For many years many Christians have exhibited bumper stickers and wrist bands challenging themselves to live up to WWJD-What Would Jesus Do? Now Andrew Fiala, a professor who has encountered many such students in his classes, objectively assesses just what it actually is that Jesus does (and doesn't) say about the essential moral issues that face us today. Andrew Fiala appreciates Jesus as a moral teacher with an ethical vision centered in love, generosity, forgiveness, tolerance, and peace. But he argues that it is often difficult to determine exactly what Jesus would say or do about tough contemporary issues, such as abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, war, homosexuality, and politics. Hence, Fiala believes we need to engage in philosophical reflection and critical thinking to arrive at answers to today's ethical questions that Jesus never anticipated, such as those involving technology, scientific discoveries, ethical advances. The book shows how philosophers and psychologists-from Kant and Mill to Nietzsche and Freud-struggled to make sense of the ethics of Jesus. The book concludes by arguing that we cannot pretend that Jesus and the Bible provide all the answers to our ethical dilemmas, although Jesus does provide perennial moral wisdom. Thus, Fiala shows that Jesus' moral teachings must be filled out with contemporary ethical reflection to determine what Jesus, as a moral ideal, would really do today.
Andrew Fiala is associate professor of philosophy at California State University-Fresno, and the author of The Just War Myth, Tolerance & the Ethical Life,Practical Pacifism, andThe Philosopher's Voice. He lives in Fresno, California. You can visit his website here.
Chapter 1 Jesus and Ethics 2 Humanism and Christian Faith 3 Jesus' Golden Rule: Altruism and Universality 4 Jesus vs. Joshua: Christian Virtues in Context 5 Jesus' Virtues: Peace and Love 6 Jesus and the Sanctity of Life: Abortion 7 Jesus and Care: Euthanasia 8 Forgiveness and Mercy: The Death Penalty 9 Sexuality and the Family 10 Slavery and Social Welfare 11 The Problem of Politics 12 Jesus and the Enlightenment 13 Sin, Grace, and Humanism after the Enlightenment 14 Anti-Christian Ethics in the 19th and 20th Centuries 15 Ethics Beyond Jesus