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dc.contributor.authorRoberts, David Edwarden
dc.date.accessioned2018-05-22T12:47:28Z
dc.date.available2018-05-22T12:47:28Z
dc.date.issued2001en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1842/30688
dc.description.abstracten
dc.description.abstractKarl Barth and H. Richard Niebuhr both attempted to understand the Second World War in theologically realistic fashions. Barth has been termed a "critically realistic thinker" in recent scholarship, as he uses both realism and idealism to argue against anthropocentric theology and ethics, including traditional just-war theories. He maintains that God must always be primary, the one who determines good and evil; therefore theology and ethics must always be theocentric not anthropocentric. Good is, according to Barth, that which God commands. This leads him to argue for a divine-command ethic in which God speaks to concrete persons in concrete situations.en
dc.description.abstractH. Richard Niebuhr, who belonged to the Christian Realists in the United States, argues from a very similar theological basis as Barth, but ends up with an ethics ofresponsibility rather than a divine-command morality. According to Niebuhr, human beings are responders, who respond in answer to prior action upon them. The primary question for ethics is therefore what is happening, to what must I respond in this situation and how ought I respond to it. In attempting to determine the fitting response, one must also attempt to understand what the response to my responding action will be. This model assists in understanding the events that lead up to and occur during war and can help to build a more stable peace.en
dc.description.abstractBoth Barth and Niebuhr attempted to understand the particular events of the Second World War in a theological and Christian way. Their insights provide assistance in our response to situations that may require the governmental use of force, i.e. military action, peacekeeping missions and humanitarian missions. The world situation, however, has changed since World War II; there are now more armed conflicts between non-State groups, such as civil and ethnic wars. Therefore, both Barth and Niebuhr's ethics of war from that time require some modification to deal with current events. Barth's theological rejection of anthropocentrism remains the framework for any Christian ethic dealing with contemporary uses of military force, but his divine-command morality leaves little room for moral debate and discussion, especially in a multi-cultural setting. H. Richard Niebuhr's ethics of response provides a model for ethical decision-making which allows for moral discourse amongst various persons of different cultures and religions. It also helps us to understand the situations to which governments may have to respond with force. Yet Niebuhr's ethics, with its emphasis on the question of what is happening in a given situation, has difficulty in providing assistance for contemporary decision making concerning the use of force. By bringing Barth and Niebuhr into dialogue with each other concerning the Second World War, we can see how a theology of hopeful realism aids us in forming a model for Christian ethical decision-making concerning the use of force in the current situation. This hopefully realistic model, based on interpreting God's activity in history, takes the situation seriously yet is able to respond to that situation with Christian hope. It does this by understanding human beings not as rational beings who seek logic and rationality in all their experiences but as symbol users who strive to understand themselves and their world by means of symbols, or patterns, from their past. For Christians, Jesus Christ is central to the symbols they use. This then provides for the use of Trinitarian symbols to understand the ethical problem presented by war.en
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburghen
dc.relation.ispartofAnnexe Thesis Digitisation Project 2018 Block 19en
dc.relation.isreferencedbyAlready catalogueden
dc.titleHopeful realism: a theological ethic of contemporary conflict, reflecting critically on the writings of Karl Barth and H. Richard Niebuhr concerning the Second World Waren
dc.typeThesis or Dissertationen
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen


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