Christianity and Situation Ethics

AS Level - AQA - Religious Studies - Ethics

Situation Ethics - Issues arising - Is Christianity compatible with Situation Ethics?

  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 02-05-12 17:57

Argument that Situation Ethics IS NOT compatible w

  • Traditional Christian thinkers, such as Roman Catholics, reject Situation Ethics as they have a more legalistic approach based on a rule-based system. In 1952, Pope Pius XIII called Situation Ethics, 'an individualistic and subjective appeal to the concrete circumstances of actions to justify decisions in opposition to the natural law or God's revealed will' - situation ethics is subjective and individualistic.
  • Christianity based on rules-based systems of thinking, either because it is believed these rules are good for us, or because they are God's rules to be obeyed, for example the Bible is the believed to be the direct word of God from which God's will must be strictly obeyed in the ten commandments, for example, where it says "do not murder" (Exodus 20:13).
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Arguments that Situation Ethics IS compatible with

  • The Gospel representation of Jesus agrees with Situation Ethics as he considered people to matter more than the rule (personalism of the six fundamental principles of Christian love developed by Fletcher) as Jesus was prepared to set aside rules in situations where love demanded this to be done, for example - Luke 5 Jesus was preapred to associate with and touch people traditionally viewed as unclean (lepers) - therefore situation ethics provides an alternative Christian ethic that is consistent with the Gospel representation of Jesus. Situation ethics develops a principle from Jesus' action of breaking the law when the situation demanded it for reasons of love.
  • 'Pastoral reasons' - evidence that there is recognition that sometimes heavy rule-based approaches are too complex and are unhelpful in a situation. Local ministers differentiate how they apply laws to particular people in certain situations.
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