Applied ethics
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A study in ethics for the Christian. Topics include sexuality, divorce, pornography, family planning, abortion, bribery and alcohol use.

A study in ethics for the Christian. Topics include sexuality, divorce, pornography, family planning, abortion, bribery and alcohol use.

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Applied ethics Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Applied Ethics Jim Sutherland, PhD www.RMNI.org 1
  • 2. “Morally acceptable behavior” • In 2003 a survey was taken by the Barna Group. At that time 84% of Americans professed to be Christians. These activities were considered "morally acceptable" gambling (61%), cohabitation (60%) and sexual fantasies (59%). Also morally acceptable to 45% was abortion, to 42% was adultery, to 38% was pornography, to 36% was profanity, to 35% was drunkenness and to 30% was homosexual sex. 2
  • 3. Unethical A male nurse was sold a property for a nursing home. The area had flooded several times in the past 20 or so years, but was not told. A major flood was expected and the wife of the seller offered to take out flood insurance a few days in advance, but could not, since it had to be taken out a month in advance. Water filled the house to a depth of about four feet. 3
  • 4. It Got Worse This nurse, on the day of the flood called a good friend and asked if he could come help move furniture and appliances before the water rose. It was Wednesday night and the man said that he could come over around 9 pm that night, after his Bible study on the seven deadly sins. He was told not to bother to come. 4
  • 5. The Foundations Destroyed • "The contemporary West, especially Europe, is now busy amputating its soul. It is rejecting the source of its greatness, that is, the truth revealed by God's Word that defines the value of every individual and redefines the purpose and the function of the state. The West is discarding the source of its morality, rationality, family and humanity: the intellectual foundation of human rights, justice, compassion, care and education." Vishal Mangalwadi, Truth and Transformation, 2009, p. 63, ISBN: 978-1576585122 – Psalm 11:3 When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?" 5
  • 6. SEXUALITY 6
  • 7. Humanity’s Basic Identity is Gender: Genesis 1:27 • God wants the sexes kept distinct. No unisex-- attempting to dress like the opposite sex (Deut. 22:5). What this means varies according to the culture. Is the dress masculine or feminine-- is the issue. – God is opposed to transvestism (those attempting to be the opposite sex) and to sex-change operations. 7
  • 8. Homosexuality/Lesbianism 1≠1 • God’s view of homosexuality is seen by His treatment of Sodom (Gen. 19:24-25). – Leviticus 18:22 "'Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. – Leviticus 20:13 13 "'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. – Romans 1:26-27 God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. • These verses show God’s attitude very clearly. 8
  • 9. Homosexuality/Lesbianism 1≠1 – Homosexuality may be encouraged by domineering mothers and weak fathers, but scripture calls it impurity and degradation (Romans 1:24). • Those openly flaunting their sin are believing a lie (Romans 1:25). • Christians are to treat homosexuals with no less Christian love than other pagans. 9
  • 10. Bestiality: human + animal • The sexual union is reserved for a marriage between a man and woman. • However, sexual relations with animals is discovered today, as in Uganda. • Bestiality is a serious perversion. – Leviticus 18:23 "'Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion. – Leviticus 20:15-16 "'If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he must be put to death, and you must kill the animal. 16 "'If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it, kill both the woman and the animal. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. 10
  • 11. The Sexual union is for Marriage • The marriage bed is ―pure‖ (Hebrews 13:4, NIV). – “Shacking up” or co-habiting is impure. – Wife-swapping is impure, as is practiced at German “swinger clubs.” This has official government sanction—so what is legal is not always pure. – “One night stands” are impure. – What is acceptable by both the husband and wife in bed is pure. 11
  • 12. Fornication (sex outside marriage) • "The old, popular approach to sexual morality argued for extra-marital abstinence in purely consequentialist terms, from the fears of conception, detection and infection." Holmes, p. 114 • The root word is ―porneia‖ in Greek, from which we have ―pornography.‖ • As with adultery, those practicing it will not inherit God’s Kingdom – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 …will inherit the kingdom of God. – Ephesians 5:5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person-- such a man is an idolater-- has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. – Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. • Since a Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, fornication is sin against our body (1 Cor. 6:18-20). 12
  • 13. Prostitution • Leviticus 19:29 ―’Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness. • Proverbs 6:23-26 For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, 24 keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. 25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, 26 for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. • 1 Corinthians 6:15-16 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh.‖ 13
  • 14. Monogamy: 2  1 • One male, Adam, was given one female, Eve (Gen. 2:24). Jesus upheld the inspiration of that text and endorsed monogamy when He quoted from it, ―the two will become one flesh‖ (Matt. 19:5-6; Eph. 5:31). • God’s plan was not for a spouse and another lover or mistress and occasional prostitutes (1 Cor. 6:15-16). 14
