Christian Ethics (OCR exam board)


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Christian Ethics (OCR exam board)

  1. 1. Christian Ethics Revision
  2. 2. Euthyphro Dilemma: Plato’s origin of morality • Close relationship between ‘goodness’ and religion • But clearly you don’t have to be ‘religious’ to be ‘good’ • Where does ‘good’ come from if it is not from God? • Autonomy Thesis: morals already there – God loves them because they are good, independent of God. Humanists support this view that morality exists separately from religion: AJ Ayer: • “Humanists believe that moral values evolved, and continue to evolve, along with human nature and society…” Diminishes God ‘s omnipotence Implies even God obeys rules • Divine Command thesis: morals good because God says they are God could have said anything New dilemmas – no guidance • Emil Brunner “Good consist of always doing what God wills at any particular moment.”
  3. 3. Key words • Eschatology: entering heaven at death • Realised eschatology: enter kingdom of God when become a Christian • Bible is used and read differently by different Christians a) exact word propositional view RC/ Pr (divine record of religious truths) b) inspired by God non propositional view (human faith in God, human documents • Exegesis: interpretation of scripture: 10 commandments absolute ethics.
  4. 4. Sermon On the Mount: Matthew’s Gospel Ch 5-7 – The Sermon on the Mount. Contains MOST of Jesus's main teachings. It started with the Beatitudes: Blessed are….. • The poor in spirit • Those who mourn • The meek • The merciful • The pure in heart • The peacemakers • Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness • Those who are persecuted for righteousness Sermon on the Mount: taught by Jesus, intentions more important than outcomes = deontological Jesus’ Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) “Do unto others...” links in with the idea of treating others as you want to be treated.
  5. 5. Agape: • One of the five main ethical teachings in Christianity. • Agape focuses on unconditional love. • This is not physical, sexual, emotional but without condition e.g. “Love thy neighbour.” “Love your enemies as yourself” Started by St. Paul (previously known as Saul a persecutor of Jews. After a major life transformation he converted to Christianity and became a prominent Christian thinker.) • St. Paul saw agape as the most important moral imperative (must do) (e.g. Romans 13:9-10 and 1 Corinthians 13.) • Agape was established by St. Paul in response to all the fighting and problems in Christian Communities. • Agape is more subjective and applies to individual situations/ new demands • The idea of agape has been more recently developed by Joseph Fletcher into ‘Situation Ethics.’
  6. 6. Are you Old or New? Characteristics of Old Testament ethics: • A firm God who expects obedience • Absolute rules set out • Rules and regulations based ethics • A just God who takes rights seriously • Loving father • Focus on laws that the Hebrews were given by people like Moses Characteristics of New Testament ethics: • Stories from Jesus’ life • Teachings on how to live our lives • Ethics practised by Jesus
  7. 7. 5 Key Christian Teachings Agape: • This idea centres around selflessness and love that is not based on gains or outcomes (unconditional). This means it applies to people we like and don’t like. Justice, Mercy and forgiveness: • We must treat others fairly and ‘fight’ for equality of others. Forgiveness should come first and we should not judge others without looking at our own shortcomings first. • E.g. John 8:3-10 • “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote in the ground.”
  8. 8. 5 Key Christian Teachings Service and humility: • Put others first and acting in the service of others out of agape. This is not for reward or praise. We should never think of ourselves as better than others. • E.g. John 13:3-6 • “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (Jesus teaches Christians to serve one another.) Honesty and integrity: • You need to have a consistent good behaviour and set a good example to others which includes telling the truth and being true to yourself Spirituality not materialism: • You need to be genuine in your love of God and concentrate on your spiritual life. We should not put importance on worldly goods, making us greedy and selfish.
  9. 9. Evaluation  Provides a framework to live by – life needs rules  God notices good intention and acts  Positive aspects – love/ agape Are rules too inflexible, what about culture etc? Modern day dilemmas not answered e.g. IVF Are there no exceptions to the rules – need to be broken for greater good e.g. axe man Where does morality come from for someone not religious? Texts not relevant/ outdated e.g. views on homosexuality/ women’s roles Charles Curran: problems and limitations in using Bible, reader needs to be aware of historical and cultural differences. Biblical writings are ‘culture bound’ e.g. sex/ages Different churches have persecuted each other – no example
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