Situation Ethics The Six Fundamental Principles

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The Six Fundamental Principles #2

The ruling norm of Christian decision making is love.

This means that the most imp truth within Christianity is love so our decisions should be based on love.

1 John 4:16 'God is love, whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.' - To love is to carry out the will of God so love = most imp thing.

When healing a man on the Sabbath, Jesus said 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.' - Jesus believed it was R to heal on Sabbath bc he broke the laws only when love demanded it.

E.g. Mrs Bergmeier committed adultery to escape POW camp and reunite with her family. She broke the 7th commandment - 'do not commit adultery.'

2FP suggests that the commandments are not absolute and should be broken if love is better served in doing so.

Mrs Bergmeier's actions = R bc love is produced as a result. Love is the only imp thing when making a decision, commandment of 'do not commit adultery' ought to be set aside to produce most love.

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The Six Fundamental Principles #1

Love is the only thing that is intrinsically good.

This means that love is the only thing that is good in and of itself.

Actions are not intrinsically good/evil.

Actions are good/evil depending on how much love is produced.

Actions are intrinsically good depending on their circumstances and consequences.

An action is judged based on the love that is produced.

The goodness of an act comes from the love it produces.

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The Six Fundamental Principles #3

Love and justice are the same, for justice is love distributed.

Justice and love cannot be seperated from each other.

If we treat our neighbours with love, we will have justice bc the love will be distributed - everyone deserves.

You cannot have love without justice bc agape = rational and practical love.

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The Six Fundamental Principles #4

Love wills the neighbours good, whether we like him or not.

Agape is a selfless love.

The love that a decision ought to be based upon is a desiring good for the other person.

Agape love is unconditional, nothing is required in return.

E.g. Gee Walker forgave her son's murderers.

She displayed agape love bc she chose to forgive them and show love even though she hated what they had done and the hurt they had caused her.

She forgave bc Bible says to forgive 'not 7 times but 70 times 7' which encourages Christians to forgive always, no matter how hard.

Links to 2FP - GW believed it was R for her to forgive bc forgiveness and love were central to her beliefs in Christianity. She applied 'love is the only imp thing when making a decision' into her own life by choosing to forgive, thus demonstrating love.

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The Six Fundamental Principles #5

Only the end (love) justifies the means, nothing else.

This means that only the consequences matter in an action.

This is a teleological approach to decision making bc an action ought to be chosen based on its consequences.

The consequences of every moral action should be the most loving.

E.g. when deciding to save your father or a scientist who has nearly found the cure for cancer - the desired end ought to be considered which is love.

Situationist would save the scientist bc it would produce more love as many lives could be saved from cancer at the cost of just 1 - the father.

This shows the importance of consequences when deciding actions in SE.

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The Six Fundamental Principles #6

Love's decisions are made situationally, not prescriptively.

You should act as if all moral situations are unique.

The circumstances when making a decision must be considered and a loving decision made in that context.

E.g. CC teaches divorce = W, however, in cases of abuse divorce = most loving thing bc it is cruel to force somebody to stay in a brutal relationship.

This shows how you must look at each situation individually and then decide on love bc each situation is different (e.g. different reasons for getting a divorce).

Whether something is R/W depends entirely on the individual situation.

If an action brings about the most love then that action = R.

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The Six Fundamental Principles OVERVIEW

1. Love is the only thing that is intrinsically good.

2. The ruling norm of Christian decision making is love.

3. Love and justice are the same, for justice is love distributed.

4. Love wills the neighbour's good, whether we like him or not.

5. Only the end (love) justifes the means, nothing else.

6. Love's decisions are made situationally, not prescriptively.

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