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This article revisits theologian Ulrich Duchrow’s three-decade-old use of the Protestant notion of status confessionis to denounce the capitalist global economy. Scholars quickly dismissed Duchrow’s argument; however, philosopher Thomas Pogge has developed a remarkable “negative duty”—based critique of the current global economic order that might help revitalize Duchrow’s position. The article argues that sound reasons exist for the churches to declare the contemporary world economy a—provisionally termed—status confessionis minor. After explaining the inadequacy of Duchrow’s original position and summarizing Pogge’s account, the article develops a twofold argument. First, Pogge’s in-depth inquiry into the world economy gives Duchrow’s call for a status confessionis a strong yet narrowing economic foundation. Second, to declare the world economy a status confessionis minor is theological-ethically justifiable if the limited though indispensable “prophetic” significance of doing so is acknowledged. Thus, Duchrow’s approach is justified, but only partially.

In: Philosophia Reformata

Some influential philosophers have argued that carbon commodification is a morally bad means of combating global climate change. This article argues that the ethical critique of carbon commodification derives moral coherence and strength from its implicit religious foundation, that is, the “Protestant” understanding of social ethics on which it relies. The argument is threefold. First, the ethical critique of carbon commodification is not a strictly ethical position, as it typically depends on prophetic indictment as well as moral-philosophical concerns. Second, the ethical critique of carbon commodification involves a secularized continuation of the “Protestant” tradition within Christian thought. Third, its “Protestant-ness” gives the ethical critique of carbon commodification critical power, as the very occurrence of climate change implies coherency problems for the opposing dominant “Roman” tradition.

In: Philosophia Reformata

Abstract

Some influential philosophers have argued that carbon commodification is a morally bad means of combating global climate change. This article argues that the ethical critique of carbon commodification derives moral coherence and strength from its implicit religious foundation, that is, the “Protestant” understanding of social ethics on which it relies. The argument is threefold. First, the ethical critique of carbon commodification is not a strictly ethical position, as it typically depends on prophetic indictment as well as moral-philosophical concerns. Second, the ethical critique of carbon commodification involves a secularized continuation of the “Protestant” tradition within Christian thought. Third, its “Protestant-ness” gives the ethical critique of carbon commodification critical power, as the very occurrence of climate change implies coherency problems for the opposing dominant “Roman” tradition.

In: Christian Faith, Philosophy & International Relations