Explain How Christians Make Their Ethical Decisions

Submitted By stanleymanning
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Explain how Christians make their ethical decisions

To make their ethical decisions Christians employ a combination of teachings from the bible, Joseph Fletcher’s situational ethics theory, natural law and a slight use of Kantian ethics. Within Christian and Catholic theology Natural Law holds a dominant position. The followers of the Church encourages a wide variety of different approaches when it comes to how one should make an ethical decisions, but the main body of the official teachings of the church, is strongly obedient to the precepts of natural law. Natural law teaches that the design of an object or organism is the key to unlocking its purpose. If one analys’s the way in which said object is constructed then one can reach a rational decisions as to what that object’s purpose is. I believe that this is popular among Christians because they believe that God created us and therefore it would seem fitting that they seek their purpose from how God designed them. Natural law was first conceived by the philosophers of ancient Greece: Plato and Aristotle but went on to be developed by St. Thomas Aquinas. In St. Aquinas adaption of natural law he stated that its followers should follow his 5 primary precepts. These precepts are:
We should strive to ensure the preservation of life
We should strive to ensure ordering society to benefit its members
We should strive to worship our creator, God
We should strive to educate the young
We should strive to reproduce
St Aquinas also put forward secondary precepts which are developments of the primary precepts which are practical human rules that should govern our daily behaviour. In St. Aquinas’s development of natural law he also put forward the idea that in life there are both real and apparent goods. Aquinas stated that we should try to act for real goods rather than apparent goods. Aquinas stated this because, in his definition, an apparent good is thinking that an action is good due to being temporarily pleasuring but really it is bad. He argued that these goods are taking us further away from what God intended for us. Aquinas then states that a real good is the right use of reason which is will intern lead us toward what God intended for us and therefore perfection. Christians apply situation ethics to when making their ethical decisions. Situation ethics is a Christian ethical theory out forward in the 1960’s by the then Episcopal priest, Joseph Fletcher. Situation ethics basically states that out pre standing moral codes can be cast aside as long as long as love is being best served. The moral principle behind Fletcher’s theory is specifically referring to are the moral codes of Christianity and they in particular type of love he is referring to is ‘agape.’ When translated into English agape means unconditional love. In order to ensure that his teachings were not miss-interrupted Fletcher laid down the four working principles, they are as follows:
Pragmaticism – This is that the course of action must be practical and work
Relativism – All situations are always relative; situational ethicists try to avoid such words as “never” and “always”
Positivism – The whole of situational ethics relies upon the fact that the person freely chooses to believe in agape love as described by Christianity
Personalism – whereas the legalist thinks people should work to laws, the situational ethicist believes that laws are for the benefit of the people On top of this, Fletcher also put forward his six fundamental principles, which are as follows:
First proposition: Only one thing is intrinsically good; namely love: nothing else at all
Second proposition: The ruling norm of Christianity is