Church and Sacraments

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UNIT I INTRODUCTION

I. Key Concepts/Topics

A. Descriptions / Definitions of Terms

1. Ethics
2. Christian Theology
3. Systematic Theology
4. Moral Theology / Christian Ethics
5. Moral Philosophy
6. Ethics of Being
7. Ethics of Doing
B. Morality
C. Etymological Origins – Greek and Latin
D. God – The Center of Value and the Christian Understanding of Good E. Faith and Morality
F. Faith, Character and Action
G. Other Types of Ethics – Humanism, Consequentialism. Liberalism, Buddhism, Confucianism

II. Objectives

1. to know and understand the different terms related to the course 2. to understand the nature of morality, and the relationship between morality and religion/faith 3. to understand the Christian notion of “good” 4. to broaden understanding of ethics through a glimpse of other types of ethics (nonchristian) so as to understand those people embracing such types of ethics

III. Discussion

Descriptions / Definitions of Terms[1]

Ethics is a systematic, critical study concerned with the evaluation of human conduct; it is concerned with making decisions. To raise the ethical question is to take the past into account. The importance of past conduct is not for the purpose of creating a sense of guilt. It is for the purpose of helping make decisions about the future. The concern is “what am I to do now?” Some evaluations require some standard, some canon by which to measure. The beginning point in the study of ethics therefore, must be the choice of some worldview, some philosophy of life. Ethics does not stand on its own feet, but rather is based on a philosophy. The person who decides that something is good must be prepared to answer the question, why? What makes this good and that bad? What makes this value superior to the other? The answer to the question Why? is determined by one’s basic view of life.

Christian Theology is a discipline in which the commitment of faith seeks to understand God’s revelation of divine law in Christ Jesus and through the Spirit.

Systematic Theology is the overall/umbrella discipline of theology which tries to work out a coherent view of the world by integrating the truths of faith with all other truths we can know.

Moral Theology / Christian Ethics is a particular expression of systematic theology which focuses on the implications of faith on the way we live life. As a formal theological discipline, it is concerned with God’s revelation of divine love in Jesus and through the Spirit as an invitation calling for our response. It regards the response to the initiative of God’s offer of love as the very soul of moral life. This response to God’s invitation to love is expressed concretely in our daily decision or choices we make. Thus, Christian ethics is likewise described as the critical evaluation of human conduct from the Christian perspective. The Christian faith defines the motives from which the person act, the generalizations or basic understanding which s/he makes about value and duty, and the conclusions which they reach bout a proposed course of action.

Moral Philosophy / Philosophical Ethics can reflect quite well on the nature of moral life and what constitute right and wrong behavior without any reference whatsoever to God’s revelation and to Christian beliefs.

Ethics of Being. Morality is often associated with behavior guided by rules. But to focus on behavior and rules is not sufficient for understanding the scope of moral reflection. Actions are always expressions of a person. Moral goodness is a quality of the person, constituted not by rule-keeping behavior alone, but by cultivating certain virtues, attitudes, and outlooks. Christian moral life is a way of life...
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