CHAPTER 3
Evil and action

The set of issues with which this book aims to deal are interrelated in complex ways. As a result it is necessary to suspend the topics of the opening chapters and turn to two other, rather more philosophical issues — the justificatory basis of morality and the problem of evil. These two issues are themselves not very obviously related, and so the chapter naturally falls into three parts (each with several sections), the first concerned with morality, the second with evil, and the third with connecting these two apparently disparate subjects. The stage will then be set for returning to the suspended topics of the first two chapters.


I

We can begin by returning to the issue of moral motivation. 'Why should I be moral?' This is a question that has occupied philosophers for a very long time, arguably since Plato, though it is doubtful whether the concept of the 'moral' as we understand it nowadays is to be found at work in Greek ethics. Indeed, as we shall see, the abandonment of 'the moral' is sometimes made the occasion for the resurrection of an alternative Greek conception. But at any rate the question 'why should I be moral?' provides an important starting point, though to understand it properly, there is a good deal of scene setting to be done.

What is the subject matter of morality? Over what does it range? A common answer is: 'Right and wrong'. This cannot be correct, however. There is a right and wrong way to sew on a

-74-

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Evil and Christian Ethics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • New Studies in Christian Ethics *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • General Editor's Preface xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgements xvii
  • Chapter 1 - Christian Ethics or Moral Theology? 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Real Jesus 29
  • Chapter 3 - Evil and Action 74
  • Chapter 4 - Forces of Light and Forces of Darkness 119
  • Chapter 5 - The Transformation of Evil 161
  • Chapter 6 - The Theology of Hope 205
  • Bibliography 230
  • Index 235
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