Graded Absolutism

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Christian Ethics and Worldview
Ethics is a system of moral principles that “deals with what is morally right and wrong” (Geisler). The Bible clearly demonstrates that a hierarchy of Divine moral values exist which should govern all of our moral decisions in life, but sometimes there are moral laws are combined with principals and conflicts arise. In Normal L. Geisler’s book Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issues & Options he gives direction when two divine commands conflict each other and how ethical situations can be concluded as right versus wrong or absolute versus non-absolute. Absolute morals are based upon Christian ethics. According to Geisler there are six ethical systems or ways to approach conflicting moral absolutes. Three of these ethical systems are absolute and 3 are non absolute. Graded absolutes and generalism are two of the ethical systems that have conflicting moral principles or obligations. Graded Absolutism

Graded absolutism, also known as ethical hierarchism, is a form of absolutism that his held by evangelicals. The essential principals of graded absolutions is that there are higher laws and lower laws, and when these two have an avoidable conflict the higher moral law should be followed. “God does not blame us for what we could not avoid. Thus He exempts us from responsibility to follow the lower law in view of the overriding obligation to obey the higher law (Davis, 1990).” Graded absolutism is also compatible with the Christian Worldview. People are more valuable than things and it is okay to lie to save a life. It is acceptable to follow the higher norm once the available alternatives are compared. Generalism

Generalism, also known as utilitarianism, on the other hand, denies only universal moral laws but holds to general ones. Under generalism “There are some objective moral laws that are binding most of the time but not necessarily all the time (Geisler, 1995, p. 7)”. This ethical system believes that “the ends...
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