This article presents evidence supporting the claim that ethical reasoning is a skill that can be taught and assessed. We propose a working definition of ethical reasoning as 1) the ability to identify, analyze, and weigh moral aspects of a particular situation, and 2) to make decisions that are informed and warranted by the moral investigation. The evidence consists of a description of an ethical reasoning education program—Ethical Reasoning in Action —designed to increase ethical reasoning skills in a variety of (...) situations and areas of life. ERiA is housed at a public, major comprehensive U.S. university—James Madison University—and assessment of the program focuses on interventions delivered prior to and during orientation for incoming first-year students. Findings indicate that the interventions measurably enhance the ability of undergraduate students to reason ethically. ERiA’s competency-targeted program and positive student learning outcomes offers a promising model for higher education ethics programs seeking to connect classroom learning in ethics to decision-making in everyday life. (shrink)
Religion and science dialogues that orbit around rational method, knowledge, and truth are often, though not always, contentious. In this article, I suggest a different cluster of gravitational points around which religion and science dialogues might usefully travel: philosophical anthropology, ethics, and love. I propose seeing morality as a natural outgrowth of the human desire to establish and maintain social bonds so as not to experience the condition of being alone. Humans, of all animals, need to feel loved—defined as a (...) compassionate present-with in dynamic dyadic relation such that one experiences the sense of mattering—but that need has an equally natural tendency to be met by creating biased us-and-them distinctions. A “critical” natural ethics, then, is one in which we become aware of and work to undermine our tendency to reify in-group distinctions between “us” and “them.” Religious communities that work intentionally on this can be seen, to some extent, as laboratories of love—or as sites for co-creating knowledge in perilous times. (shrink)
This article argues that theological pacifism is best evaluated when situated in a network of practices, beliefs and biblical reading strategies that support a critique of Empire, and when mapped onto this world open up a space for living that is non-territorial and non-sacrificial, the grammar of which is governed by a political understanding of love.