Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Christianity in the Twenty-First CenturyReflections on the Challenges Ahead$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780195096514

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195096514.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 23 March 2019

Ethical Ambivalence

Ethical Ambivalence

(p.83) 6 Ethical Ambivalence
Christianity in the Twenty-First Century

Robert Wuthnow

Oxford University Press

If Mother Teresa and other contemporary saints all embody the individualistic ethos prevalent in our culture, they still outshine what any of us are ever likely to accomplish, or even aspire to, in bravery and devotion. In an era of so-called lite heroes, whose small deeds of virtue are overplayed in the media one day and are gone from view the next, these giants of compassion necessarily stand out as the genuine exemplars of high ethics and lasting goodness. Indeed, their example is a clear step removed from the valor we associate with ordinary acts of kindness and charity. It is not just to honor the courage and dedication of those who display exceptional compassion, though, that causes us to set them apart. We feel ambivalent about them, as we do with all heroes and villains. To understand further how ethical role models may serve American culture in the future, this chapter examines the nature of this ambivalence and how thoughtful people actually learn to benefit from the role models they love and hate at the same time.

Keywords:   contemporary saints, compassion, ambivalence, ethics, goodness, role models, heroes, bravery, kindness, charity

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .