Zygon 38 (2):355-376 (2003)
AbstractHistorically the concept of risk is rooted in Renaissance lifestyles, in which autonomous agents such as sailors, warriors, and tradesmen ventured upon dangerous enterprises. Thus, the concept of risk inseparably combines objective reality (nature) and social construction (culture): Risk = Danger + Venture. Mathematical probability theory was constructed in this social climate in order to provide a quantitative risk assessment in the face of indeterminate futures. Thus we have the famous formula: Risk = Probability (of events) × the Size (of future harms). Because the concept of harm is always observer relative, however, risk assessment cannot be purely quantitative. This leads to the question, What are the general conditions under which risks can be accepted? There is, after all, a difference between incurring a risk and bearing the costs of risks selected for by other agencies. Against this background, contours of a theology of risk emerge. If God creates a self-organizing world of relatively autonomous agents, and if self-organization is favored by cooperative networks of autopoietic processes, then the theological hypothesis of a risk-taking God is at least initially plausible. Moreover, according to the Christian idea of incarnation, God is not only taking a risk but is also bearing the risks implied by the openness of creation. I thus argue for a twofold divine kenosis---in creation as well as in redemption. I discuss some objections to this view, including the serious counterargument that risk taking on behalf of others remains, even for God, a morally dubious task. What are the conditions under which the notion of a risk-taking God can be affirmed without leaving us with the picture of God as an arbitrary, cosmic tyrant? And what are the practical implications for the ways in which human agents of faith, hope, and love can learn to cope with the risks of everyday life and of political decisions?
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Similar books and articles
A Virtue Ethical Account of Making Decisions About Risk.N. Athanassoulis & A. Ross - 2010 - Journal of Risk Research 13 (2):217.
Varieties of Risk Representations.John Kadvany - 1997 - Journal of Social Philosophy 28 (3):123-143.
Groups, Responsibility, and Risk Taking in Business Organizations.Gregory Mellema - 1988 - Journal of Business Ethics 7 (8):593 - 603.
The Risk Society and Beyond: Critical Issues for Social Theory.Barbara Adam, Ulrich Beck & Joost van Loon (eds.) - 2000 - Sage Publications.
Risk and Responsibility: A Complex and Evolving Relationship.Céline Kermisch - 2012 - Science and Engineering Ethics 18 (1):91-102.
Stakeholder Risk as Experienced by Non-Shareholder Stakeholders.Whitney Davis & Harry J. van Buren Iii - 2007 - Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 18:431-436.
The Relevance of Sex Differences in Risk-Taking to the Military and the Workplace.Kingsley R. Browne - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (2):218-219.
The Social Nature of Engineering and its Implications for Risk Taking.Allison Ross & Nafsika Athanassoulis - 2010 - Science and Engineering Ethics 16 (1):147-168.
The Risk Concept in Medicine — Statistical and Epidemiological Aspects: A Case Report for Applied Mathematics in Cardiology.Thomas Kenner & Karl P. Pfeiffer - 1986 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 7 (3).
Quantification, Regulation, and Risk Assessment.Douglas MacLean - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:243 - 260.
References found in this work
The Origins of Order: Self Organization and Selection in Evolution.Stuart A. Kauffman - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
The Empire of Chance: How Probability Changed Science and Everyday Life.Gerd Gigerenzer, Zeno Swijtink, Theodore Porter, Lorraine Daston, John Beatty & Lorenz Kruger - 1989 - Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work
Stage-Two Secularity and the Future of Theology-and-Science.Gregory R. Peterson - 2010 - Zygon 45 (2):506-516.
An Ecclesiology of a Queer Kenosis? Risk and Ambivalence at Our Lady, Trondheim, in Light of the Queer Theology on Kenosis of Marcella Althaus-Reid.Gyrid Kristine Gunnes - 2020 - Feminist Theology 28 (2):216-230.