Christian Ethics. Essay Example

Christian Ethics


Ethics and who does it

Ethics is a critical and systemic reflection on the moral life while Christian ethics is the study of discipline of ethics made in light of Christian gospel. When we behave morally we respond to the inherent value of the globe around us, in manners that demonstrate respect for that inherent value. Christians practice ethics and when they act morally, they don’t make self interest the overriding and sole concern of action, but rather ask themselves whether what they are doing entails respect for the value of living beings and things which form their world. Particularly, moral deeds reveal that Christians recognize that other people have a similar fundamental value as themselves. By being moral, Christians identify that they live within a world of living beings and things that possesses its own worth, a globe which can’t be diminished to a simple instrument for the gratification of their own desires and deeds1.

According to O’Connell humans have the capability to determine wrong from right and identify ethical claims upon them. Humans live in analogous moral schemes and may argue about ethical issues across linguistic and cultural boundaries. Perception of ethical salience and the capability to consider the perspective of other people prompts reflection on morality. Depending on how complex the moral situation is, we endeavor issues determining our choices, evaluating their relative ethical value, imagining outcomes and recalling pertinent standards and comparable outcomes. O’Connell argues that we live down or up to standards of groups to which we belong and the more our relationships depend upon having a certain role, the more this role will be central to them. Additionally, the more a certain task is central to a person, the greater the probability that within the role related his actions will be in accordance to this role2

Morality, Christian or human is centrally about identifying the claim of others and acting upon it, responding out the interior conviction of value of the other person. Christians find it essential to put their ethics in the religious frame of inference that for them enshrines the entire truth on life and to perform their judgment out of this worldview. They are sanctioned to do so because they operate out of basic philosophical or religious stance, recognized or not. They have an outlook on definitive origin, importance and end of ethics together with its institutions3.

The three ethical theories that Gascoigne explores Aristotelianism

Aristotelianism dictates that the aim of human deed is to achieve happiness. Human ethical action must be oriented towards a thing that permits people to flourish and accomplish their purpose. For Aristotle, people attained joy when they lived by particular virtues, which comprised a way of living which was favorable to happiness. Aristotle recognizes for cardinal virtues, which are justice, temperance, courage and prudence. A person who lives by these virtues is an individual of good character, and has integrated the diverse features of living into a harmonious whole. For the ethical theory, therefore ethics is about human fulfillment through living a righteous way of life. The theory thus offers morality a satisfying and rich content by emphasizing on human fulfillment other than laws or rules. In the time of Aristotle and during the long duration of European culture when the worldview of Christian was culturally prevailing, it was acknowledged that individual life was lived within the framework of a divinely made order. Each aspect of nature was portion of order of creation and moral life comprised living out the order for glory of God and fulfillment of human person. From this point of view, moral life was a portion of a united tradition of values and thus the purpose of ethics was to accomplish the purpose of the human life as made by God4.


This ethical theory is empathetically based upon the obligation we have to respect fundamental principles, other than offering outcomes the vital role in representing what people must do. For Kant, the basic objective of ethics is not attaining happiness, but respecting the freedom and reason of life. Kant didn’t agree that ethics could be based upon a pattern of virtues which are offered by a moral tradition. His concern was to get values which could offer a common foundation for ethics in a period when religious and philosophical views were not universally acknowledged. The values were reason and freedom and were characteristics of humans that offered them the splendid status of moral beings, characteristics which are also shared by God. Kant concurred that people cant verify in theoretical terms that they are free, but they experience their freedom via their experience of moral responsibility. Kant asserted that freedom is something vital in human beings and thus people must start from freedom and create morality from it5.


Unitarianism is oriented towards the attainment of happiness as the key purpose of ethics. Utilitarians agreed with Aristotelianism that the aim of ethics was happiness, but the manner in which happiness could be attained was understood in very different ways, Aristotle understood happiness as the objective of morality and the life of virtues was vital to what happiness comprised in. However, utilitarianism argued that the virtuous model didn’t exist because people have very diverse ideas on what happiness encompassed of and it was meaningless to set down a list of virtues. Therefore, human beings should concentrate on attainment of happiness as a consequence of their actions and the forms of deed we execute is not vital to morality, what is vital is that the outcome of the deed is greater happiness for people. Therefore, for utilitarianism, it is the outcomes of our deeds that are vital. The basic ethical disposition is goodwill, wishing well to other people and other conscious or sentient beings and behaving well on behalf of them6

Ethical Relativism

Ethical relativism is a philosophical theory that holds that ethics is relative is relative to norms of an individual’s culture. It is the position that there aren’t moral absolutes, any moral wrongs and rights but wrong and right are based upon social norms. This implies that whether a deed is wrong or right depends upon the moral norms of the community in which its being practices. An action might be morally correct in one community but morally incorrect in another society. For ethical relativist, there aren’t universal moral standards that may be universally applied to every person at all time. The sole moral principles against which the practices of a society may be judge are its own7.

Ethical relativism is not a strong ethical theory because its inferences for individual moral beliefs. If the wrongness or rightness of a deed depends upon the norms of a society, then it requires one to abide by the norms of individual’s society and to deviate from these norms is to behave immorally. Additionally, members of a similar community might hold diverse views on practices.

Uniqueness about an approach to ethics which is specifically Christian

The unique thing about Christian ethics is that Christians base ethics on religion. When Christians articulate that a certain behavior is immoral, they recognize that it must be avoided. When they accept that a certain act is right, Christians imply that it is admirable and its pursuit is worthy of praise. Numerous Christians disintegrate morality into religion and operate with the notion that God offered them their moral rules. Because morality comes from God who is the lord and creator of all things, they have a clear idea of moral obligation that God has established a way of life which they should follow and has ordered them to obey it8.

This implies that God settled some time in past what is wrong and right and wrong is forbidden by God. Other Christians have the sense that wrong/right distinctions is independent of God and is someway rooted in natures of things but they agree that God has offered directives on morality. Additionally, others think of God majorly in terms of force or obligation, of morality and articulate that morality is rooted in nature of things and that God left us the task of working out the details of wrong and right but we are supposed to do right and avoid wrong since God it’s the will of God9.


McNamara, V., (1988).The truth in love: reflections on Christian morality. Dublin: Gil and MacMillan. 1.1

Gascoigne, R., (1993). Freedom and purpose. Newton: E J Dwyer. 1.2

MacNamara, V., (1991). Ethics human and Christian in ethics and the Christian. Dublin: Columba Press. 1.3

Shomali, M., (2000). Ethical Relativism. Manchester: University of Manchester Press.

O»Connell, T., (1998). Making disciples: a handbook of Christian moral formation. New York: Crossroad Publisher.

Gascoigne, R., (1993). Freedom and purpose. Newton: E J Dwyer.

O»Connell, T., (1998). Making disciples: a handbook of Christian moral formation. New York: Crossroad Publisher.

MacNamara, V., (1991). Ethics human and Christian in ethics and the Christian. Dublin: Columba Press.

Gascoigne, R., (1993). Freedom and purpose. Newton: E J Dwyer.

McNamara, V., (1988).The truth in love: reflections on Christian morality. Dublin: Gil and MacMillan

Gascoigne, R., (1993). Freedom and purpose. Newton: E J Dwyer.

Shomali, M., (2000). Ethical Relativism. Manchester: University of Manchester Press.

Gascoigne, R., (1993). Freedom and purpose. Newton

Gascoigne, R., (1993). Freedom and purpose. Newton