Religious Ethics

Religious Ethics

  • Euthyphro Dilemma:
    • is something good because the gods command it or do the gods command it because it is good?
  • Religion requires morality but morality doesn't require religion; EG Athiests/Humanists are moral
  • Autonomy = morality existing independently of religion - ideas shaped by reason
  • Heteronomy = morality is shaped by religious belief - rules come from religious teaching
  • Theonomy = the principles & values behind religious & ethical rules are the same
  • Divine Command theory: 'x' is good because god commands it therefore do it, absolutely, and unquestioningly
  • many christian thinkers including Aquinas & the late Pope John Paul II reject DCT -> some things are innately good/bad
  • William Temple: "in its nature, the moral judgement is quite wholly independent of religion."
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Christian Ethics

  • CHURCH: authority of priests, teaches people, tradition, inspired by the Holy Spirit
  • HOLY SPIRIT: part of the trinity, sent by God, gives authority & courage
  • CONSCIENCE: Newman said it is the 'voice of God within', sense of morality, Aquinas called it 'reason making', needs prayer & teaching to develop
  • LOVE: agapé, Jesus showed love during his ministry, God loves all people, equality, love more important than law
  • REASON/NL: God-given code of authority, we have power of reason from God to help us understand what is good/evil. Basic precept = Do good & avoid evil
  • BIBLE: word of God, authoritative, gives guidance, helps make ethical code, not absolute to some groups, is to others, divinely inspired
  • JESUS: son of God, Jesus' words/laws are more important than OT ones, died for our sins, acted out of love for people, must follow his teachings to be saved
  • ST PAUL: interpreted Jesus' teachings after death of Jesus, believed followers didn't need strict rules (like jewish), law of love, conscience and agapé
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