In a time when more and more people are discovering they can have a rational morality without an orthodox God, these twenty-four essays reappraise the whole character of Christian ethics and criticize the traditional underpinning of morality by religion.
Edited by Ian T. Ramsey, professor of philosophy at Oxford University, the volume is a valuable sequel to the well-known New Essays in Philosophical Theology. The contributors include atheists, agnostics, and Christians. Among them are Ninian Smart, R. B. Braithwaite, Ronald Hepburn, and Iris Murdoch.
The essays do not attempt to examine specific Christian questions in any sort of theological detail; rather, their primary concern is with problems that arise principally in a philosophical context. But they are concerned with issues that lie behind the present bewilderment in Christian morality.
Stressing the diversity of moral situations, the papers show that these are far from being homogeneous and rule-determined. Moral decision demands personal involvement, activating the possibility of "good" and "bad" reasons for making such a decision. The essays point out the character of moral disagreements and also remind us that morality is not only of individual but also of social significance.
The last section of the book examines the present concept of natural law; its possible erosion by developments in anthropology, psychology, and philosophy; and whether the possibility exists for a theory of morality that unites both natural-law theory and Christian ethics.