Three Issues in Ethics [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 24 (1):139-139 (1970)

Abstract
As Macquarrie states, "In this book the concern is with some basic issues in the relation of theology and ethics." The three issues involved are 1) the relation between specifically Christian morals and non-Christian morals; 2) the direction to be taken in formulating "a theological ethic appropriate to our time"; and 3) "the place of faith in moral life, the problem known traditionally as that of the relation of religion and morality." Macquarrie centers his reflection on man as an ethical being, rather than on specifically theological doctrines of Christology or redemption. Through a creative interpretation of the structures of existential thought, Macquarrie situates his ethic within an analysis of contemporary man. In this context, the "drastic reconsideration" given to natural law proves particularly illuminating; also of value are the discussions of faith, hope, sin, grace, and conscience as phenomena within the general "moral striving of mankind," rather than as the private property of Christian theologians. The demand that theology turn towards an anthropology enables Macquarrie to explore the continuity between Christian ethical thought and the non-Christian traditions, while neither forcibly annexing the non-Christian as a "crypto-Christian," nor eradicating the divergences between the Christian and the non-Christian. The approach of Three Issues is thus of twofold value: it makes both explicit and possible a deepened solidarity and cooperation of all engaged in ethical reflection and practice, and also demands that the full integrity of all thus engaged be respected.--D. F. D.
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