Engelhardt as Sectarian: An Evangelical Protestant Consideration of After God

Christian Bioethics 23 (2):200-218 (2017)
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Abstract

In this article, I argue that while Christians should share Engelhardt’s disappointment in how bioethics functions in the world, they should not share his exasperation. I begin by outlining the general argument in After God, its understanding of secularism, and of how such secularism has impacted bioethics. Next, I suggest that Englehardt appears to lean toward disengagement or at least an extremely suspicious sectarianism. Rather, I claim that it is possible for Christians to morally engage in a useful way with others and still base their own moral activity on proper life telos. Such cooperation is not to serve a commonly-held ultimate purpose, but shared proximate ends. That said, the moral discourse with those outside the Church may be necessarily limited by shallow moral acquaintanceship. I argue that the concept of “middle axioms” can be used as a mechanism for engagement with others in this society. Importantly, this approach does not require abandoning distinctive Christian commitments and foundational assumptions.

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