Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Verbum et Ecclesia]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=2074-770520120002&lang=pt vol. 33 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>For and about Etienne de Villiers as ethicist of responsibility</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052012000200001&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt <![CDATA[<b>Etienne de Villiers as ethicist of responsibility</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052012000200002&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The paper considered six ways to describe Etienne de Villiers as ethicist of responsibility. They broadly corresponded with chronological phases in his academic career. The first was the way in which he initially took responsibility to teach theological ethics in a methodologically reflective way. The second was the way in which he increasingly found answers to these methodological concerns in responsibility ethics as an approach. The third was the way in which he spent much time analysing the work of responsibility ethicists. This critical engagement led to a fourth phase, still ongoing, developing his own approach. Against this background, the paper argued that he had always been an ethicist of responsibility in the fifth sense that he addressed urgent moral challenges. Developing this, a final section claims that he was an ethicist of responsibility according to Weber's description of science as vocation. The paper was read as key note presentation at the University of Pretoria on 09 November 2011, when D.E. (Etienne) de Villiers was honoured on the occasion of his retirement. On the specific request of the organisers, the speech was held in Afrikaans and the original oral form was retained here, including the personal rethorical style of the introduction and conclusion. <![CDATA[<b>Virtue and responsibility: Economic-ethical perspectives in the work of Etienne de Villiers</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052012000200003&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This article was developed in six statements and attempted to reconstruct the basis for the socio-economic ethics of Etienne de Villiers, as well as its ecclesio-centric nature and theoretical formulation in virtue and responsibility ethics. There was reference to De Villiers's shift from an exclusive to an inclusive ethical view as a response to his interpretation of modernity and secularism. Critical questions were raised as to the actual theological character of his ethics and his re-interpretation of Weberian responsibility ethics. The article concluded with an appreciative view on the applied ethics perspectives developed by De Villiers over the last three decades. <![CDATA[<b>Personal-ethical perspectives in the work of Etienne de Villiers</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052012000200004&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt With a mixture of hesitation and gratitude, the author undertook a reflection from a pastor's viewpoint on Etienne de Villiers's personal-ethical contributions to date. The distinguishing term 'personal' in 'personal ethics' is problematic, but the discussion thereof provided an opportunity to demonstrate that De Villiers did not develop a narrowed individual ethic, and decidedly also did not elect to take the route of Dilschneider's 'personal ethics', but provided valuable contributions on ethical issues of a more personal nature. De Villiers's greatest contribution concerns fundamental ethics which, viewed from the perspective of our history, as well as from our current situation, is now most essential for authenticity. This more fundamental focus on ethics has numerous implications for social ethics and also for more personal ethics. <![CDATA[<b>Public Theology in pluralistic societies? Lessons from the theology of Etienne de Villiers</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052012000200005&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This article discussed the meaning and significance of the theological contribution of Etienne de Villiers for the task of prophetic public theology in pluralistic societies. It was argued that De Villiers's theology enriched public theology in a variety of ways. De Villiers convincingly argued that Christian morality does have unique contents. These unique contents enrich and deepen discussions in the pluralistic public domain. De Villiers also showed that Christians can enter the public domain from the perspective of so-called thicker theological convictions like sin and love. De Villiers emphasised the participation of Christians in so-called technical discourses. This implied that Christians strive to make their convictions as far as possible intellectually accessible to a pluralistic audience, that Christians strive for moral consensus, sound moral decision-making, influencing of the public opinion and participation in policy-making processes in pluralistic life. This technical discourse with the aim to reach moral consensus and to impact on policymaking processes should also be practiced within Christian communities where a plurality of moral views, even conflicting views, exist. This quest for decision-making, consensus and impacting on public policy are to be advanced in the ecumenical Christian family, and even between Christians and other religions. <![CDATA[<b>Ecclesiology and Ethics: Etienne de Villiers' work in the light of ecumenical discussions on ecclesiology and ethics</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052012000200006&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt In honouring Etienne de Villiers, this article discusses the latter's contribution to a deepening of the notions of church and ethics, as well as the mutual relationship between these notions in the South African context. De Villiers' work in this regard is compared with that which has been done by the World Council of Churches (WCC). The article therefore highlights the manner in which De Villiers, in line with the WCC, analysed the moral deformation, but also the transformation and formation in which especially the Dutch Reformed Church was involved in in South Africa since the middle of the 20th century. Although De Villiers mainly works in the field of Christian ethics, it is clear that the latent ecclesiological views to which his ethical contributions are related, would also, to a considerable extent, be in line with those that have been and are being developed by the WCC. <![CDATA[<b>After Fukushima: The precautionary principle revisited</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052012000200007&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Etienne de Villiers, more than other theologians, elaborates on basic elements of a Christian ethics of responsibility. He distinguishes between retrospective and prospective responsibility. The prospective aspect attracted awareness after the nuclear accident in the Fukushima reactors on 11 March 2011. The question on how to respond in an ethically responsible manner to catastrophic risks was put back on the agenda. The article takes up this question and discusses the answer given in the international debate by the introduction of the 'precautionary principle'. The principle is described with its background in the 'heuristics of fear', proposed by the philosopher Hans Jonas. Four criticisms are discussed in