a) Explain how the followers of the ethics of the religion you have studied make ethical decisions. (25)
Christian ethics varies from teleological (Situation Ethics) to deontological (Divine Command Theory) and theories that have elements of both (Natural Law). Different types of Christians use and believe in different ethical theories to make ethical decisions.
Christian ethics is based on the Bible. The Bible is the source of divine commands as “God spoke to Moses” (Leviticus 1:1, Exodus 20:1) and speaks through Jesus, “the word became flesh” (John 1:12). Jesus main ethics was love not law. He teaches a revolution in attitudes in the Sermon and the Mount. The Sermon of the Mount may be a set of impossible demands, underlying it all is the commandment of love. Matthew 7:12 states “Do to others as you would have done to you”, which is Jesus’ Golden Rule. This simple rule is a good summary of all Jesus said about how to treat other people. We should do acts of kindness for other people in the same way we would like to have acts of kindness done for us. Also, we should not do or say anything to another person that we would not want someone to do or say to us. Therefore, when making an ethical decision, this must be kept in mind. We don’t want to be lied to or have promises broken, so we should be honest and keep our promises to others. We want others to treat us with respect, so we should treat others respectfully.
Liberal Christians believe in situation ethics to make right ethical decisions. This is a relativist and teleological approach. The theory was made by Joseph Fletcher and the one single rule of situation ethics is agape – love. It involves doing best for everyone out of love. This love is not something merely on emotion but involves doing what is best for other people unconditionally. There are 4 working principles of situation ethics. The first is pragmatism – what you propose must work in practise. The second is relativism – there are no fixed rules, but all decisions must be relative to agape. The third is positivism – a value of judgement needs to be made, giving the first place to love. The last is personalism – people are not in first place, morality is personal and not centred on laws. In any situation people need to avoid subjectivism and individualism and to use in…