Ethics : Is a study of standards of conduct
and practical judgements It overlaps with
morality. Ethics refers to a system of thinking
wheras morality refers to action.
Foundation of Christian Ethics
The foundation of Christian Ethics are based on
A) The Scriptures (Ten Commandments & the
B) Natural Law ( the Philosophy of Aristotle and St
C) Natural Law is the Christian belief that God
implanted in creation a moral law that can be
detected by human intelligence apart from God’s
direct revelation. ( Catholic and Orthodox support
D) Tradition (The Church Fathers)
Scripture Foundation of Ethics.
The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20 1-17) is a
sources of Christian ethical teaching, since it is
part of Divine Revelation
The Ten Commandments state the essential
duties for the Christian adherent.
For example: Christian’s arguing against Abortion use
the Biblical commandment ‘Thou Shall not Kill’ as
justification for their stance.
They hold that since the embryo is human from the
time of conception it has the rights as a human and
therefore cannot be harmed or killed.
The Beatitudes Matthew 5 1-12 is also a
foundation piece of scripture for ethical
thinking in Christianity.
‘Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain
mercy’ could be used as an argument for
preserving the life of the foetus.
Natural law underpins Christian ethical
thinking (especially Catholic and
For example Catholic teaching states that
humans needs grace and revelation in order
that moral and religious truths may be known
(Catechism of the Catholic Church)
Natural Law would be used to argue the
preservation of life is a good that must be
assured in every situation
Differences between Protestant
Different Christian variants give different weight
to each of these sources.
Roman Catholic - faith and reason help to shed light
on human good and all sources are integrated within
or under the authoritative teachings of the Church.
Protestants - The primacy of the scriptures over
natural law or Tradition.
Protestants consider the bible very important (New and Old
Protestants are more flexible than Catholics and Orthodox.
Bioethics is a science that a system of
medical priorities for acceptable survival.
Bioethics is the application of our ethical
principles to human life issues such as the
dignity of the human person, the beginning
of human life at conception. The modern
challenges to the natural law such as
euthanasia, abortion, human cloning and
inappropriate stem cell research.
Different bioethical approaches
within Christian denominations
There are many differences between the
approaches of the various denominations to
Orthodox and Roman Catholics state that
abortion is wrong. The Orthodox find no reason
for agreeing with the Roman Catholic prohibition
Many Protestants refuse to concur with the
Orthodox and the Catholics concerning abortion.
And some Protestants see some grounds for
accepting limited voluntary active euthanasia
Suicide is considered the murder on
oneself and under the commandment
‘Thou shalt not kill’ is not acceptable.
Euthanasia with the intent of removing
pain and distress from a person by the
self-inflicted or assisted act of helping
someone to die painlessly is more difficult
Christians are mostly against Euthanasia. The
arguments are based on life is sacred and is
given by God and that human beings are made
in God’s image. Gen1.27-28.
Christians believe that intrinsic dignity and value
of human lives means that the value of each
human life is identical.
Patients that are old or sick and are near the end
of their earthly life have the same value as any
other human being.
Different views on Euthanasia
Different denominations within Christianity have strongly
held differing views.
In general Catholics and more conservative Protestant
Churches would oppose Euthanasia while some more
Liberal Protestant Churches eg Uniting Church would
consider the advantages of the life of the person and
suggest a ‘love’ response to the person in pain.
Kenneth Ralph Uniting Church minister. “ Self
determination is central to what it means to be a human
(Works for Christian support for Voluntary Euthanasia)
Roman Catholic view on
Euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of
God, since it is the deliberate and morally
unacceptable killing of a human being.
The Roman Catholic Church does not accept
that human beings have the right to die.
Pope John II spoke out against what he calls a
‘culture of death’ in modern society and said that
human beings should always prefer the way of
life to the way of death.
All Christians believe that Abortion is
wrong based on the Biblical
commandment ‘Thou shall not kill’.
The reasoning behind the this belief is
different for different groups.
This is because of the different weighting
different groups give to different ethical
Anglican view on Abortion
The Anglican Church encourage people to think
through the issue of abortion very carefully and
recognises that each individual will have
different views on the subject.
The Anglican Church combines strong
opposition to Abortion with a recognition that
there can be strictly limited : conditions under
which it may be morally preferable to any
In 1993 the Anglican General Synod
passed a resolution that in situations
where the continuance of a pregnancy
threatens the life of the mother,
termination of the pregnancy may be
Roman Catholic view on Abortion
The Roman Catholic Church says that
deliberately causing an abortion is a grave moral
It bases this doctrine on Natural law and
Scripture (The ten commandments)
The Catholic Church believes that human life
begins at conception.
On Abortion Pope John Paul writes “I declare
that diirect abortion, that is abortion willed as an
end or as a means, always constitutes a grave
moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of
a innocent human being.