Christian ethics can be defined as the way of life appropriate for those who accept the Christian faith. Christian ethics helps someone who accepts the Christian faith to make decisions about what is right thinking or right action. Right thinking helps Christians to determine the motives for their right actions. There are many different variants of Christianity- Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Uniting, Reformed, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Baptist and many others. Within each of these variants there are some people who are very conservative, others who are fundamentalist and still others who are liberals. This means that there are many different views among Christians about what is right action or right thinking. Christian ethics therefore helps Christians to decide on what is right behaviour and right action particularly concerning euthanasia and abortion. There is much variety in Christian ethics. Some Christians adopt an absolutist view (following a divine and unbreakable rule which comes to them from the Bible or from the tradition of the Church) while other Christians adopt a more proportionist view (taking the Bible and the tradition into account but also weighing up the alternative and making what seems to be the best ethical decision in the circumstances).
There are several sources for Christian ethics, the bible and Jesus Christ, The tradition of Christianity and Reason. Not all Christians give the same importance to each source. As each source emphasises different Christian ethics. The bible is the sacred writings of Christianity, as Christians believe that the Bible has been inspired by God and that it contains the teachings of its founder Jesus Christ and therefore the bible is a very important source of ethical guidance for Christians. For fundamentalists the text of the Bible becomes an authority because it is seen to be ‘the word of god. Some Christians (such as many in reformed, evangelical and Pentecostal traditions) interpret the bible quite literally and so apply its message directly to everyday life in a fundamentalist way. They tend to use the Bible as the only source of Christian ethics. Other Christians (such as Roman Catholics, Orthodox and Anglicans) tend not to use the Bible in a fundamentalist manner, but are still guided but its words in order to work out what is right thinking or right behaviour. At the same time they tend to use other sources to help them decide what is right thinking or right behaviour (eg the traditions of the church, including its leaders and what has been decided in the past, as well as their own ability to think things through and determine what God is saying to them in the present day) Some of the main biblical passages which help Christians to determine what is right thinking and right behaviour is The Ten Commandments. Most Christians use decisions made by the church or other Christian people in the past to help them make decisions made by the church or other Christian people in the past to help them make decisions about what is right thinking and right action, but some Christians give this much more importance than others. The Roman Catholic Church for example,holds the past traditions of the church as very important, as the teaching of previous popes and holy men and women are used to help people decide what is right. The church, sometimes often gathered in large groups (Vatican II in the 1960s) and made decisions about what it is right for people to do. At other times individual popes have made decisions and made pronouncement about what is right for the people. Pope Paul VI, for example, made the decision in 1968 in an encyclical (pronouncement) called Humane Vitae to forbid the use of oral contraceptives. Anglicans tend to say that besides the Bible the early teachings of the church and the decisions of modern groups of Christians meeting together are important in the making of ethical decisions. Their groups are called Synods, where the members of the Anglican...
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