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Posts tagged "Morality"

Your Inner Chimp: Moral Evolution, Inception and the Thread of the Universe

Your Inner Chimp: Moral Evolution, Inception and the Thread of the Universe

Lots to chew on in this new one from Mbird Jason Redcay:

Have you ever wondered where morality comes from? Could it be something inherited biologically? Is it something that has evolved over years and years? Maybe it’s embedded socially by the people and environment around you? In 2007, the popular radio program Radiolab attempted to get to the bottom of these questions in their episode “Morality”.

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I’d like to add another possible view, the same one that the Apostle Paul offers in the second chapter of Romans, namely that the Law (the divine moral framework) is written on our hearts,…

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The Law and Gospel (of Lent) according to Chocolat

The Law and Gospel (of Lent) according to Chocolat

Much like the nation of Greece, the season of Lent is characterized by “austerity measures.” And while such devotion can be beautiful, Lenten observance can also border on piety for piety’s sake, or what we might call works righteousness. Please do not misunderstand me: I enjoy and value the season. Who of us wouldn’t benefit from setting aside time to reflect on the grace and mercy of God (and our need to repent)?

The tension between the need for mercy that defines Lent (in theory) and the works righteousness with which it has all too often become synonymous is the theme…

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If Loving You Is Right, David Brooks Doesn't Want To Be Wrong

If Loving You Is Right, David Brooks Doesn’t Want To Be Wrong

If you haven’t taken the hint yet and started subscribing to his editorials in the NY Times, David Brooks published another gem this week in which he calls into question the current popular morality built upon the whims of the individual. Brooks claims/laments that the maxim “If it feels right, do it” has separated morality from traditional resources for moral thinking, and long-standing social institutions such as the church, education, or families no longer contribute to ethical debates about right and wrong. Instead, the individual must decide what is right according to the demands of the moment. Ironically, as some…

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Karl Holl on Creativity, Heart, and 'Situation-Ethics'

Karl Holl on Creativity, Heart, and ‘Situation-Ethics’

In The Reconstruction of Morality (1979 Augsburg edition, as cited last week), Holl brushes up fairly close to what later American theologians would call ‘situation-ethics’. What we came to know in the 1960s as ‘situation-ethics’, the effects of which are still with us, sounds a little like what Karl Holl is saying when he talks about the ‘creative’, ‘flexible’ ‘genius of the heart’. For myself, Karl Holl’s version reads true to life, while the contemporary version of ‘situation-ethics’ sounds more like a rationalization of evolving fashions in behavior.

This is what Holl says, on page 133. The emphases are Mockingbird’s.

“For Luther, part…

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Karl Holl on Morality as Instinctive

Karl Holl on Morality as Instinctive

In his lecture on Luther’s earlier ethical views, which was published and then re-worked between 1919 and 1923, Karl Holl wrote in a way that today could be described as ‘luminous’. The American edition of that lecture, entitled The Reconstruction of Morality (Augsburg, 1979, translated by Fred W. Meuser and Walter R. Wietzke from the seventh German edition of 1948 and edited by James Luther Adams and Walter F. Bense) is a classic exposition of the Gospel. It is dense, deep, wide-ranging, and diagnostic. It’s hard to think of another book of its kind that just hits you between the…

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Karl Holl on Morality as Awakening

Karl Holl on Morality as Awakening

This is the last quote in Mockingbird’s Holl series from The Distinctive Elements in Christianity (1937). Next week we will feature Holl‘s lecture and book, The Reconstruction of Morality.  

Here the great one does away with distinctions between people. He also references by strange advanced knowledge a novel by James Gould Cozzens. Most important, Karl Holl here observes that Christ’s conception of God came to people like an awakening from a dream. As always, the emphases are Mockingbird’s, and the excerpt is from pages 29-30.

This conception of God which Jesus taught, though it ran so sharply counter to all natural religious…

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Karl Holl on Spontaneity and 'Situation-Ethics'

Karl Holl on Spontaneity and ‘Situation-Ethics’

Karl Holl understood the morality of Jesus as a kind of spontaneous response to situations of need, which would not involve reflection but were of the immediate moment. He understood the Lord to have taught a non-systematic approach to moral actions that approaches what some ‘liberal’ theologians wished to call, later, ‘situation-ethics’. The key element in Christ’s way of living is, according to Holl, a spontaneity born from love.

The following is also from The Distinctive Elements in Christianity (1937), page 22.  The emphases are Mockingbird’s.

“From this follows the most splendid feature of the ethic of Jesus, namely the naturalness, the…

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Karl Holl on Freedom and Exaction in the Moral Life

Karl Holl on Freedom and Exaction in the Moral Life

This quote for today, like last week’s, is from the 1925 essay translated as The Distinctive Elements in Christianity (T & T Clark, 1937). It is from page 21. Note here the insight, unique as we hear in that rare-to-hear item the Christian Gospel, that the dissolution of demand results in a new compunction. The italics are by Mockingbird.

“Jesus’s conception of God was new. He dealt a blow at everything that earnest ethical thinking about the relation between God and man had established, and everything that the common-sense understanding of mankind down to the present day has held to…

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Mockingbird 101: Karl Holl on the Shape (and End) of Moral Effort

Mockingbird 101: Karl Holl on the Shape (and End) of Moral Effort

Karl Holl was a German theologian who lived from 1866-1926. He taught at Tuebingen, and of the great Twentieth-Century theologians, Holl is among those who stand the closest to the animating concerns of Mockingbird. This is because he writes about issues of grace and law, freedom and bondage, spontaneity and calculation, in a forceful manner that is both analytic and feeling. He seems to have sight of the pastoral and experiential in a tone that is unusual for an academic theologian. He seldom loses sight of what we would call the ‘gut level’.

I don’t quite understand why Karl Holl’s theological…

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