detail relating to the problems of scientific uncertainty, the burden of proof, the weight of damages and the perils of precaution. That leads to a reformulation of the precautionary principle as a concrete element within an ethics of responsibility. <![CDATA[<b>Food justice and Christian ethics</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052012000200008&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt The article dealt with the moral and political problem of international food justice in which the deep contradiction between the present situation of malnourishment and starvation in large parts of the global population on the one hand and the biblical notion of the preferential option for the poor on the other hand was described. This ecumenically widely accepted notion was clarified in several aspects. How deeply this is rooted in the history of Christian social thought was shown by Martin Luther's writings on the economy which have remained relatively unknown in the churches and in the scholarly world. The article then presented three models of Christian economic ethic: the technical economic model, the utopian economic model and the public theological economic model. On the basis of the public theological model seven challenges for international food justice were presented. The basis for these challenges is an understanding of globalisation which guarantees just participation for everyone and deals with nature in an ecologically sustainable way. The interests of small farmers are the basis for judging the activities of big agro-corporations. Public theology is the background for an active involvement of the churches as agents of a global civil society to promote international food justice. <![CDATA[<b>Escaping from the ghetto</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052012000200009&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt 'Revealed theology' claims that religious belief derives from divine revelation and can only be justified in the light of such revelation. This entails a retreat into an intellectual ghetto: Only believers can participate in this kind of theology because only believers have access to divine revelation. The usual alternative to revealed theology is 'natural theology', which tries to prove the truth of (Christian) faith in the light of the universally accessible criteria of reason and experience. It is argued that natural theology fails to provide such proof and therefore cannot liberate theology from the intellectual ghetto of revealed theology. This paper argues for a 'philosophical theology' which analyses the meaning of (Christian) doctrine rather than proving its truth. Since the methods and criteria of this analysis are universally acceptable and not reserved for believers, this form of theology liberates believers from the intellectual ghetto of revealed theology. <![CDATA[<b>Reading the African context</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052012000200010&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt There is so much alienation, pain and suffering in our today's world. In this vein, African Christianity, a voice amongst many voices, should seek to be a transformational religion for the whole of life, affecting all facets of human life towards a fuller life of all in Africa. This article sought to highlight and point to some of the major societal challenges in the African context which African Christianity, as a life-affirming religion, should continue to embrace, re-embrace and engage with, if it has to be relevant to the African context. In this vein, the article argued that a correct reading of the African context would lead to a more relevant theory and praxis of African Christianity for the benefit of all African peoples and their global neighbours. The contention of this article was that African Christianity has a significant role to play in the re-shaping of the African society and in the global community of humans, only that this role must be executed inclusively, responsibly and appropriately, together with all those who seek the holistic development of Africa towards one common destiny. <![CDATA[<b>Christian ethics in the face of secularism</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052012000200011&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt This article deals with the implications of modern secularism for the concept of Christian ethics. How does the decline of Christianity in modern Western societies impede the validity of a Christian ethical approach to contemporary social issues? The concept secularism is explained. The argument then moves to the meta-theory of Christian ethics, namely the revelation of God as it is expressed in the 'book of nature', the written word, and the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ. The article concludes that as long as Christian ethics remains faithful to this meta-theory, understands the modern macro-ethical questions and maintains a deep social focus, it will remain relevant in a secular society. <![CDATA[<b>The neglected context: The growing impact of modernity on the South African population and its spiritual, economic and ecological consequences</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052012000200012&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt Humanity seems to be drifting like a rudderless raft towards a cataract. The main factors are the growth of the human population, the escalation of material expectations, the exploding discrepancies between affluent and marginalised population groups and the impact of these growth processes on the natural environment. The modern claim to mastery, ownership and entitlement and its spectacular successes has led to unprecedented power without a concomitant growth in responsibility. In spiritual and cultural terms, modernity undermines all traditional certainties, values and constraints. The South African population is engulfed in a messy transition from African traditionalist, to modern and postmodern assumptions. The most reticent citizens are the least competitive and the most marginalised. The Christian faith, rooted as it is in tradition and geared to spiritual concerns, is no match for the power of the modern mindset. To regain its redemptive relevance, it needs fundamental reconceptualisations. The article closes with a few starting points for such a project. <![CDATA[<b>The distinctiveness of Christian morality - Reflections after 30 years</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052012000200013&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt I completed my doctoral dissertation on The distinctiveness of Christian morality in 1978. In this article, now more than 30 years later, I critically examined the extent to which the view that I developed in my doctoral dissertation is still valid today and to what extent it stands to be corrected in the light of developments in Christian ethics in the meantime. Firstly, I provided a brief summary of the view developed in the dissertation. Secondly, I discussed the influential alternative view of Stanley Hauerwas and attempted to identify ways in which his view necessitates corrections to my own view in the dissertation. Thirdly, I criticised the one-sidedness of Hauerwas's view on the distinctiveness of Christian morality and discussed ways in which we need to go beyond Hauerwas's view in order to develop a more satisfactory and also more inclusive approach.