Monday, October 19, 2009

Thesis question articulation VII: Christian

Christian: part one
Series begins back here.
Who is the subject of moral reflection? Who is it who must awaken and be attentive? Although this issue could be broadened to the more general question of moral attentiveness in the predicament of ecologically-threatened industrialism, this project is primarily concerned with the Christian moral subject. The Christian moral subject is one whose life is shaped by the Christian gospel of the life, death, resurrection, ascension and return of Jesus the Messiah. This project will be grounded in this narrative and take various Christian thinkers as dialogue partners.

Taking this lens for our investigation need not be of narrow interest only to Christian believers as Christians have generally claimed that the life of Jesus is relevant to all human individuals and societies.

I had considered modifying moral attentiveness with ecclesial rather than Christian to emphasise that the moral subject is always formed in community and indicate that I am interested in social rather than purely personal ethics. Indeed, this issue is an important one because the crisis we face is not simply a threat to society, but a threat to sociality. The kinds of scenarios haunting the collective apocalyptic imagination are of the bonds of affection being loosened or broken. Fear can either isolate individuals or turn a society into a mob, giving them a false unity. I shall argue that the Christian church at its best is a model, or a promise, of a society capable of sustaining moral attentiveness, of sustaining genuine sociality, without being overwhelmed by fear. Nonetheless, I have retained the more general term Christian rather than the more specific ecclesial.

It is also worth stating that the relevant subject of moral attentiveness is not merely professional moral theologians or ethicists, but all Christian believers and communities.
This post is part of a series in which I am outlining my current research question. My present working title, which this series seeks to explain, is "Anxious about tomorrow": The possibility of Christian moral attentiveness in the predicament of societal unsustainability.
A. Societal unsustainability: part one; part two
B. Predicament: part one; part two
C. Moral attentiveness: part one; part two
D. Christian: part one
E. Possibility: part one
F. Summary: part one