My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Review: God and Morality in Christian Traditions

God and Morality in Christian Traditions God and Morality in Christian Traditions by J. Caleb Clanton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a collection of eleven (11) short, academic essays exploring some of the debate about how human morality is determined, with a specific emphasis on the influence of God in a Christian context. “These essays were originally draft in response to a formal call for papers for a specific issue of the journal Religions entitled ‘God, Ethics, and Christian Traditions.’” Each essay was written by a different [group of] author(s) from a variety of backgrounds, so there is a wide variance on readability and understandability for a casual reader (of which I consider myself to be). Most seem to have a particular slant on the source or orientation of [christian] morality: Natural Law Theory (NLT) which sees morality as part of creature that is ordered to the good, Divine Command Theory (DCT) … aka theological volunteerism, which is essentially that we are moral only in so much as we obey God’s law/commandments … and Virtue ethics (VET), which is the idea of morality based upon promoting what leads to human flourishing, with each author identifying the basic concepts and highlighting some of the limitations. 

Each Essay opens with an Abstract that summarizes the topic, followed by a discussion and ending with notes and references. Most are in clear and accessible language … with a few (such as chapter two) being more typical of philosophical text (wordy and obtuse). Certainly some terms could use a clearer definition or concrete example: such as constructivism vs realism, which to the best of my understanding roughly corresponds to relativism and absolutism within a moral framework. Only one essay seemed to depart from academic discourse to engage in a strange diatribe against same sex marriage … where the main point appears to be that allowing the individual the freedom of their own interpretation, abandons the principle of Sola Scriptura because they don’t interpret it the same way as the author? I am sure there is a fallacy or two in there. In truth I believe it shows the critical weakness on anything based upon a DCT concept … How is the command interpreted and who decides on the interpretation ….

Essay 1: Catholicism and the Natural Law [****]
Essay 2: God, New Natural Law, and Human Rights [**]
Essay 3: Aquinas and Scotus on the Metaphysical Foundations of Morality [*****]
Essay 4: God’s Will as the Foundation of Morality [****]
Essay 5: Does Darwall’s Morality of Accountability Require Moral Realism? [*****]
Essay 6: John Calvin’s Multiplicity Thesis [***]
Essay 7: Understanding Moral Disagreement [**]
Essay 8: Epistemological Crisis in the Free Church Tradition [*]
Essay 9: Love and Do What You Want [****]
Essay 10: Militant Liturgies [****]
Essay 11: Correcting Acedia through Wonder and Gratitude [***]
Rounding Up ...

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#God&Morality #NetGalley.

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.