Course Topics

Rel. 241: Christian Ethics

An introduction to the biblical and theological sources of Christian ethics, types of moral theories, and methods of moral deliberation. Students develop a moral framework for a response to a variety of issues related to human sexuality, business, ecology, business, medicine, and war. Prerequisite: one of 101, 111, or 112.

Rel. 242: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

An introduction to the life and thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran theologian executed for his participation in a conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler. His theological ethics are examined in their historical context through three major primary texts: The Cost of Discipleship, Ethics, and Letters and Papers from Prison. Attention is given to the significance of Bonhoeffer's work for today. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: one of 101, 111, or 112. Offered alternate years.

Rel. 243: Environmental Ethics

A critical examination of issues in environmental ethics from diverse Christian perspectives. The course examines root causes of environmental problems, philosophical and theological assumptions about nature, and resources for response in Christian traditions. Particular attention is given to demographic and economic factors at the global level as well as personal consumption decisions at the local level. Case studies ground reflection in concrete situation. Typically offered during alternate years at Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state. Prerequisite: one of 101, 111, or 112. Offered alternate years.

Rel. 485: Christianity and the Fate of Earth

A host of environmental problems have emerged over the past fifty years that pose grave challenges to virtually all forms of life on Earth and the ecological systems that support them. This seminar will examine ways Christian traditions have contributed to these problems but it will also explore ways Christian traditions can be recovered or transformed to respond to them. The seminar will give particular attention to the eco-feminist claim that the degradation of nature and the oppression of human beings are linked by a logic of domination. We will read a wide range of books by contemporary biblical scholars, theologians and ethicists, including works by Thomas Berry, Steven Bouma-Prediger, Ellen Davis, Sallie McFague, Larry Rasmussen, and Rosemary Radford Ruether.

Paideia 450: Ethics and Technology

Technologies pervade modern life. They buzz in our pockets, heat our food, transport us across vast distances, but also change the atmosphere of the planet. Are they merely means that contribute to our fulfillment of the good life? Or do some technologies and the mindset that accompanies them diminish what it means to be human? How should we assess technologies ethically? To what extent do technologies illumine, exacerbate, create, or resolve moral problems? This course explores questions like these as they arise in the areas of globalization, economics, and human rights; computers, robotics, and information technology; biotechnology and genetic engineering; and population, energy, and the environment.

Paideia 450: Ethics, Energy, and Climate Policy

Heavy reliance on fossil fuels is posing grave threats to justice, peace, and ecological systems. The related challenges posed by global climate change are unprecedented in human history. Any attempt to grapple with these problems requires addressing energy and climate policy. This writing-intensive and student-directed course examines ethical issues related to energy and climate policy through the concepts of stewardship, sustainable development, and the ethic of ecological justice. While the course focuses largely on U.S. energy policy, it also addresses international dimensions of climate policy.