- The Bible - Protestants use the Bible for moral guidance as it is the word of God
- Faith - Lutherans make moral decisions 'per sola fide' (by faith alone)
- Magisterium and tradition - Catholics use this more as moral guidance
Old Testament ethics
- Based on strict traditional laws
- Conformity of human behaviour to the will of God
- God has righteous indignation
- Deuteronomy 27: 9-10 'so obey him and keep his laws that I am giving you today'
- Hosea 6:6 'I want your constant love, not your animal sacrifices'
- The story of Abraham and Isaac - an example of people following the law over agape or reason
- Love is the fulfilling of the law
- Based on the love of God and neighbour
- More flexible than the OT
- Sometimes broke traditional laws
- 'In everything do to others as you would have them do to you'
- 'The Sabbath was made for the good of human beings; they were not made for the Sabbath'
- Based on love - admits love is limited without the Holy Spirit
- Says we should act the same way as Jesus did with the guidance of the Holy Spirit - we can only have a good relationship with God by trusting in Jesus
- The Holy Spirit is more important than traditional laws
- Highlights the importance of reason
- 'Let love make you serve one another'
- 'Trust in the Lord Jesus and you and your family will be saved'
Joseph Fletcher (1905-95)
- Founder of Situation Ethics
- Influenced by Christianity, being a theist
- Wrote 'Situation ethics, the new morality' 1963
- Make decisions based on what is the most loving thing to do (agape love)
- Agape = unconditional love
- Most of the time, the most loving thing to do is to obey the law - if it isn't then it is okay to break the law
- Paul - 'let love make you serve one another'
- Encourages Absolutism
- It is our nature to want to do the right thing
- Love is subjective and can sometimes be wrong
- Cultural relativism
Dietrich Bonheoffer (1906-45)
- German Lutheran Pastor
- Executed by Nazis for attempting to assassinate Hitler
- Was a Situationist - willing to violate Christian Law to do the most loving thing
- Killing is against Christian law but was willing to kill Hitler as it was the most loving thing to do
- Devised by Plato to question the morality of the Gods
- Is something good because God commands it or does god command something because it is good?
- Because God commands it - his commands could become arbitrary - what do we do if he orders abhorrent commands?
- God commands it because its good - there is a higher moral code above God and outside his power that he must command
- Divine Command Theory - Humans are powerless and should obey all of God's laws and commands - 'We are simply obeying a tyrant who commands us to obey' Bowie