Explorations in Global Ethics: Comparative Religious Ethics and Interreligious Dialogue

Explorations in Global Ethics: Comparative Religious Ethics and Interreligious Dialogue

Explorations in Global Ethics: Comparative Religious Ethics and Interreligious Dialogue

Explorations in Global Ethics: Comparative Religious Ethics and Interreligious Dialogue

Synopsis

Inspired by the 1993 Parliament of the World's Religions, this volume for the first time brings the scholarly discipline of comparative religious ethics into constructive collaboration with the community of interreligious dialogue. The contributors draw from both communities of discourse in addressing questions of method & theory & global moral issues-such as human rights, distributive justice, politics of war, international business, the environment, & genocide-in a cross-cultural context.

Excerpt

For nearly two decades, comparative religious ethics, as a nascent discipline in the field of religious studies, has been struggling for a distinctive method and identity. Various approaches have been proposed, developed, criticized, and refined, but no single one has carried the day in providing a fully convincing rationale and research program. Prominent among these approaches have been: (1) the forma list-conceptua I approach (using Western moral theory to analyze the moral positions and reasoning of diverse religious traditions); (2) the historical approach (using history-of-religions methods to comprehend the holistic webs of belief and practice in rich historical and cultural context); (3) the methodological-theoretical approach (involving metaethical inquiry into theories of ethics and religion with a particular concern for the problem of moral relativism versus universalism); and (4) the hermeneutical-dialogical approach (using intercultural moral theorizing and praxis involving the quest for cross-cultural understanding and the fusion of diverse moral and religious horizons). In one way or another, all of these approaches are concerned with issues of theory and interpretation in comparative moral inquiry, and all attempt to provide the discipline with a dominant rationale and method aimed at convincing insiders and outsiders of its integrity and worth. Thus far, however, for reasons of theoretical contestability and uncertainty about aims and goals, no one of these has entirely succeeded.

During the same period, but with a much longer history extending back to the late nineteenth century (e.g., to the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions), representatives of the world's major religious traditions have pursued interfaith or interreligious dialogues about substantive moral issues of general concern to the peoples of the world. Such issues have included, for example, intolerance and discrimination, war and peace, abuse of vulnerable populations, freedom of conscience and religious practice, human rights, and environmental responsibility (see, e.g., Braybrooke 1992a and . . .

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