Stanley L. Olsen
Stanley L. Olsen

Augustana College
Sioux Falls, SD

Stanley L. Olsen
Chair of Moral Values

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Augie Values




Dr. Ann Pederson's Phil 110 class

discussion of

Philip Hefner, The Human Factor

7 Oct 1999

Arlen Viste

Philip J. Hefner home page

LSTC Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

CCRS The Chicago Center for Religion and Science

CCRS Epic of Creation Project

Phil Hefner on ethics and moral values

    Reflections on cloning a lamb

    Cloning: As Quintessential Human Act (for the President's Bio-ethics Commission)

Philip Hefner, The Human Factor

    Perspectives on the "Created Co-Creator" motif in relation to issues of ethics, morality, and moral values connected with science and technology

    Here are some excerpts/passages that I find quite meaningful and significant.
    Together they provide some insight into what Hefner is up to in this interesting book.

      p. 19-21: We are part of nature.
      Our activities and self-understanding impact the entire globe.
      Myth/ritual and science need to serve the whole threatened natural order.

      p. 27: We are created co-creators, with deep responsibility for the future of nature that has given rise to us.

      p. 32: Rooted in nature, we as created co-creator have a measure of freedom as well as constraint and responsibility.

      p. 41: Our meaning and purpose grow out of our rootedness in the ecosystem and our responsibility for it.

      p. 45: Both genetics and culture are inextricably part of us.

      p. 49: Both myth and ritual, and the world of technology, are part and parcel of evolutionary processes.

      p. 68: Sin includes our alienation from nature.

      p. 98: Environmental policy entails issues of value, concerning human life and the larger matrix of the global ecosystem and other life forms, in the context of which we exist and act.

      p. 114: "Determinism is the polar concept of freedom."

      p. 141: What do you think of Ralph Burhoe's perspective, "that the very aspects of the process of life that make human culture possible are intrinsically the bearers of the possibility of sin and evil?"

      p. 152: Our decisions and actions critically influence the survival (or not) of the global ecosystem.

      p. 165-166: The earth's carrying capacity for humans living in a hunter-gatherer culture is very much less than the current population.

      p. 178: Values and morality grow out of our genetic and evolutionary roots.

      p. 198, Fig 12-1: Conceptual diagram of biocultural evolution.

      p. 202: In the context of myth and ritual, "all values finally receive their validity from being rooted in and in harmony with the way things really are."

      p. 209: Hypothesis: "altruism is an intrinsic value, rooted in the fundamental character of reality."

      p. 213: Too simplistic: science as what? questions, religion as why? questions.

      p. 229: Joseph Sittler (WCC New Delhi 1961) and Colossians 1:15-20:
      "a doctrine of redemption is meaningful only when it swings within the larger orbit of a doctrine of creation."

      p. 237: Jaroslav Pelikan (1988): "The fundamental concept in the biblical understanding of what it means to be human is the doctrine of creation in the image of God."

      p. 248: "Through the action of its culture, therefore, the human being represents a proposal for the further evolution of the created world."

      p. 277-279: In the Epilogue, Hefner summarizes his proposals and insights compactly and cogently.

    In summary, I find particularly significant these emphases in Hefner:

      As created co-creators, we are deeply rooted and grounded in nature.

      Our moral values and ethics, culture, technology, myth and ritual, all grow out of evolutionary processes in the matrix of the global ecosystem, and are rooted in the way things really are.

      Our decisions and actions critically influence the survival (or not) of the global ecosystem.

    Phil Hefner's work might be usefully accented and extended by a greater emphasis on sustainability. Here are examples of such further discussion.

    Recognition and brief review of Philip Hefner, The Human Factor

    Hefner in good company

      Science and Religion Quotes (compiled by Paul Henry Carr):
      "Traditional religious creation stories and evolution are complementary. Science and religion together can weave a rich tapestry of new meaning for our age." (Theologian Philip Hefner)

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