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Sources[ edit ] In the Wesleyan tradition, Christian theology and thus Christian ethics are informed by four distinguishable sources known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. The four sources are scripture , tradition , reason, and Christian experience. Stephen Long , Jewish ethics and the life of Jesus figure prominently in Christian ethics, [4] but "The Bible is the universal and fundamental source of specifically Christian ethics", [5] Long also claims "Christian ethics finds its source in diverse means, but it primarily emerges from the biblical narrative and especially the call of Abraham and Sarah and subsequent creation of the Jewish people".

Ethics in the Bible Much of Christian ethics derives from Biblical scripture and Christians have always considered the Bible profitable to teach, reprove, correct, and train in righteousness. In this, Jesus was reaffirming a teachings of Deut 6: Christ united these commands together and proposed himself as a model of the love required in John Paul is also the source of the phrase " Law of Christ ", though its meaning and the relationship of Paul of Tarsus and Judaism are still disputed.

The Pauline writings are also the major source of the New Testament household code. Its decree, known as the Apostolic Decree, was held as generally binding for several centuries and is still observed today by the Greek Orthodox. Please help improve this section or discuss this issue on the talk page. They made use of philosophical and ethical principles laid down by their Greek philosopher forebears and the intersection of Greek and Jewish thought known as Hellenistic Judaism.

Under the Emperor Constantine I , Christianity became a legal religion. With Christianity now in power, ethical concerns broadened and included discussions of the proper role of the state. Augustine in particular made use of the ethical principles of Greek philosophy and Hellenistic Judaism. He proceeded to develop thoroughly along philosophical lines and to establish firmly most of the truths of Christian morality. The eternal law lex aeterna , the original type and source of all temporal laws, the natural law , conscience, the ultimate end of man, the cardinal virtues , sin , marriage , etc.

His synthesis is called Augustinianism alternatively, Augustinism. He presents hardly a single portion of ethics to us but what he does present is enriched with his keen philosophical commentaries.

Later writers followed in his footsteps. Scholasticism and Thomism[ edit ] This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

December Main articles: Scholasticism and Thomism A sharper line of separation between philosophy and theology, and in particular between ethics and moral theology, is first met within the works of the great Schoolmen of the Middle Ages, especially of Albertus Magnus , Thomas Aquinas , Bonaventure , and Duns Scotus Philosophy and, by means of it, theology reaped abundant fruit from the works of Aristotle, which had until then been a sealed treasure to Western civilization, and had first been elucidated by the detailed and profound commentaries of Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas and pressed into the service of Christian philosophy.

For example, he discusses the ethics of buying and selling and concludes that although it may be legal according to human law to sell an object for more that it is worth, Divine law "leaves nothing unpunished that is contrary to virtue.

January After a couple centuries of stagnation, in the sixteenth century ethical questions are again made the subject of careful investigation. Since the sixteenth century, special chairs of ethics moral philosophy have been funded in many Catholic universities. Among topics they discussed was the ethics of action in case of doubt, leading to the doctrine of probabilism.

With the rejection of the doctrine of papal infallibility and the Roman Magisterium as the absolute religious authority, each individual, at least in principle, became the arbiter in matters pertaining to faith and morals. Lutheran Philipp Melanchthon , in his "Elementa philosophiae moralis", still clung to the Aristotelian philosophy strongly rejected by Martin Luther , as did Hugo Grotius in De jure belli et pacis.

In the 20th century some Christian philosophers, notably Dietrich Bonhoeffer , questioned the value of ethical reasoning in moral philosophy.

In this school of thought, ethics, with its focus on distinguishing right from wrong, tends to produce behavior that is simply not wrong, whereas the Christian life should instead be marked by the highest form of right. Rather than ethical reasoning, they stress the importance of meditation on, and relationship with, God. Other important Protestant Christian ethicists include H.

In a popular movement of the s, many used the phrase " What would Jesus do? The cardinal virtues are so called because they are regarded as the basic virtues required for a virtuous life. The three theological virtues , are Faith , Hope , and Love or Charity. Areas of applied Christian ethics[ edit ] Main article: Christianity and abortion Christian views on abortion has a complex history as there is no explicit prohibition of abortion in either the Old Testament or New Testament books of the Christian Bible.

While some writers say that early Christians held different beliefs at different times about abortion, [24] [25] [26] others say that, in spite of the silence of the New Testament on the issue, they condemned abortion at any point of pregnancy as a grave sin, [27] a condemnation that they maintained even when some of them did not qualify as homicide the elimination of a fetus not yet "formed" and animated by a human soul.

