics

by Dolores L. Christie

Publication Year: 2012

This survey text for Christian ethics through a Catholic lens traces the sources and traditions of contemporary ethical principles, rules, and norms. It uses narrative in reaching out to students who seek to understand themselves as they face ethical decisions. Stories are employed to reflect one's own life and its meaning, as well as to prompt moral decision-making.

The book gives full treatment to criteria needed for ethical decision-making that students use in evaluating a series of contemporary issues, including abortion, end of life, torture, and others. The book includes numerous pedagogic features, including boxes, questions, key terms, suggested readings, and a glossary.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-x

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pp. xi-xii

Books are like babies. They require nourishment, outside expertise, many hours of work, and lots of sleep. This book began as a speck of a zygote, with nothing but the potential to press on, to divide, and to become something tangible. ...

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Introduction: A Cautionary Tale

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pp. 1-8

Christian and especially Catholic morals texts have proliferated over the past half dozen years. Publishers and professors alike want to move the discussion of morality beyond the Scylla and Charybdis of musty seminary manuals and oversimplistic texts for lay students, ...

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1. The Catholic Heritage

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pp. 9-32

What is the point of examining morality in a Catholic or even a broader Christian context? Who needs religion at all, and, especially, who needs a bunch of arbitrary rules given by old people who think they know better and who are not really in touch with a younger person’s life and its challenges? ...

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2. A Narrative Model for Christian Ethics

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pp. 33-54

This refrain from a children’s song is familiar. We all enjoy a good narrative; from Goodnight Moon, which lulled us to sleep when we were children, to the latest Kindle download or People magazine exposé. While we love stories, we do not often reflect on how they affect and shape us. ...

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3. A Reasonable Approach

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pp. 55-80

“Use your head.” How often are these words hurled at people, particularly children, who have just done something perceived to be wrong or just plain dumb? Isn’t this the way we should make moral decisions: using our head? Isn’t this relationship with Christ as important to morality just romantic baloney? ...

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4. Beyond Reason: Extending the Content Horizon

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pp. 81-104

Modern phrases such as these challenge reason’s claim as a sufficient tool for moral decision making. They suggest alternative moral decision-making processes to reason. Some presume specific content. When people move beyond their original families and communities, competing voices about what is right increase in volume. ...

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5. The Person: Moral Subject and Moral Norm

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pp. 105-132

These phrases may reflect what the reader is thinking about now. After the previous chapters, personal relativism seems morally acceptable: what I do is right because I do it; what you do is your business. My heritage, my hormones, my ethnic reality—these so confuse issues of moral rightness that anything goes. ...

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6. Conscience: Connecting Sources, Persons, and Actions

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pp. 133-162

Not only Jiminy Cricket, the bold and bowler-hatted character in the 1940 Disney film Pinocchio, but even the documents of Vatican II recognize the essential authority of human conscience. Gaudium et spes calls conscience “the most secret core and sanctuary” of the person. The intrinsic mechanism of conscience is not perfect. ...

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7. The Process: Steps for Moral Decision Making

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pp. 163-184

Everyone appreciates a checklist to help deal with life’s tasks. Give us an instruction manual for car repair, putting together the fiberboard bookcase from the local Home Depot, or—for the really adventuresome—creating the perfect risotto. The last chapter combined the previous sections under the rubric of conscience, the personal apparatus for decision making. ...

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8. The Issues: Applying Catholic Tradition

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pp. 185-210

Christians believe that God is the ultimate cause and destination of human life. Just as a traveler from the East Coast reaches California only after considering and confirming options—bus, train, airplane, highway or byway; shortest way possible, slow scenic route—human beings reach their ultimate goal through incremental choices. ...

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Postscript: A Modest Proposal

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pp. 211-216

Any book offers the incomplete melody of its singular author. The careful harmony for this song, for which the author is grateful, is constructed from many sources. In this book, readers can listen to stanzas drawn from official church teaching, theological reflection, and personal experience. The author learned to sing “Catholic” in Latin. ...

Appendix 1: Additional Resources with Moral Dimension

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pp. 217-218

Appendix 2: Select Catholic Documents

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pp. 219-226

Appendix 3: Cases for Discussion

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pp. 227-234


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pp. 235-246


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pp. 247-256


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pp. 257-260

E-ISBN-13: 9781451424300
E-ISBN-10: 1451424302
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800698027
Print-ISBN-10: 0800698029

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2012