Christians and the Transcendence of the Good [chapter]

Maarten Wisse
2022 The Transcendent Character of the Good  
Questions of moral pluralism are complex. They are posed from different perspectives, and they are tackled along many different lines. This is even true of the discussion of moral pluralism and realism in theology. In this, theology is not alone. The discussion of moral pluralism in philosophy is strongly affected by different philosophical schools as well. In the Moral Compass Project, hosted by the Protestant Theological University, we notice this time and again when we discuss each other's
more » ... ntributions to the project. It makes a difference whether one approaches moral realism from an analytic or a continental philosophical perspective. The same goes for schools in theological ethics. It matters whether one approaches moral realism or relativism from a virtue ethical or divine command ethical point of view. Not only this, but one also quickly stumbles upon fundamental presuppositions which govern our ways of thinking about moral questions. Even in a post-metaphysical era, it is very hard to avoid any basic grand story that directs our actions and views, but is as such something that cannot be argued for in knockdown logical terms. This is why in the Moral Compass Project, not only ethical, but also theological and dogmatic questions play a role. In the end, whether one adopts a realist, relativist or pluralist standpoint does not go back to an evaluation of empirical data, but is embedded in a grand narrative of what the world and its origin in God look like. Such a grand narrative explains where moral convictions have their place in the universe and how we can make sense of those convictions vis-a-vis the moral pluralism that we find in our modern societies. Such grand narratives can hardly ever be proven true or false in any straightforward way, but they can be argued for or against in terms of their overall explanatory power in making sense of the world around us. Such an argument will always remain partial and contextual, as all the 20th-century masters of suspicion have argued, but this does not make them superfluous or Christians and the Transcendence of the Good A Response to Nigel Biggar Maarten Wisse
doi:10.4324/9781003305323-6 fatcat:eht6ogj2qffh7pvh3igzkyqeme