Ethical Issues in Six Religious Traditions

Ethical Issues in Six Religious Traditions

Ethical Issues in Six Religious Traditions

Ethical Issues in Six Religious Traditions

Synopsis

How do Hindus view euthanasia? Is there a 'Sikh view' of advertising? Do Jews and Muslims share the same attitude to marriage? How do Christian and Buddhist views on the environment differ?This book draws together authors respected in six traditions to explore in parallel the ethical foundations for Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths. Each section introduces a different religion and asks specific, topical questions, set in a wider context. The issues addressed are religious identity and authority; the personal and the private; marriage and family; influences on and use of time, money and other personal resources; the quality and value of life; questions of right and wrong; equality and difference; conflict and violence and global issues. The contributors to this expanded edition are Peggy Morgan, Clive Lawton, Werner Menski, Eleanor Nesbitt, Alan Brown and Azim Nanji. Additions for this new edition include subsections on reproduction, vegetarianism, just war and terrorism, and genetic modification. The book is structured so that topics can be explored within a specific tradition or comparatively across the traditions.

Excerpt

The first edition of this book has been a best-seller and a decade later Edinburgh University Press invited the editors to work on a second, enlarged version. This has involved including extra sections and expanding others with reference to new issues and developments during the last ten years. Two new authors have joined four of the original team to complete the book and we are confident that this second edition will be as useful and relevant as the first.

Both editions have grown out of the conviction that crossing the frontiers of faiths, languages and races can enable people to deepen their understanding of issues that are important to us all. We live in an age when many different groups, particularly in Europe and North America, are expressing serious concern about human values – about how we should live, how we should treat each other and how we should treat our world. This concern is one for all citizens, but is being articulated particularly by politicians, members of the caring professions, in education and in discussions between members of different faiths. Often the most rigorous and challenging answers come from people of faith rooted in religious traditions. They challenge each other with their different language worlds and starting points, but also startle us with answers that express values which are often shared. The central aim of this book is to make available the basic tenets of six so-called 'world' religions, six major religious traditions – their beliefs, experiences and convictions – in which these shared values are grounded. We acknowledge that many other religious traditions and secular world views than the ones we have included have important contributions to make to this debate and their omission is not one of principle but of space. Bahais, followers of Confucius, Daoists, Jains, those who practise a Shinto path and Zoroastrians, for example, also have important positions on the issues under discussion. We also acknowledge that it is the people of faith rather than the 'isms' of the systems that negotiate the traditions and make the choices, and that these are almost infinitely varied. This variety is found within traditions as well as between them (see section 1).

Any context has its strengths and weaknesses. It is sometimes suggested that the treatment of values and ethical issues in the Western world, even when faiths come together, is dominated by a Christian or post-Christian agenda, and that this is a weakness. From this standpoint any list of common topics such as those to be addressed in this book may be seen to reflect the concerns of the majority culture, which may be secular or religious, rather than minority faiths; the concerns of the West and not of other parts of the . . .

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