“Ethics: with or without God”, by Noel Preston, is written from the author’s unique perspective: theological training as a Christian minister, social justice engagement across several decades, combined with an academic career teaching and researching applied ethics in secular universities. From this cross-disciplinary perspective, Noel Preston outlines a common ethical vision and spirituality for humanity, and whether religious belief can be part of that quest.
About this book Prof. Preston said, “I intend to analyse what of religion (Christianity and traditional theism in particular) remains worth keeping in the quest for a common ethical vision and a spirituality for humanity in the twenty-first century.”
This book has six chapters. The first three chapters are more conceptual and theoretical than the remaining chapters. They address the main theme of the book while the remaining chapters are issues-based and applied.
Of special interest for the Earth Charter Initiative is Chapter Five, which develops the idea of a global ethic and global citizenship by drawing especially on the eco-justice vision of The Earth Charter. This chapter has a more extended discussion of the moral dangers confronting life on Earth, realities that serve as a background for the whole book.
Noel Preston is an ethicist and Uniting Church Minister, currently Adjunct Professor in the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance of Griffith University and part-time lecturer at Charles Stuart University through St Francis’ Theological College, Brisbane/Australia. He retired in November 2004 as the founding Director of the Uniting Care Queensland Centre for Social Justice. Previously (from 1987–2001) he held senior academic positions at Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University in the fields of Applied and Professional Ethics with a special research interest in Ethics and Government.
He has been a regular public commentator on social ethics and is currently a co-convenor of the Progressive Spirituality Network (Q’ld.) and a member of the Australian Earth Charter Committee.
He has written other books and articles where he analyzes the Earth Charter as global ethical framework, such as:
- Preston, N., 2001. Understanding Ethics. 2nd ed. Australia: The Federation Press. (Now in its 4th edition)
- Preston, N., 2010. The Why and What of ESD: A Rationale for Earth Charter Education (and Naming Some of Its Difficulties). Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 4:2, pp. 187-192.