INTRODUCTIOIN TO CHRISTIAN SOCIAL ETHICS
Ethics has to do with decision making and judgment. That is why it is important in Christian studies, Christian ministry and Christian society. It helps us to take right decisions. In Christian ethics we do three main things; 1. What is right and wrong?
2. Is it good and bad?
3. What is fitting and non-fitting?
We have to analyze these above things taking into consideration of context, biblical response and biblical theology.
Action is good when it is good for others and action is to be socially acceptable and helpful to somebody. An action is said to be good when the action goes beyond to somebody and beyond oneself. In Christian ethics Bible is important as Bible is a tool and guideline to measure the ethics. Bible gives law or commandment and it teaches about ethics in Ten Commandments. In spite of all these there is no sanctity and ethics in churches. Ethics is what is conduct and of behavior in O T and N T. The churches and pastors must have the capacity to say what is right and wrong to the congregation as ethical principle is the need of this generation. Why do we study Christian ethics? Or what is the importance of Christian ethics in theology? 1.
To develop a personal value system, this is consistently and thoroughly biblical. 2.
To gain awareness and sense of responsibilities regarding our needs, family, contemporary needs and problem. 3.
It would help us to think clearly of any particular ethical problem and arrive at model decisions. 4.
To be equipped with adequate knowledge and practical skills to prepare and motivate others in the ethical dimensions. This course, Introduction to Christian social ethics emphasizes on theological reflection and analysis of selected issues. 13. 06. 12
Definitions of Ethics
The term ethics comes from the Greek word “ethos” means custom or character which will distinguish a particular people or community. Another word for ethics is moral. Earlier, there are two words used substantively. Traditionally, the word ethics was used as morals. Why do we use the word ethics rather than morals? The term moral was normally used in villages as the conduct between men and women. It was normally confined to man and woman relationship. That is the traditional understanding of morals. In traditional society, moral was used in narrow perspective. From early terms of history, in many communities this terms moral is used in destructive manner. In today’s context Christian ethics is different form morality. Custom: A particular group of people for centuries together practices certain principles which are approved by the group; society or community for generations is called customs. Character: Our behavior, conduct or repeated practice of habits became a character. According to medical science it is easy to develop a character by practice and habits. Evil character becomes sickness. Ex. Stealing. Repeated habits lead to character. Even our character or habits form our personality. Society which we came from plays a lead role in forming character and our culture plays a role in formation of our character.
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Morals: The word morals come from the Latin word “mos” which means “way of life” or habits. Ethos means customs or character. In modern world the word moral and ethics have been used interchangeable. Both the terms connotes those duties and responsibilities which persons have with reference to right and wrong conduct or ultimate purpose of life. Ethics talk about what is right and wrong, then duties and responsibilities, and then the commandment. The second point is ultimate purpose of life. Morality is the description of human behavior. Traditionally the word moral was used in descriptive sense. In today’s world the word moral is used by restrictive sense. As an adjective: To describe behaviors of persons or people commonly regarded as right, good or appropriate. As a noun: To...
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