Situation Ethics

Everything that is on Situation Ethics.

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Elizabeth
  • Created on: 01-05-13 10:17
View mindmap
  • Situation Ethics
    • General Principles
      • 6 Principles
        • 1) Only one thing is intrinsically good namely love nothing else.
        • 2) The ruling norm of christian decision is love nothing else.
          • Jesus said that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" this meant that farmers working on sundays out of necessity were not punishable.
        • 3) Love and justice are the same for justice is love distributed nothing else.
        • 4) Love wills the neighbours good whether we like them or not.
        • 5) Only the end justifies the means nothing else.
        • 6) Loves decisions are made situationally not perspectively.
      • 4 Presumptions
        • Relativism: Love should be applied in a way that is relative to each individual situation. He wrote: 'The situationist avoids words such as "never", "perfect", "always" and "complete" as he avoids the plague, as he avoids "absolutely".'
        • Positivism: Christians have to freely choose to have faith in God as love and therefore they have to give first place to love, you cannot reason the need to love you just have to make the positive choice to want to do good.
        • Personalism: People must always be put first and are more sacred then rules. The command is to love people and not laws or principles.
      • Three kinds of ethical theory
        • Legalistic: There are strict rules that have to be obeyed
          • Applying: When making a decision it looks at what is best for the person by evaluating the situation. E.g. considering whether the person is poor, stable ect.
        • Antinomian: There are no right or wrong, there are no rules to follow
          • Applying: When making a decision it would look to the law. E.g. Abortion is wrong, however if the girl was reped it would be taken into the laws hands/ beliefs. In Ireland it is illegal to abort a baby.
        • Situational: Every decision is based on the situation and every situation is looked at equally
          • Applying: When making a decision they make their own decisions and have a unique approach. There are no laws and they do what they think is right. E.g. They may ask the person what they want.
    • Weaknesses
      • Consequences can be difficult to predict.
      • Being based on Christian ethics, does it only allow for Christian followers?
      • Pope Pius XII condemned decision making based on situation, saying that it contradicts what is in the Bible about Christian law.
      • Agape love is underachievable and unrealistic. We naturally love those who are close to us more.
      • Pragmatism-can only work if the situation itself is practical.
      • The actions may be wtong to promote the most loving result.
      • Too subjective, because everyone might have different ideas/opinions on what the most loving decision is or most loving thing to do is.
      • The majority outweigh the minority. Could allow discrimination of the minority.
      • How can love replace law if love and justice are intrinsically linked?
      • Strengths
        • It is flexible in that it gives personal freedom to people who decide what is the most loving action.
        • Doing the most loving thing prevents hatred.
        • The approach is logical, realistic and can therefore be attained.
        • It takes the consequences of an action into consideration to provide a loving result. It is less self-centered.
        • Agape love supersedes inequality.
        • Philosophy and religion complement themselves.
        • Allows peple to find moral solutions to modern ethical problems.
        • It fits with the whole 'philosophy' and practical ethics of Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus broke religious rules and dealt with everyone as individuals and according to the circumstances.
      • William Barclay argued that if law is 'the distillation of experience' that society has found to be beneficial then 'to discard experience' and the valuable widom and insight it may bring.
    • Strengths
      • It is flexible in that it gives personal freedom to people who decide what is the most loving action.
      • Doing the most loving thing prevents hatred.
      • The approach is logical, realistic and can therefore be attained.
      • It takes the consequences of an action into consideration to provide a loving result. It is less self-centered.
      • Agape love supersedes inequality.
      • Philosophy and religion complement themselves.
      • Allows peple to find moral solutions to modern ethical problems.
      • It fits with the whole 'philosophy' and practical ethics of Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus broke religious rules and dealt with everyone as individuals and according to the circumstances.
    • Examples of Jesus:
      • Jesus prevented an adulterous woman from being stoned to death saying "let he who is without sin cast the first stone"
      • Jesus said that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" this meant that farmers working on sundays out of necessity were not punishable.
      • Jesus amended the divorce law saying that is was accepted because of man's sinful nature, but we had evolved so didn't need it. This is inline with Robinson's man come of age idea.
      • He said, "love thy neighbour as thy self"
    • How practical is Situation Ethics?
      • It is too complex to be of any practical use and therefore is only for those who are able fully to understand, apply and use it accurately and effectively.
      • It is not practical for society due to a confusion that emerges between what is right.
      • Barclay recognises the value of flexibility in a situationist approach; however, 'we do well still to remember that there are laws which we break at our peril' (serious and immediate danger).
    • Is Situation Ethics compatible with other Christian approaches to moral decision making?
      • It is compatible.
        • Agape makes it compatible with any christian approach that see's 'love' as the centre of Christianity. Jesus himself broke the Sabbath law on work in favour of a person-centred approach when he plucked 'heads of grain to eat' on the Sabbath when he and his disciples were hungry.
        • The change in views within Christianity on issues such aswar, slavery, the death penalty and equality for women indicates recognition that absolutes are not always absolute.
        • Christians may follow theories such as Utilitarianism that have some similarities with Situation Ethics.
      • It is incompatible.
        • There are clear fundemental laws and absolutes in the bible that many Christians adhere to when making moral decisions.
        • In 1956, the study of situationist approach to ethics (referred to as 'new morality') was banned from all Roman Catholic academies and seminaries on the grounds of its incompatibility with Roman Catholic teaching. Barclay's official critique also supported incompatibility.
        • Kant's categorial imperative, which is based in rules that are 'set', and the underpinning principles of Natural Law that point out we can work out a definite course of action through reason, are certainly not compatible with Situation Ethics.
  • Weaknesses
    • Consequences can be difficult to predict.
    • Being based on Christian ethics, does it only allow for Christian followers?
    • Pope Pius XII condemned decision making based on situation, saying that it contradicts what is in the Bible about Christian law.
    • Agape love is underachievable and unrealistic. We naturally love those who are close to us more.
    • Pragmatism-can only work if the situation itself is practical.
    • The actions may be wtong to promote the most loving result.
    • Too subjective, because everyone might have different ideas/opinions on what the most loving decision is or most loving thing to do is.
    • The majority outweigh the minority. Could allow discrimination of the minority.
    • How can love replace law if love and justice are intrinsically linked?
    • William Barclay argued that if law is 'the distillation of experience' that society has found to be beneficial then 'to discard experience' and the valuable widom and insight it may bring.
  • It is incompatible.
    • There are clear fundemental laws and absolutes in the bible that many Christians adhere to when making moral decisions.
    • In 1956, the study of situationist approach to ethics (referred to as 'new morality') was banned from all Roman Catholic academies and seminaries on the grounds of its incompatibility with Roman Catholic teaching. Barclay's official critique also supported incompatibility.
    • Kant's categorial imperative, which is based in rules that are 'set', and the underpinning principles of Natural Law that point out we can work out a definite course of action through reason, are certainly not compatible with Situation Ethics.

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Ethics resources »