Bren McLean

Tag: values

ETHICS: CHRISTIAN VS SECULAR

by on Dec.05, 2012, under Personal

Ethics is defined as ‘moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior’. It is closely associated with morality, which concerns things like our character and belief systems.

Ethical decisions confront us every day, but what are the key factors that influence our decisions in terms of right and wrong?

 

SECULAR ETHICS

There are ‘four poles’ in modern ethics:

1. Values/Virtues – settled patterns and habits of good action and proper emotions

2. Rights – what we feel is essential to our humanity

3. Rules – commands/laws/codes of practice

4. Results – the end point/consequence/outcome

 

The problem with a secular view of ethics is consistency. The approach to the ‘four poles’ will vary from person to person, particularly in a post modern society where matters of truth and justice are subjective.

 

So, what does the Bible say about ethics? There are two common views on how we should view the Laws in the Old Testament:

i) Theonomist – God’s word is eternal. Everything is binding

ii) Antinomian – God’s word is no longer relevant (we live under grace, not Law – Romans 6:15)

 

Andrew Cameron suggests there is a third, better way to view laws in the Bible:

iii) Christian Wisdom – Applying knowledge of the Bible

A ‘unified field’ of moral reality whereby Jesus Christ unifies the other influences

 

CHRISTIAN ETHICS

‘Five poles’ for Christian thought about ethics become a ‘unified field’:

1. God’s Character – eg. Justice, mercy, steadfast love. God lives out this triad throughout salvation history

2. Created Order – man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Humanity sustainably cares for and uses what has been created

3. Commands For Love – principles that determine how we should live together

4. New Future – new creation, promise fulfilled, eschatology

5. Jesus Shaped Community – discernment to consider the effect Jesus has on all the ‘poles’. God reconciles us to Himself so that our relationship with Him and others is healthy


This view of ethics is directly from Cameron’s book, Joined Up Life: A Christian Account Of How Ethics Works. Being aware of and applying this unified field theory enables us to make good decisions in our every day lives.

 

 

 

Click HERE for the Matthias Media review of the book.

 

Jesus is a game changer! Christ’s death and resurrection is significant for humanity and should influence everything that we think, say and do.

 

 

 

 

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