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
• “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
New dilemmas – no
• Emil Brunner “Good
consist of always doing
what God wills at any
• Eschatology: entering heaven at death
• Realised eschatology: enter kingdom of God when become
• Bible is used and read differently by different Christians
a) exact word propositional view RC/ Pr (divine record of
b) inspired by God non propositional view (human faith in
God, human documents
• Exegesis: interpretation of scripture: 10 commandments
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:
• 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.
• 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/
• The idea of agape has been more recently developed by
Joseph Fletcher into ‘Situation Ethics.’
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
5 Key Christian Teachings
• 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.”
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.
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
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
If you would like further information
please follow the link below to my