  • 15. Polygamy: 1 +1 + 1+… • God did allow polygamy in the Old Testament (Deut. 21:15; 2 Sam. 12:8). Islam still allows four wives. • It led to jealousy and strife in the family (Sarai and Hagar, Gen. 16:1-6; Leah and Rachel, Gen. 29:31-37). • Should a man divorce a second or third wife if he just became a Christian? God hates divorce, and He counsels against divorcing an unbelieving wife (1 Cor. 7:10). I believe that he should keep his wives, support and nurture them, but he cannot take church leadership (1 Tim. 3:2, 12). 15
  • 16. Multiple Spouses: 1 +1 + 1+… • The New Testament teaches against polygamy through the ideal stated by Jesus and through the qualification that church leaders be monogamous (1 Tim. 3:2, 12). • By the same principles, androgeny (one woman having multiple husbands), practiced by some African tribes) is also outside God’s definition of marriage. 16
  • 17. Christian + Christian • A true Christian may only marry a true Christian (2 Cor. 6:14-17). • The Christian has been called out of darkness (1 Pet. 2:9), but unbelievers are still in the ―dominion of darkness‖ (Col. 1:13). – One is on the narrow way and the other on Broadway (Matt. 7:13-14). • Marriage is normally for life, not for eternity, as Mormons teach (Matt. 22:30). 17
  • 18. Playing With Fire • A true Christian engages in potentially self- destructive behavior by dating non-Christians. • God doesn’t condone marriage to ―evangelize.‖ If he won’t ―convert‖ to ―get you,‖ he probably won’t convert after he has you, although a husband can be won by submissive wife (1 Pet. 3:1-2). 18
  • 19. ―Safe Sex‖ • The best protection from STDs is sexual purity. Other methods are imperfect against AIDS and other diseases. • Christians aren’t forced to sin (1 John 3:9; 1 Cor. 10:13). Consider the consequences. • Consider self dead to sin, so we don’t have to allow sin to control our body (Rom. 6:11- 13). • The fruit of the Spirit includes self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). 19
  • 20. God Protects Sexual Relationships • Adultery – He warns adulterers (those married who have sex outside of marriage) and fornicators (the unmarried having sex) that they will be punished with hell, apart from repentance and faith in Christ (1 Cor. 6:9-10, 18). – God sees all our sexual behavior, even in darkness (Prov. 5:21)--as He did King David’s (2 Sam. 12:9). 20
  • 21. Why Say ―No‖ • A woman who gives away her virginity without the vows of marriage is incredibly blind or ignorant. She squanders her purity and her body and the man takes advantage of her, taking without giving security. • According to one study, only 10% of those living together unmarried eventually marry each other. • ―Why buy the cow, when you can have the milk for free?‖ There is little leverage for marriage left (Jehosaphat Wanyama). 21
  • 22. Divorce  Jesus Himself allowed divorce because of adultery. It isn’t mandatory, but neither is it un- Christian for the offended party to divorce.  Matthew 19:9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."  Desertion by a marriage partner who is not a Christian leaves the Christian unbound to that marriage.  1 Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 22
  • 23. “Porneia”  The word for adultery is not specifically used in Matt. 5:32 or 19:9 (and it is distinguished from adultery in 15:19).  The term is more broad than strictly adultery, although it includes adultery. It can include incest and sex with prostitutes and bestiality, as well as homosexuality. John Jefferson Davis, Evangelical Ethics, 3rd ed., p. 106, ISBN: 9780875526225 23
  • 24. Divorce  The apostles Paul and Peter stressed winning the unbeliever to Christ (1 Cor. 7:16; 1 Pet. 3:1- 2). The assumption is that either husband or wife became a Christian after marriage.  The Bible is silent regarding grounds other than adultery or desertion by an unbeliever. Much that is legal divorce (as for ―incompatibility‖ or ―irreconcilable differences‖) is unscriptural and therefore sinful. 24
  • 25. Divorce  God ―hates‖ divorce (Mal. 3:15-16). Divorce for other than adultery or desertion (some would extend it to desertion by a believer), makes either husband or wife liable to the charge of adultery upon further sexual relations.  From God’s perspective, they are still married (Matt. 19:9).  Therefore be very careful who you marry (Matt. 19:10- 11).  If a polygamist becomes a Christian, it is better to continue to care for his wives and their children, instead of divorcing them, making the situation worse. 25
  • 26. Remarriage  It’s clearly alright to remarry upon the death of a marriage partner (1 Cor. 7:39-40), but particularly those of childbearing age (1 Tim. 5:14).  Good Christians differ on grounds for divorce, but Jesus is clear that if a person divorces due to adultery, he or she doesn’t commit adultery by remarriage.  Since the deserted partner is ―not bound‖ (1 Cor. 7:15), presumably to the former partner, there is freedom to remarry a believer (2 Cor. 6:14-17). 26
  • 27. Family Planning: Contraceptives • Why is family planning desired? Together with the need for a companion of the husband, marriage is for bearing children (Gen. 1:28). – Paul even counseled younger widows to remarry and bear children (1 Tim. 5:14). – If the wife has physical reasons why she cannot have children, or possibly strong emotional ones, postponing children or ceasing to have children could be justified. • 1 Peter 3:7 ―Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner….‖ 27
