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Religious Ethics

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Introduction

Compare and contrast religious ethics with one other ethical theory. How does a Christian decide what is right and wrong? Catholic Christianity has traditionally maintained that there are absolutes that cannot be changed by the circumstances. This deontological theory will contrast with the teleological theory of Utilitarianism, evoking contrast, while coinciding with one another when considering an approach to sexual ethics and in particular focusing on adultery. Jeremy Bentham's Utilitarian theory is based on 'the greatest good for the greatest number.' It is a theological approach based on consequences; it is not concerned with motives only the outcomes. Bentham believes that the reasons for having sex are as follows: Value of pleasure, consensual sex creates much good, avoid harm to other persons. ...read more.

Middle

On this basis adultery is wrong. When looking for direction on the matter of adultery using Christian ethics we turn to the passage from the Sermon on the Mount, 'Treat others as you would like to be treated.' If following this quote and you still participate in the act of adultery you are accepting that it is acceptable for everyone including your own husband/wife to participate in an adulterous relationship. This clearly is denouncing adultery, as no one would find adultery a norm within a marriage. The Old Testament also condemns adultery comparing it to theft and therefore is punishable by stoning. When taking the view of a catholic, using natural law, the primary purpose of sex is for procreation and procreation alone. ...read more.

Conclusion

A childless woman saw herself as accursed and she had no status. Therefore looking at adultery from both Utilitarianism and a Christian stand point, it becomes clear that both theories do not agree that adultery is an acceptable practice. For a Utilitarianist adultery is tolerable initially as long as no one finds out. However when examined more closely, eventually the relationship will cause more harm than good and therefore is ultimately seen as an undesirable practice to be involved with. Most ethical theories will disregard adultery, labelling it unfair to the innocent husband/wife who is uniformed about what is going on. Some ethical theories take into account people's emotions, others do not. However the purpose of marriage is a union between two people, who want the spend the rest of their lives together, consequently any other relationship other then the married one would be deemed unacceptable by most people, no matter what they believe. ...read more.

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