Joseph Fletcher, Situation Ethics
Situation ethics was most famously championed by Joseph Fletcher in the 21st Century.
He believed that we should follow the rules until we need to break them for reasons of love.
"A Situationist follows moral laws but violates them when love demands it"
It is based on agape love (Christian unconditional love), and says that we should always do the most loving thing in any situation. (the selfless love)
Fletcher rejected following rules regardless (legalism) and also the idea that we should not have any rules (antinomianism) and said that we need to find a balance between the two.
A belief that there is only one Ultimate Duty = "Love thy neighbour like thyself"
- He left the christian faith and became a proclaimed humanist and agnostic
- Fletcher’s situation ethics is perched between the ethical approaches of legalism and
antinomianism and is a pragmatic and relativistic methodology of ethics that makes moral
principles or laws less essential to the one absolute moral law of love.
Situation Ethics, Fletcher's three aproaches
Fletcher argues that there are three main christian ethical approaches to making moral decisions; Legalism, Antinomianism & Situationism;
Legalism: Legalism searches nature and Scripture for moral principles that are universally applicable. (Fletcher condemns this, rejects any absolute rule apart from love)
Antinomianism: according to Fletcher
(1966), is lawless and completely relativistic, relying “upon the situation of itself"
Situationism: Is in contrast with Legalism. Focues on the law of love and is compatible with Christianity.