Situation ethics 6 principles

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  • 6 fundamental principles
    • 3. Love is justice
      • 'Love and justice are the same, for justice is love distributed, nothing else.'
        • This means that love and justice cannot be separated and within Christianity, we cannot act lovingly without the action also being fair and just for most or all parties involved. ‘For what is it that is due our neighbours? It is love that is due - only love (“owe no man anything except to love”). Love is justice, justice is love.’
        • "Justice is the many-sidedness of love." - Fletcher
    • 1. Only love is good
      • 'Only one 'thing' is intrinsically good; namely, love: nothing else at all.'
        • This principle states that  agape (unconditional) love is good in itself. Without applying love, good or evil cannot be used to describe an action. It can only be described as good or evil depending on the consequence  and circumstances.
    • 6. Love's decisions are made situationally not prescriptively
      • We fail at following the laws we make for ourselves when applying them to ethical situations. So, we should base our decisions on the situation not the law.
        • "Nothing in the world causes so much conflict of conscience as the continual, conventional payment of lip service to moral "laws" that are constantly flouted in practice because they are too petty or too rigid to fit the facts of life."
    • 2. Love is the only rule
      • 'The ruling norm of Christian ethics is love: nothing else'. Fletcher derived this from the New Testament, using the example of Jesus breaking the Sabbath. Mark 2:27-28
        • Fletcher argues that the purpose of religious and moral laws has been misunderstood and has power over a person, whereas Jesus recognised that laws are there to serve the person.
        • Fletcher argues that love is the new covenant, replacing the old laws and refers back to Jesus and Paul.
          • Therefore he argues that the situationist recognises the law for what it is, which is extracting the essential meaning of the spirit of love, instead of a collection of legalistic rules.
            • However, Fletcher does not disrespect the law.
    • 5. Only Love justifies the means
      • Showing the most love must be the end result, in order to justify the means.
        • Rejects the traditional Christian idea that the end should not be used to justify the means.
          • So, love is the only end that is worth justifying via the means.
            • "Unless some purpose or end is in view, to justify or sanctify it, any action we take is literally meaningless."
              • It is a flaw in a system to say that means are intrinsically good or bad because the same society that says war is bad can also justify it as a means to an end.
        • It is a flaw in a system to say that means are intrinsically good or bad because the same society that says war is bad can also justify it as a means to an end.
    • 4. Love is not liking
      • Pure love is indiscriminate
      • 'love your enemies' leads to a radical obligation which Fletcher says makes love kenotic (self-emptying)
  • 'The ruling norm of Christian ethics is love: nothing else'. Fletcher derived this from the New Testament, using the example of Jesus breaking the Sabbath. Mark 2:27-28
    • Fletcher argues that the purpose of religious and moral laws has been misunderstood and has power over a person, whereas Jesus recognised that laws are there to serve the person.
    • Fletcher argues that love is the new covenant, replacing the old laws and refers back to Jesus and Paul.
      • Therefore he argues that the situationist recognises the law for what it is, which is extracting the essential meaning of the spirit of love, instead of a collection of legalistic rules.
        • However, Fletcher does not disrespect the law.

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