Examine the key Features of Situation Ethics
Situation ethics teaches that ethical decisions should follow flexible guidelines rather than absolute rules, and be taken on a case by case basis. Situation ethics, most commonly associated with Joseph Fletcher and J.A.T Robinson, emerged at the time when society and the Church were facing drastic and permanent changes. Fletcher wrote a book called Situation Ethics, which was published in 1966, a time when the ephemeral nature of the country was highly accentuated by political matters; Women were more commonly going to work, following the suffrage movement before the war and their valued contribution to the war effort during it, President John F. Kennedy of the United States had been assassinated and there was a large amount of shock and horror surrounding the brutal Vietnam war. The church, in particular, did not see this impending shift in power as an appealing prospect.
In 1963, when J.T.A Robinson published this highly controversial book ‘Honest to God’, the Church was thrown into disarray and disagreement which shook the Churches traditional roots. Robinson challenged the traditional, conservative view of God as an objectively real being ‘up there’ at the top of a three-storied universe and, in the line with Paul Tillich, suggested that God be understood as ‘the ground of our being’, of ultimate significance, a super natural being who intervenes in the world from outside. If this was not enough, Robinson also supported the ‘new morality’. Joseph Fletcher had not yet written Situation Ethics but he had written an article in the Harvard Bulletin entitled ‘The New Look at Christian Ethics’. This explained how Fletcher believed that the new Christian morality for ‘Come of age’ was not based on law, or rather, perhaps, on one law only: the law of love. The Bishop of Woolwich, writing in 1963, anticipated that this change in moral perspective would lead to an increasing drift between Christians. Soon after the...
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