  • 28. Family Planning: Contraceptives • However, a couple may want to devote resources to themselves and not be hindered by children. They may want freedom to travel and to enjoy each other, not having the burden of children . – They may wish to postpone children until later in life, reducing the size of their possible family, as the wife ages. – Whole populations of countries are having few children, so that populations are declining, as in Russia and Europe. – Workers are imported into these nations from Muslim countries, creating the potential for an eventual Muslim population majority, as immigrant family sizes are much larger than that of the host nation. 28
  • 29. Abortion • When does life begin? – Psalm 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. – Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." – Exodus 21:22-23 22 "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 29
  • 30. Abortion • When is abortion justified? – "If the fetal life threatens the mother's right to life, most people would allow an abortion. I suggest this is because actual personhood has greater value than potential personhood: the mother's right to life ranks higher." Holmes, p. 93 – In the case of forced pregnancy—rape (including incest), I think that the woman would have the right to terminate the pregnancy, so as not to have to live with the results of the crime--being reminded daily of the features of the rapist in the offspring. The pregnancy began due to sin and is not part of God’s plan for motherhood. • However, God can even make the violation work for good through the life of the child, if abortion is not chosen. 30
  • 31. Rape • Deuteronomy 22:28-29 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as – It would seem that the father would need to consent to the marriage, but she is spoiled in her marriage opportunities thereafter. The man must live with the consequences of his crime. – Deuteronomy 22:25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a girl pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 31
  • 32. Other Ethical Issues Bribery, Use of Alcohol, Tribalism 32
  • 33. Bribery • Bribery can be solicited or unsolicited and involves paying for special treatment or to avoid special penalties. – Proverbs 17:8 A bribe is a charm to the one who gives it; wherever he turns, he succeeds. – Proverbs 21:14 A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath. – Exodus 23:8 "Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the righteous. – Deuteronomy 27:25 "Cursed is the man who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person." Then all the people shall say, "Amen!“ – Ecclesiastes 7:7 Extortion turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart. 33
  • 34. Bribery • Acts 24:26-27 ―At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him. 27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded…‖ – Paul was smart enough to know that Felix wanted a bribe, but did not pay it. 34
  • 35. Alcohol—Negative Useage  Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.  Proverbs 23:29-35 29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? 30 Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. 31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! 32 In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things. 34 You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. 35 "They hit me," you will say, "but I'm not hurt! They beat me, but I don't feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?" 35
  • 36. Alcohol: Negative Useage  Proverbs 31:4-7 "It is not for kings, O Lemuel-- not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, 5 lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. 6 Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; 7 let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.  Ephesians 5:18 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.  This scripture would also cover drug use and any intoxicants. We are not to be under the control of any intoxicant for pleasure. 36
  • 37. Alcohol: Negative Useage  Proverbs 21:17 He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich  Genesis 9:20-21 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.  Genesis 19:32-33 Let's get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father." 33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.  Isaiah 5:11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. 37
  • 38. Alcohol: Positive Useage  Genesis 14:18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High,  Wine had to be fermented in the conditions of the Middle East.  The Aaronic priests were given new wine as part of their support (Num. 18:12)  Psalm 104:14-15 He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate-- bringing forth food from the earth: 15 wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.  Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 38
  • 39. Tribalism • Tribalism is to show favoritism to a member of one’s own tribe simply because of tribal membership. – Preference may be given in hiring, in church leadership, etc. • This issue is deep, but often avoided and ignored. • God does not show favoritism (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:23). – Christians are commanded to “do nothing out of favoritism” (1 Tim. 5:21; James 2:1,9). 39
  • 40. Favoritism • Scripture does teach predestination, which is God choosing to save certain people (Rom. 9:11-24; Eph. 1:4-6; Rom. 8:29-30), but this is unmerited favor, not favor due to any attribute in the one chosen. God’s selection is based simply upon His mercy, not upon any affiliation or merit. • Gal. 6:10 teaches to do good to all, especially to those of the ―family of believers.‖ This is not favoritism, since Paul first mentions doing good to ―all people,‖ but acknowledges special Christian family ties, which can be stronger than natural family and tribal bonds.