Etymology of Social
From Middle French social, from Latin sociālis (“of or belonging to a companion or companionship or association, social”),from socius (“a companion,fellow,partner,associate, ally”), from sequor (“follow”). Meaning "living or liking to live with others, disposed to friendly intercourse"
Etymology of Ethics
The word ethics come from the Greek word “ethos” which means custom. The Latin word for ethics is “mos”, from which “moral” and “morality” have sprung
The science of human duty; the body of rules of duty drawn from this science; a particular system of principles and rules concerting duty, whether true or false; rules of practice in respect to a single class of human actions; as, political or social ethics; medical ethics.
Social ethics are the philosophical or moral principles that, in one way or another, represent the collective experience of people and cultures. This sort of ethics often acts as a sort of “code of conduct” that governs what is and is not acceptable, as well as providing a framework for ensuring that all members of the community are cared for. Standard ethics are typically driven by individual morals that determine right or wrong. Within a society, the focus is usually more on what may be considered appropriate behavior for people as a whole. People perceive things differently, however, and various cultures share often wildly opposing beliefs; as such, what is deemed “right” for one group may not necessarily be consistent universally — and defining social ethics as an absolute is often very difficult.
Social Ethics Defined
Social ethics are the set of rules—often unwritten—that is accepted by a society on what is and is not appropriate. These are not laws to be obeyed, rather they are principles to be applied to different situations to help you make a proper decision based on what society deems appropriate. As we look at ethics in several related posts here, I will be talking about ethics in a biblical frame of mind. Therefore, the society that makes up the set of societal rules in this context will be the body of scripture as given by God.
Different societies, cultures and countries have their own set of ethical principles. What is acceptable in one place is taboo in another. Since God wrote His Word to teach us throughout time and history, it is a book full of principles that can be applied in any time or place. Therefore, biblical principles of decision making can be applied in all societies and time periods.
Social ethics form an infrastructure for us to live as a society. Religion, charity, morality, and family values are all tools used to define standards of behavior in our society. Morals are seen by many as an infrastructure on which a community depends.
Immoral behavior is seen as a threat to the community. More than anything it is a sense of social responsibility and public opinion that define them for us all.
Social ethics are defined by societal and cultural norms. Religion plays a big role in certain societies. The concept of charity to others and morality within one's actions are important to many, especially those who subscribe to family values as a vehicle for their morals.
Social ethics are a religion to some and a mystery to others. Charity and morality are certainly part of a societal fabric, and many claim family values and the morals espoused within them are what a society should subscribe to.
Social ethics vary in different parts of the world. The affect of religion on social norms also varies, but charity and morality remain key components of societal infrastructure. Immoral behavior will always take place, but social responsibility and the power of public opinion combine to make social ethics an important part of everyday life.
Biblical Principles of Social Ethics
I took a class in college many years ago called Social Ethics. The premise of the course was to show...