With a new foreword by noted theologian and ethicist Stanley Hauerwas, this classic text on war and the ethics of modern statecraft written at the height of the Vietnam era in 1968 speaks to a new generation of readers. Characterized by a sophisticated yet back-to-basics approach, The Just War begins with the assumption that force is a fact in political life which must either be reckoned with or succumbed to. It then grapples with modern challenges to traditional moral principles of (...) "just conduct" in war, the "morality of deterrence," and a "just war theory of statecraft.". (shrink)
“Because those who come after us may not be like us, or because those like us may not come after us, or because after a time there may be none to come after us, mankind must now set to work to insure that those who come after us will be more unlike us. In this there is at work the modern intellect’s penchant for species suicide.” With these words Paul Ramsey brings to a conclusion his provocative and surprising study of (...) the problems we are encountering – and will encounter – as scientific advances make the genetic control of man a real possibility. Now, increased knowledge of chromosome structure has taken the alteration of the human race out of the realm of science fiction and placed it in the hands of laboratory scientists. Ramsey sees this advance in science and technology as a mixed blessing. He examines the ramifications of genetic control, not only the now common measures of birth control and artificial insemination, but also the effect on the genetic pool of the increasing numbers of genetically poor individuals. His concern for humanistic values informs each argument as he tackles such issues as asexual reproduction of men, frozen semen banks, and the breeding of human beings for special purposes. No less than the future of man as we know him hangs on these issues. One must pay particular attention to this book. (shrink)
This searching critique of the United Methodist Bishops' pastoral letter on war and peace in a nuclear age, by America's foremost Christian ethicist, exposes theological flaws from which flow gaps in moral argument and strangely utopian politics. Never before has In Defense of Creation been more thoroughly analyzed. At the same time Paul Ramsey gives a full-length and detailed comparison of the Methodist document with The Challenge of Peace by the U.S. Catholic Bishops. Issues of nuclear ethics, as seen by (...) the leaders of two major churches, are set fully in view for the first time in a single volume. This "ecumenical consultation" is broadened by drawing extensively on the writings of Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder. The book's larger purpose is to construe an encounter between Christian just-war tradition and Christian pacifism. This comparative discussion of Christian ethics should be of interest to any reader concerned about the nuclear crisis. Some of the questions confronted in these pages are: What do people mean by "nonviolence"? Should we never kill another human being, or never kill another human being unjustly? Do Christian pacifism and Christian just-war teachings have anything in common in their understanding of the Christian moral life? Do different interpretations of the person and work of Jesus Christ give rise to Christian pacifism and to just-war participation? Are these irreducibly different options equally valid for followers of Christ? Do the tests of discrimination and proportion lead to the same prohibitions on war and limits in war in a nuclear age? With an epilogue by Stanley Hauerwas, this volume offers the unusual event of two Methodist laymen engaged in lively debate over their church and the modern world. (shrink)
He who for himself remembers of himself that Jesus Christ actually saved him from the Egypt of sin and death becomes a man on exodus from any natural or human standard, a man whose conscience and life are destined to be formed in accordance with the saving righteousness and faithfulness of God.
In the wake of Operation Desert Storm, the question of 'just war' has become a hotly contested issue, and this classic text on war and the ethics of modern statecraft written at the height of the Vietnam era in 1968 speaks to a new generation of readers. In defending just war against Christian pacifism, Ramsey joins a line of theological reasoning that traces its antecedents to Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas. Ramsey argues that decisions regarding war must be governed (...) by 'political prudence.' Whether a particular war should be fought, and at what level of violence, depends, Ramsey writes, on one's count of the moral costs and benefits. Characterized by a sophisticated yet back-to-basics approach, his analysis begins with the assumption that force is a fact in political life which must either be reckoned with or succumbed to. He then grapples with modern challenges to traditional moral principles of 'just conduct' in war, the 'morality of deterrence,' and a 'just war theory of statecraft.'. (shrink)
Both liturgy and morality are "formed references" to Divine events to which faith also testifies. So there is parity among the orandi, the bene operandi, and the credendi of the Christian church, and multi-directional, shaping influences among them. An ethicist's understanding of morality is diminished without the context of liturgy and the rule of faith. An impoverished or distorted, shapeless liturgy influences the morality we credit. If today the church struggled for itself against itself over a proper understanding of the (...) Christian moral life, this would be both reflected in and aided by certain liturgical innovations. (shrink)
If Augustine's view of human sexuality is to be understood properly, it must be represented across the history of creation, fall and redemption. His notion of sexuality prior to the fall, although defective in its understanding of personal bodily presence, does integrate sexuality into the essentially human. His account of fallen sexuality expresses not a body-soul dualism but a disordering of the self which finds a partial and redemptive remedy in the "goods of marriage." His treatment of sexuality in relation (...) to redemption-in-course has a distinctively historical dimension that must be respected if sexuality is not to be left merely to the endless rhythms of nature, but drawn into the human story in its Christian telling. (shrink)
The author responds to the interpretations and criticisms of his thought as presented in the eleven essays in "Love and Society: Essays in the Ethics of Paul Ramsey ". He defends and refines his position on ethical theory, war and political ethics and medical ethics.