Situation Ethics

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  • Situation Ethics
    • General Principles
      • 'Love your neighbour as thyself'
        • Not a a rule or law
      • No two situations are identical- no fixed rules apply to everything
      • Agapeic love informs the choices we make.
      • Most loving way= morally sound
      • Legalism
        • Christian idea that you have to do good to get to heaven.
      • Antinomianism
        • Idea that Christians believe going to heaven has nothing to do with the things you do right or wrong
          • Situation ethics in the middle
            • Christian idea that you have to do good to get to heaven.
            • Is love easier than sticking to rules?
    • Conscience
      • Butler
        • It is separate from reason
        • 'Our natural guide, the guide assigned to us by the author of our nature'
        • We must obey our conscience. It helps judge between self love and benevolence.
      • Aquinas
        • Conscience is not always right, it is your reason and logic.
      • Newman
        • 'The conscience is a messenger of divine law. It is from God and should be obeyed.'
      • Augustine
        • 'Conscience is an innate faculty which reveals God's moral law as it is inscribed into men's souls'
          • The rules have to be ingested first
        • Conscience is informed by rules.
      • Bible
        • Record of right and wrong 'I try to keep my conscience clear'- Acts 24
        • 'My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent' 1 conrinthians 4
          • Conscience can be wrong
        • 'The requirements of law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness.' Romans 2
          • God puts the law in our hearts
        • 1 Corinthians shows that people have different conscienceses- they say different things.
        • Catechism- the conscience tells you that you need forgiveness.
      • S.E needs conscience.
      • Fletcher
        • Conscience is a verb, not a thing/noun
    • Fletcher's 6 Fundamental Principles.
      • Only one thing is intrinsically good, namely love; nothing else.
      • The ruling norm of Christian decision is love: love replaces law
      • Love and justice is the same, for justice is love distributed
      • Love wills the neighbour's good, whether we like him or not. Agape: love is the desire for the good of others.
      • Only the end justifies the means
      • Love's decisions are made situationally, not prescriptively.
    • Fletcher's 4 Presumptions/presuppositions
      • Pragmatism
        • Emphasis on practicality; Agape must be put into practice.
      • Relativism
        • Love relativises the absolute, it does not absolutivise the relative
        • Love can replace law
        • Rules are relatively important
      • Positivism
        • Start with a positive choice- to want to do good
        • 'the spirit of Jesus must be applied, more importantl than dogma.'
      • Personalism
        • Prioritise people in decisions (ie. over rules)
          • Made in the image of God
    • Application to Nagasaki
    • Evaluation
      • Strengths
        • Bishop John Robinson
          • 'Situation ethics is for a man come of age'- you need the Bible until you can know love.
          • 'There is no one ethical system that can claim to be christian' It all boils down to love
        • Zygumun Bauman
          • 'Legalistic approaches actually cripple our ability to make moral decisions.'
        • William Barclay
          • Some actions will always be wrong but sometimes necessary
            • A dangerous drug is never called anything else but a poison.
        • Love thy naeighbour as thyself is the ultimate duty'
      • Weaknesses
        • Pope Pius XII
          • 'in opposition to God's natural law'
          • Allowing you to ignore God's instructions
        • Daniel Callahan
          • 'no ethics at all'
          • lets you do what you want
        • Bernard Hoose
          • 'It is never right to go against a principle unless there is proportionate reason.'
          • We should have laws, which are sometimes necessary to break
        • Thomas Aquinas
          • 'There is a natural basic moral law which is divinely inspired.'
          • Situational is not right- laws come from God, which we must obey.

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