Towards an Ethics of Community
Negotiations of Difference in a Pluralist Society
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$42.95 Paper, 240 pp.
How do we deal with difference personally, interpersonally, nationally? Can we weave a cohesive social fabric in a religiously plural society without suppressing differences?
This collection of significant essays suggests that to truly honour differences in matters of faith and religion we must publicly exercise and celebrate them. The secular/sacred, public/private divisions long considered sacred in the West need to be dismantled if Canada (or any nation state) is to develop a genuine mosaic that embraces fundamental differences instead of a melting pot that marginalizes. An ethics of difference starts with a recognition of difference, not as deviance or deficit that threatens but as otherness to connect with, cherish, and celebrate.
The book begins with the suggestion that our inability to come to terms with social plurality is not fundamentally the fault of religious differences, and that a public/private split inadequately deals with matters of basic difference. It then explores how encouraging people to live out their respective faiths may open new possibilities for respectful, honourable, and just negotiations of contemporary dilemmas arising out of the multicultural fabric of Canadian life.
Towards an Ethics of Community introduces readers to some of the most challenging and divisive dilemmas we face in this increasingly pluralistic, postmodern world — issues such as family and domestic violence, Aboriginal rights, homosexuality and public policy, and female genital mutilation. This is a book truly global in scope and significance.
James H. Olthuis is a professor of Philosophical Theology and Ethics at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, Canada, where he has taught since 1968. He rollerblades to work and is a psychotherapist in private practice.