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On the Moral Nature of the Universe (Theology and the Sciences): Theology, Cosmology and Ethics (Theology & the Sciences) Paperback – 1 Aug 1996


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A grand synthesis uniting science, ethics, and religion
This book undertakes the somewhat unfashionable task of a `grand synthesis' of cosmology, science, religion, and ethics, from a strong religious viewpoint. It may thus be considered as a counter-view to E O Wilson's new book on Consilience that is presently receiving much media attention. The significant issue facing the public at large is which broad worldview gives a more satisfactory account of fundamentally important issues such as ethics. Our view is that the socio-biology vision is a partial truth; if claimed to by itself provide a complete explanation, then it explains ethics away, rather than fully explaining ethical issues and moral choices. Morality is deeper than socio-biology alone allows. From the viewpoint of the science-religion debate, our claim is that inclusion of ethics is needed to allow that debate to have adequate depth and scope.

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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Science, Theology and Love Integrated 31 Aug. 2004
By Thomas J. Oord - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The book is co-written by Murphy, who is a professor of Christian philosophy, and Ellis, who is professor of applied mathematics. Both are members of the Anabaptist Christian tradition, and their thought, especially as it relates to pacifism and ethics, reveal this connection to Christian tradition. One of the book's virtues is that its authors clearly lay out their proposals in a very accessible manner.

The overall argument for the book is the following: the fine-tuning of the cosmological constants that has produced a life-bearing universe calls for an explanation. The authors believe that a theistic explanation offers a more coherent account of reality than a non-theistic one. The pattern of divine action in the world, however, seems to indicate that God works with nature, "never over-riding or violating the very processes that God has created" (xv). The fact the God does not violate or override the processes leads the authors to believe that divine action entails refusal to do violence to creation. They link this with kenosis, a Christian New Testament word typically translated, "self-emptying." God renounces self-interest for the sake of the other, no matter what the cost is to God, and that this divine activity ought to be emulated by humans. The authors call for a new research program to explore the possibilities of this kenosis thesis in light of science.

The ethical core of the proposal is that self-renunciation for the sake of the other is humankind's highest goal. One of the more illuminating chapters in the book addresses the power of persuasion, non-violent coercion, and violent coercion. The authors argue that persuasion is to be preferred and they speculate that "a consistent policy of using the least coercive means possible in each social situation will affect the character of the individuals involved such that less coercion will be needed in future resolution of conflict" (151). In sum, contemporary cosmology points ultimately to an ethic that centers on self-sacrifice and non-violence.

Thomas Jay Oord
47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
A happy marriage of science and religion. 22 July 2002
By Levi E. Gardner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was astonished by this book's ability to analyze and typologize scientific activity within a framework of religious wisdom. It not only generates a field of relative connectivity between scientific disciplines, but places them as a whole within the spiritual and mythological activities of the human psyche. It reassures me regarding the fate of humanity that there are educated, well-trained and perceptive individuals who can see the connection between the imagination and human knowledge, and who in turn recognize human moral responsibility for an authentic embodiment of religious teaching through the renunciation of violence. Einstein is quoted as having said, "Religion without science is blind; science without religion is lame." This work has both vision and movement, both clarity and feeling. It provides a perennial balm in an age where specialization brings its own forms of nihilism, and where human violence is too often normalized with the most egregious and potentially catastrophic of consequences. It both clears the mind and calls to the soul. It seemed, to me, to awaken hope for the future of our species.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
slow going, but this book is a revelation 6 Dec. 2012
By Giovanni - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is unique in its depth, scope, and humility. I have been interested in these themes for a while, and I think people of any faith will appreciate the painstaking care that has been taken to integrate knowledge/evidence from experiment, logic, and experience.

Definitely worth it, and it's surprising it isn't more popular. I think it's probably going to take a while for these ideas to seep into the broader public discourse.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
On the Moral Nature of the Universe 19 Aug. 2013
By Ali Parsa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great physicist who connect science and philosophy. A bit complicated in writing, but if you read wholeheartedly you will get a lot from it.
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