Living in different worlds

Stanley Hauerwas argues that traditional ways of doing ethics and morality fail to help us through our controversies.

The standard account’s attempt to separate our moral notions from their narrative context, by trying to ground or derive their meaning from rationality in itself, has made it difficult to explain why moral controversies are so irresolvable. The standard account, for example, encourages us to assume that the pro- and anti-abortion advocates mean the same thing by the word “abortion.” So it is assumed that the moral disagreement between these two sides must involve a basic moral principle such “all life is sacred,” or be a matter of fact such as whether the fetus is considered a human life. But this kind of analysis fails to see that the issue is not one of principle or fact, but one of perception determined by a history of interpretation.

Pro- and anti-abortion advocates do not communicate on the notion “abortion,” since each group hold a different story about the purpose of the notion. At least so far as “abortion” is concerned, they live in the conceptually different worlds.

I think this pretty well describes why our conversations about sex are so frustrating.

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2 thoughts on “Living in different worlds

  1. …that’s why denominational social policies consist of different tunes played at the same time. The conversations we are engaged in threaten to become bedlam at any time (like the Eddie Fox fracas). Some of our shrewdest evangelical wits are candid only when “speaking through a flower” (how some anti-Nazis expressed muted dissent of the regime).

  2. Oh the ethicist that have a way a confusing every one and making ethics a complicated swing left…. swing right barrel of fun!

    Considering the basis to reject or accept abortion or any other number of hot button issues the Orthodox Christian Community reminds and looks to The Word of God, historical writings and tradition as a basis for positions held.
    We are either guided by a book known as the Holy Word of God ( a book of ethical foundations by a superior) that we believe is inspired by God and all of the history and recorded writings that support those foundations or we believe we are a more enlightened people who transcend past beliefs and are now on a higher level of understanding that supersedes the written Word of God by new revelation.

    On the topic of abortion made so difficult but thru Christian eyes is more easily answered.
    1. Is there any mention of the womb in the bible?
    Is there any mention of a child in the womb? The answer is yes.
    Those of the Orthodox persuasion would quickly point out Exodus 21:22-25
    Luke 1:41-44 What was that that leaped?
    2. Do we even know if abortion was practiced before Christianity existed?
    Can we establish the Apostles, and Early Christians knew of, where aware of and condemned or upheld the practice of abortion and the exposure of infants?
    The answer is yes.
    One only has to look into the history of abortion to find the answer..
    What the Early Church fathers wrote about child exposure, and the child in the womb confirm abortion was not practiced or promoted early on in the Christian Community and was condemned by early Christian Apologists.
    We can read the Didache 2:1, Athenagoras A Plea for the Christians written about A.D. 177
    Or we can read Tertullian Apology written around A.D. 197 that leaves no question.

    “For us murder is once for all forbidden; so even the child in the womb, while yet the mother’s blood is still being drawn on to form the human being, it is not lawful for us to destroy. To forbid birth is only quicker murder. It makes no difference whether one take away the life once born or destroy it as it comes to birth. He is a man who is to be a man; the fruit is always present in the seed.” (Apology, 9:8.)

    Just as an added bonus Belgium, made famous for the practice of euthanasia, recently euthanized a woman who became a man because of a botched sex change and is considering the euthinization of children. ( National Post)

    How far will we go?

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