2 Outcomes BOSdescribe and explain Christian ethical teachings on bioethics
3 ETHICSDefinition: Ethics is the examination of collective and individual decision making about what are worthy human actions and the explanation of why people make such judgements.
4 CHRISTIAN ETHICSChristian morality is based on the will of God. Christians believe that God’s will is known and exampled through Jesus’ life and teachings. Humanity finds out about these teachings an can observe the example of Jesus’ life because it is recorded in the New Testament.It is explained and analysed through the historical teachings of the Church and within each individual congregation. God’s will is also believed to be directly experienced by individuals through the Holy Spirit.
5 Christian ethics can be divided into two very different approaches Christian ethics can be divided into two very different approaches. These are based on the concepts of Authority or Natural Law.
6 REASON: Allows humanity to determine the will of God NATURAL LAW: Thomas Aquinas theologyNatural law is a term used to describe a form of ethical thought which comes from the concept of Perfect Creation.The belief is that God created everything perfectly so if we study the way life works and learn the laws of nature we will earn how to behave.REASON: Allows humanity to determine the will of GodFREEDOM OF CHOICE: Allows individuals to follow God’s will, or not (The Christian Church hopes that you use the freedom to act responsibly according to God’s will).Aquinas said that acting ethically (or ‘being good’ as a Christian) is guided also by what makes us better humans or ‘more human’ (he believed we were made in God’s likeness and had enormous potential to be forces of good, like our creator) Aquinas believed that the general purpose of being ‘human’ was: to live, to work, to reproduce, to educate children, to have an ordered and ‘humane’ society and to worship God.If we are following Natural Law we will: Do Good not evil; Harm no one; Treat people well, etc (basically follow the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule).
7 OTHER SOURCES Scripture (Bible) Particularly the New Testament REVEALED LAWScripture (Bible)Particularly the New TestamentChristians look to the words & teachings of Jesus to see how a perfectly moral human being dealt with life’s issues.Revealed Law:Ten Commandments (Ex 20:1-7)The Beatitudes (Mt 5-7)Golden Rule (Mt: 22: 37-39)
8 Church Law ( Authority) Tradition (The Authority of the writings and preachings of some of the previous Church leaders)Various Popes and great Christian thinkers have interpreted what it means to be fully Christian. These writings have become important sources of Christian ethics e.g. The writings of Thomas Aquinas on Natural Law).Encyclicals/ Bishop statementsChristian Churches believe that these thinkers were inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit.
9 ConscienceAll Christians have a duty to develop and inform their conscience. Conscience is often described as a person’s final, or supreme, decider of right or wrong. The primary role of conscience is to uphold the individual’s integrity and moral goodness.
10 Do different Christian denominations place equal emphases on the sources of ethical teachings? The emphasis given to each of the above-mentioned sources varies across denominations. The Catholic Church places greater emphasis on Natural Law and authoritative bodies (erg Vatican Councils such as Vatican II). The Catholic church teaches that God speaks through a person’s conscience.Within Protestant Churches the focus is heavily on the bible as they see it as the central source of moral guidance. Protestants also consider that they have a more direct (or personal) experience with God and do not rely as much on Church authority to guide ethical decisions as Catholics do. Thus there’s a more ‘individualistic’ approach to ethics in Protestant churches.Orthodox churches also rely heavily on the bible. Eastern Orthodox express this as using Jesus’ life as a guide to how they should live their own lives.
11 All Christian denominations have the Ten Commandments, The Beatitudes and the Golden Rule as foundational to all Christian ethics and moral behaviour.Christian decision-making:When Christians make a decision based on their ethical system, they usually ask such questions as:What is my motivation in making the decision? (selfish or selfless)What are the possible consequences? Who is affected by the decision? (anyone effected negatively?)What does my conscience tell me? (Catholics place a great deal of emphasis on conscience as a guide to ethical decision making)What is the basis of my ethical decision? (What guidance can I take from the Churches teachings?)What does my denominational authority / leadership say?
12 What bodies / groups help guide individual Christian’s ethical choices? Christians ethical decisions derive first from themselves (their own experiences) and their conscience. These decisions are obviously shaped and guided by the ethical teachings of the church but also the various authorities within the church structure.Roman Catholics: Guided by the pope and the bishops and the ethical traditions and teachings over the centuriesThe Eastern Orthodox Church is described as a ‘family of Churches’. Each Orthodox church is hierarchical, with ultimate authority residing in its bishop or patriarch.Anglicans are guided by the Anglican General Synods and the pronouncements of its diocesan bishops.Australian Lutherans derive their authority from their pastors and parish reps.Ethical decision making structures in the Uniting Church begin with the local congregation and increase in authority with the Council of Elders. Above this is the Synod, then the National Assembly (National Council of the Church).The Baptist Church has recently introduced committees to take charge of ethical aspects (and other issues).These committees elect reps for the State or Baptist Unions which in turn sned members to the Baptist Assembly
13 ActivityAccess the following worksheet on M-Learning and complete the activities. WORKSHEET: Ethics_Living religion ( class page)