Making Moral Decisions


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  • Created by: Mehvish
  • Created on: 12-10-13 21:19

Using the Bible to make moral decisions

Some Christians use only the Bible because

·          It is the word of God (absolute authority)
--God’s guidance to humans-- 

·          Has God’s teachings on how to behave e.g. the Decalogue

-- Gives very clear guidance on such things as: the treatment of parents, stealing, murder, adultery, lying, etc--

·          Has Jesus’ teachings on how to live e.g. Sermon on the Mount

--He is the son of God, so Christians should behave likewise--

·          Records Jesus’ actions which Christians want to follow

-- Christians believe that the writers of the letters knew Jesus and were guided by the Holy Spirit so their guidance must be important for Christian’s today--

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Using the Church to make moral decisions

The Church explains the Bible for today. It can do this because

·          The Church is the ‘Body of Christ

-- Bible was written by humans inspired by God, so many of its attitudes need to be changed for the modern world (for example, St Paul’s attitude to women and slaves)--

·          God speaks to the world today through the Church

-- what the Bible means for today-- 

·          By following the Church all believe the same thing

--so whatever the church says they will do the same using their own conscience to decide whether they will believe the church or not. As they will most likely all say the same things.

·          Church authority for RCs comes from the Magisterium

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Using the Conscience to make moral decisions

·          Believe it is God speaking to them

-- seems to be the same as the voice of God, therefore Christians should follow it.--

·          Church says they should follow their conscience

-- as if it were the voice of God.—

·          Bible is interrupted 

--The teachings of the Church come through the Pope, bishops, conferences, etc., but conscience is God speaking directly to individuals and so should be followed--

·          St Paul the conscience should be the last part of the decision making process

-- so modern Christians should follow their conscience if it tells them the Church is wrong (E.g. on artificial contraception).—

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Some do not use it because...


·          Could be mistaken e.g. Yorkshire Ripper

-- If people can be mistaken about the voice of God, they could be mistaken about the voice of conscience-- 

·          Follow the Church or the Bible means all do the same

-- they are doing what all Christians agree is the Christian thing to do--

·          Life would be chaotic if everyone did their own thing and not what the Law said

-- as no one would know what sort of behaviour to expect from each other—

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Using Situation Ethics to make moral decisions

Founded by Joseph Fletcher. Should do most loving thing in any situation. Some use it because…

·          Jesus acted in a similar way

--because he over-ruled what the Old Testament said when he thought it was unloving. For example, healing people on the Sabbath because he said it was more important to do good than to obey the Sabbath laws-- 

·          Should only do things that lead to good results

-- such as stealing the nuclear weapons and allowing the twelve-year-old to have an abortion.--

·          Jesus’ said ‘love thy neighbour’

-- meaning Christians should always do what will have the most loving results.--

·          Christianity is a religion based on love

-- so Christians should make their moral decisions based on love not laws.--

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Some do not use it because…

·          Bible is the word of God which should not over ruled

-- So it should be the basis for moral decision-making --

·          Christians should all do the same thing

·          Church knows what is best

--Therefore whatever is told by the church all Christians will do the same rather than follow what each and every individual thinks--

·          Can never know all of the facts

-- Therefore it we better to follow the rules of the Church and/or Bible.--

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Why use a variety of sources to make decisions?

Protestants might use the Bible for things like adultery.

-- It is straightforward to use, for example, do not steal, do not murder.—

it is more difficult for modern issues such as contraception or civil partnerships. Bible doesn’t say anything about contraception so use church or Conscience

Hard to do this with modern issues like contraception.

--Bible doesn’t provide info on this so Christians will use conscience or church. But if conscience is used then individual ideas may be wrong although using your own conscience is a way that god has told you what is the right thing to do.

May then turn to the Church or their own conscience.

--Reject the voice of conscience so they will do what the church says is the right thing to do-- So they get their opinion--

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End of Topic 1.5

End of Unit: Moral Decisions

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