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Christian Ethics (RELT 373). I.What is Ethics? A.“Ethics are standards of duty and virtue, indicating how one should/ought to behave according to principles.

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Presentation on theme: "Christian Ethics (RELT 373). I.What is Ethics? A.“Ethics are standards of duty and virtue, indicating how one should/ought to behave according to principles."— Presentation transcript:

1 Christian Ethics (RELT 373)

2 I.What is Ethics? A.“Ethics are standards of duty and virtue, indicating how one should/ought to behave according to principles of right and wrong. Ethics focuses on the question: What ought one to do?”

3 I.What is Ethics? B.Ethics (n.) 1.The discipline dealing with what is good and bad or right and wrong or with moral duty and obligation; 2.A group of moral principles or set of values; a particular theory or system of moral values; 3.The principles of conduct governing an individual or a profession; standards of behavior;

4 II. Definitions of Moral Terms A.Values 1.A principle or quality seen as intrinsically desirable or valuable. (Generally very broad.) 2.Values are Vague, not precisely defined as specific behaviors 3.Christian Example: Modesty, honesty, etc.

5 II. Definitions of Moral Terms B.Norms 1.A principle of right action that is binding on groups and group members, which guides and regulates appropriate behavior 2.Is narrower in focus than Values but broader than Rules. 3.Semi-specific definitions for behavior but still some vagueness. 4.Christian Example: (re value of modesty): Ladies should not wear blouses/shirts with a deep vee (i.e. revealing) or short skirts; men should not wear pants too tight.

6 II. Definitions of Moral Terms C.Rules 1.Specific regulations applying a norm to specific behavioral definitions. Rules are narrower in focus Norms. 2.Example: Shirt/blouse/dress: "The neck line should be no lower than 4 fingers below collar bone" Skirt/dress: "Can be no shorter that 4 fingers above the top of the kneecap"

7 II.Definitions of Moral Terms D.Moral Dilemma, Dilemma, Moral Conflict 1.Moral Dilemma: A case where one has two moral “oughts” in conflict with no way to satisfy both – in Theological terms one must sin or sin. Classic example cited: “Lying to save the Jew you hid from the Nazi's.”

8 II.Definitions of Moral Terms 2.Dilemma: A situation that requires a choice between options that are or seem equally unfavorable or mutually exclusive, but the moral issues are clear or not an issue. Examples: You accidentally double-book an appointment and have to cancel one. An elderly hospital patient has just been diagnosed as terminally ill but the family has asked you not to tell this patient that information. Now the patient asks you if they are dying.

9 Moral Dilemma, Dilemma, Moral Conflict 3.Moral Conflict: A specialized form of Dilemma where one will be in conflict & experience suffering IF you do the “Right Thing.” The moral issue is perfectly clear, however. Example: The 3 Hebrews: Bow down to an image versus being thrown into a fiery furnace; Daniel and the Lions’ den; One may risk losing their job to properly keep the Sabbath. Geisler often treats a Moral Conflict and a Moral Dilemma as being the same thing, but they are not the same.

10 Ethical Absolutism versus Relativism Ethical Absolutism: Believes there are absolute, unchanging, universal standards of right and wrong, not affected by cultural or social influences: Right and Wrong are ABSOLUTE! Ethical Relativism: Denies any absolute, universal standards of right and wrong. Sees morality as evolving, flexible, and culturally based.

11 III. Classifying Ethical Systems Two Pairs of Opposite terms used to classify Ethical Schools/Systems –Deontological versus Teleological –Libertine versus Paternalistic

12 Deontological Ethics Based on Duty, not Consequences Do the right thing because it is right, regardless of consequences –Keep the Sabbath even if it means losing your job –Whistle blower risking job or promotion Absolutist Less adaptable, but stable, firm, sometimes rigid

13 Teleological Ethics Good is determined by consequences, not by theoretical principles or by intentions Swat team illustration – is shooting moral? –Depends on what the bullet hits Relativist Flexible, but no assurance you are doing right until it works out

14 Paternalistic Ethics Greek: Pater = Father Says ethics needs a Father/Authority to tell you what is right and wrong The authority can be a Government, a philosopher, etc. “Father knows best” mentality Tends to closely ally with Deontological

15 Libertine Ethics Emphasizes the full LIBERTY of the individual to decide for YOURSELF what is right and wrong No authority figure

16 4-Way Overlap Deontological Teleological PaternalisticLibertine

17 Christian Ethics Deontological Teleological PaternalisticLibertine

18 Christian Ethics Traditional Christian Deontological Teleological PaternalisticLibertine

19 Other Ethics Traditional Christian` Deontological Teleological PaternalisticLibertine

20 Other Ethics Traditional Christian Rule Utilitarian Deontological Teleological PaternalisticLibertine

21 Other Ethics Traditional Christian Rule Utilitarian Deontological Teleological PaternalisticLibertine

22 Other Ethics Traditional Christian Rule Utilitarian Most Teleological Deontological Teleological PaternalisticLibertine

23 Like 4 Color Printing – Near infinite combinations Thus there are many many schools of ethics No master list – varies by author Geisler Chapter 1 Conclusion: –Proof we cant figure out right and wrong on our own abilities –David L and Allan R in Hawaii

24 Christian Conclusion Micah 6:8

25 End of Intro to Ethics Biblical Absolutism is Next


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