African-American Protestants are much more strongly anti-abortion than white Protestants. Although scripture is mostly silent on abortion , various elements of scripture inform Christian ethical views on this topic, including Genesis 4: Christian views on alcohol Current views on alcohol in Christianity can be divided into moderationism, abstentionism, and prohibitionism.

Abstentionists and prohibitionists are sometimes lumped together as " teetotalers " compare list of teetotalers , sharing some similar arguments. However, prohibitionists abstain from alcohol as a matter of law that is, they believe God requires abstinence in all ordinary circumstances , while abstentionists abstain as a matter of prudence that is, they believe total abstinence is the wisest and most loving way to live in the present circumstances.

Fifty-two percent of Evangelical leaders around the world say drinking alcohol is incompatible with being a good Evangelical. Christian views on divorce Christian views on divorce are informed by verses in Matthew, Mark, Deuteronomy, and others [38] and political developments much later.

In the synoptic Gospels , Jesus emphasized the permanence of marriage , but also its integrity. In the book of Matthew Jesus says "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.

In those times marriage was an economic matter. Restriction of divorce was based on the necessity of protecting the woman and her position in society, not necessarily in a religious context, but an economic context. The Catholic Church prohibits divorce, but permits annulment a finding that the marriage was never valid under a narrow set of circumstances.

The Eastern Orthodox Church permits divorce and remarriage in church in certain circumstances. Sexual morality and celibacy[ edit ] See also: Celibacy and Catholic teachings on sexual morality Modern Christian sexual morality rejects adultery , [43] extramarital sex , [44] prostitution , [45] and rape. In his early writings, Paul described marriage as a social obligation that has the potential of distracting from Christ. Sex, in turn, is not sinful but natural, and sex within marriage is both proper and necessary.

Celibacy was a matter of choice for bishops, priests, and deacons. Many evangelicals prefer the term "abstinence" to "celibacy. But some evangelicals, particularly older singles, desire a positive message of celibacy that moves beyond the "wait until marriage" message of abstinence campaigns. They seek a new understanding of celibacy that is focused on God rather than a future marriage or a lifelong vow to the Church.

Christianity and homosexuality Within Christianity there are a variety of views on the issues of sexual orientation and homosexuality.

The many Christian denominations vary in their position, from condemning homosexual acts as sinful , through being divided on the issue, to seeing it as morally acceptable. Even within a denomination, individuals and groups may hold different views. In the Bible, procreative marriage is presented as "the norm" [54] and homosexuality is discussed in the New Testament, [55] but in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries whether or not the Bible condemns homosexuality, and whether the various passages apply today, have become contentious topics.

Christian views on slavery In modern times, Christian organizations reject any permissibility of slavery, [56] [57] [58] [59] but Christian views on slavery did vary both historically. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century debates in the UK and the US, passages in the Bible were used by both pro-slavery advocates and abolitionists to support their respective views.

Christianity and violence Blessed are the Peacemakers by George Bellows Christian pacifism is the position that any form of violence is incompatible with the Christian faith. Christian pacifists state that Jesus himself was a pacifist who taught and practiced pacifism , and that his followers must do likewise. Jesus opposed use of violence in his statement that " all who will take up the sword, will die by the sword ", which suggested that those who perpetrate violence will themselves face violence.

Historian Roland Bainton described the early church as pacifist a period that ended with the accession of Constantine. In fact, there were a number of famous examples of soldiers who became Christians and refused to engage in combat afterward.

They were subsequently executed for their refusal to fight. A number of Christian denominations have taken pacifist positions institutionally, including the Quakers and Mennonites. Christian views on poverty and wealth There are a variety of Christian views on poverty and wealth.

At one end of the spectrum is a view which casts wealth and materialism as an evil to be avoided and even combatted. At the other end is a view which casts prosperity and well-being as a blessing from God. Miller has constructed a three-part rubric which presents three prevalent attitudes among Protestants towards wealth.

According to this rubric, Protestants have variously viewed wealth as: Cobb has argued that the "economism that rules the West and through it much of the East" is directly opposed to traditional Christian doctrine.

Cobb invokes the teaching of Jesus that "man cannot serve both God and Mammon wealth ". He asserts that it is obvious that "Western society is organized in the service of wealth" and thus wealth has triumphed over God in the West.

Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. March Learn how and when to remove this template message Simon Blackburn states that the " Bible can be read as giving us a carte blanche for harsh attitudes to children, the mentally handicapped, animals, the environment, the divorced, unbelievers, people with various sexual habits, and elderly women". We know such actions are wrong. He also did not repudiate any of the more brutal portions of the Old Testament.


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