[Tip: If you wish to print out the syllabus, check your printer options to see if you can print in black and white or grayscale or without the background.]
Nature and Purpose of Course:
There are a variety of ways to study Christian Ethics. One approach is to look at the history and development of Christian ethical thinking from the earliest Christian writers (the New Testament writers) to the present. Another way is to examine various types of Christian ethical theories, e.g., Christian Realism, Narrative Ethics, Liberation Theology, etc. A third way is to start with ethical issues that have been important to Christianssuch as poverty, war, and abortionand examine the way various Christians have dealt with them. Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses. This course will combine aspects of all of these approaches in an effort to appreciate the development, diversity, and unique concerns that have characterized Christian ethics.
Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to
- describe and critique representative approaches to Christian ethics
- analyze major ethical issues from a variety of Christian ethical perspectives
- analyze specific forms of service from a variety of Christian ethical perspectives
- Christian Ethics: An Essential Guide by Robin W. Lovin
- Bible and Ethics in the Christian Life by Bruce C. Birch & Larry L. Rasmussen
- Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics by Reinhold Niebuhr (This book can also be read in its entirety on-line at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/23360361/ebook-Niebuhr-Reinhold-Moral-Man-and-Immoral-Society-A-Study-in-Ethics-and-Politics-philo but you will not have proper page numbers)
- A Black Theology of Liberation by James H. Cone
- A Community of Character by Stanley Hauerwas
- Why Were Equal: Introducing Feminist Theology by Val Web
- A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
As an upper level RPH course, there will be a fair amount of reading and writing involved in our study. We have seven books that we will read all or most of. There will be a take-home essay exam on each book. The final "exam" is to be either a group project/presentation or research paper. (Keep in mind the project/presentation will also require research.) Groups may be 2-3 persons. Students will research a topic chosen from a list I will provide, explain the ethical problems raised by the topic, and how Niebuhr, Cone, Hauerwas, Webb, and Evans, have or might deal with the topic. E.g., if the topic were capital punishment, how would each of these Christian thinkers analyze the issue and what would they say is the right thing to do? In light of that discussion, how would the members of the group respond to the issue? Each group will have approximately 40 minutes for this presentation. Think of it as a way of teaching the class about the topic, and be sure to provide a bibliography of sources consulted, handouts, and a short written summary of your presentation. For those interested in doing a research paper, meet with me before fall break to finalize a topic.
Students are expected to write e-journals in response to questions found on the syllabus and under the "Assignments" section of Educator. Journal responses need only be a couple of paragraphs.
Christian ethics is not only concerned with knowing about right and wrong and good and bad from a Christian perspective, it is also concerned with doing what is right and promoting what is good. For that reason, this course will include a service component of 10 hours. Students may choose where they do their service hours and whether they want to do all 10 hours at one location or split the hours up among two or more locations. The choice of locations is also open, but should be with an organization that is largely motivated by a Christian commitment to service. Some examples of where students might work include: Habitat for Humanity; Help and Hope; a local church that has an outreach program (e.g., an after school program, day care); Family Violence Prevention and Rape Crisis Center; Christian Health Center of Batesville; or an interdenominational or nondenominational agency. A good place to get a list of possible places to do service would be through the Campus Ministry Board which sets up the Fall Service Day. STUDENTS MUST GET MY APPROVAL FOR WHERE THEY DO THEIR SERVICE HOURS IN ADVANCE. For each hour of service, the student should e-mail me about what they did, who they interacted with, and in what ways the work of this organization reflects the views of Christian ethics we are covering in the course (or how the particular view might interpret the work of the organization). (E.g., do people work here because they are obeying a command by God or they have been inspired by the example of someone else?) I should receive at least 10 e-mails for this assignment -- one for each hour of service. These e-mails are not the same as the students' e-journals. Students will also need to get some official signature from the supervisor or other responsible person at the organization indicating they have put in the hours they report.
COLLABORATION: Students are encouraged to help each other in preparing for exams and exchanging ideas and advice on papers. However, in keeping with the Lyon College Honor Code, actual written work on exams and e-mail journals are to be done by the student her or himself. Be sure to write "pledged" on all submitted work, including e-journals.
Please note: Students seeking reasonable accommodations based on documented learning disabilities should contact the Office of Academic Services at 307-7332.
Nov 27-Dec 1 THANKSGIVING BREAK
© 2011-13 Paul Custodio Bube