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Moral Pluralism and Goals of Moral Education within Christian Adult Education

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The article focuses on the way moral pluralism is dealt with in adult religious-moral education. Following the philosopher N. Rescher, various angles on the diversity of moral stances are identified: nihilism, monism, scepticist pluralism, relativist pluralism, syncretist pluralism and contextualist pluralism. On the basis of this typology certain goals of Christian moral education for adults are singled out. The results of an empirical study among Christian adult educators confirms the fruitfulness of Rescher’s typology for describing these goals and provides pointers for amending them. Thus Christian adult educators combine the three pluralist goals that we discerned in a single goal, which we call a deliberative pluralist goal of moral education. This is the goal that educators agree with most strongly. It requires participants to learn to consider the various moral stances as legitimate alternatives. Agreement with the pluralist goal goes hand in hand with a democratic view of the church and openness to alternative beliefs and mystical experience.

Affiliations: 1: Email: C.Hermans@rs.ru.nl

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