Saturday 23 April 2011

Holloway on Morality - 1

Richard Holloway's Godless Morality is a remarkable book in a number of ways, not least that the author is a retired bishop and former primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. This is the first in a series that attempts an overview of the position he puts forward.

Holloway's more detailed consideration of specific "hot button" issues (sexuality, war, abortion, drugs, reproductive technologies) need to be read in the context of the broader brush strokes, rather than in knee-jerk isolation. To do that this series will particularly hone in on the introduction, first chapter and epilogue.

From the introduction.

"[I]t seems morally bankrupt to argue that the only way to correct me is by persuading me of the truth of something that seems intrinsically unbelievable and, in its own way, morally dubious."

"If we have become persuaded that a particular claim is not true or is one we can no longer hold with a clear conscience, then we are making a moral judgement."

"[J]ust because the connection between ethics and religion has been broken, it does not follow that it is no longer possible to have ethics. It may mean that we have to discover and promote the importance of a non-religious ethic. And such an ethic would be a genuinely ecumenical ethic that appealed, in its broad principles, to people who were religious and to people without religion, to people who believed in God and to people who did not."

1 comment:

  1. I now have the book and to me the most important contribution it makes is the question of why we would ever accept authority as the basis of morality?

    For me, this questioning of morality based on authority is an important contribution to reason and reasonability, which if pursued aggressively, should certain disrupt the status quo of those who act as if God has died and left them to be God.

    Have I missed something?