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What is Christian ethics?

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Introduction

What is Christian ethics? The term ethics deals with what is morally 'right' or 'wrong'. Christian ethics therefore, deals with what is morally right or wrong for a Christian. There are several distinguishing characteristics of Christian ethics, each of which play a vital role to its analysis. Some Christians will base their ethics solely on the Bible and its teachings, others will base their ethics on the biblical teachings but also on Church tradition and Natural Law, others will follow a Situation or virtue ethics approach and others will look to their conscience as a guide. Christian ethics is based on God's will and is a form of divine command position. However, God never wills anything contrary to his unchanging moral character. The ethical imperatives that God gives are in accord with his unchangeable moral character. That is, God wills what is right in accordance with his own morals - 'Be Holy because I am Holy'. ...read more.

Middle

Temple said, "In its nature, the moral judgement is quite wholly independent of religion." The Roman Catholic Church accounts for the majority of Christians in the world, and is the largest religious organisation of any religion. Within Catholic theology, Natural Law holds a dominant position. Aquinas has emphasised reason as a tool for showing that certain acts are intrinsically right or wrong, as they go against true purpose; certain absolutes, such as sanctity of life, cannot be changed by the circumstances. The Church encourages a range of different approaches, but when it comes to official church teaching, the vast majority of statements, encyclicals etc. are strongly in-line with Natural Law. Within other denominations, Natural Law theology still has a significant impact. Many Christians adopt deontological positions and think we should act according to God's design or purpose for our lives. They may be less influenced by Aquinas in this, and Protestants tend to be less sure about moral absolutes. ...read more.

Conclusion

Instead of focusing on acts or ends, virtue theory holds that people should think about becoming better people, and prescribes qualities which constitute goodness. So while a utilitarian seeks to bring about the end with the greatest good for the greatest number, and Aquinas encouraged people to do actions which accorded with the natural law and avoid those which didn't, virtue theorists encourage people to look to self-improvement. This links to love as being the highest of all virtues and also the rationale for all virtues but just in different circumstances. The virtues, for Christian ethics point towards the goal for which we aim, even if we do not achieve it in life. In conclusion, it is evident that Christians set out to follow the Will of God. They use various sources of authority to discover what the Will of God is and I have mentioned these different types of foundations of the religion in my essay which has proved that whilst most Christians would recognise them as sources of authority, they are likely to place a different emphasis on their relative importance. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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