Ethics in Christianity

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Ethics in Christianity According to Webster, ethics is "the science of moral duty." He further describes it as "the science of ideal human character." The word in Greek means "dwelling" or "stall," as in a safe place to live (our word "morals" comes from the Latin word for ethics). The implication is that humans depend on right choices for security. For a Christian, and indeed for many non-Christians, Jesus Christ is the only perfectly ethical person. He is the perfect man, always making right choices, and to believe him to be flawed is to abandon Christianity completely. Upon this fact and foundation, we have a second belief that we are to allow God to transform us into an image of His Son, Jesus. Jesus calls us to follow him, become his disciples and inherit eternal life. If Jesus is the ideal human being, and we are called to imitate him, then we are called to an ethical life. What is the Basis for Christian Ethics? Christian ideas of right and wrong originate in revealed truth, i.e. they stem from what God has taught us through Jesus and the prophets and Apostles. This primarily means the Bible for some, although as Catholics we accept as equally true the teachings of the Apostles handed down through the bishops and known as Tradition. For both the Bible and Tradition, we believe we must obey because the teachings come from God, not because they are wise, will ensure a long life or prosperity. Christian ethics may be contrasted with Utilitarianism, whose adherents simply "do what works." Utilitarian ethics allowed the Holocaust, slavery, and totalitarian Communism. Because Christians do not believe humans made themselves or occurred "naturally," we do not believe we are free to do whatever su... ... middle of paper ... ...? Our own ethics must be built on revealed truth. Over time the Church has spoken out on moral issues. Each teaching of the Church is built on some more basic ethical truth. Each of these truths is built ultimately on the Ten Commandments, which originated with God Himself. Since God has commanded obedience and trust, to disobey any commandment is to disobey God in at least two ways. Jesus never said to obey most God's Law. He did say that to disregard even the smallest part of God's Law is to be considered least in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 5:19). An Exercise In Ethics In class, choose a few Church teachings and try to follow them back to the Ten Commandments, the Gospel or the early Church. Use a chalkboard or large paper to draw these in the form of branches in a tree. Try to follow what would happen if one of the more basic truths were removed.
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