Fletcher's understanding of Christian love

Topics: Morality, Love, Law Pages: 2 (1144 words) Published: October 8, 2014
Explain how Fletcher understood the concept of Christian love, with reference to his six fundamental ideas [30 marks] Joseph Fletcher approached Christian love as a situationist: all decisions must bring about the best outcome in terms of love and people, not just rules for rules' sake. He offered different ethical principles to those of the church, know as situation ethics, yet maintains that these are still true to Christian beliefs. Fletcher's new approach to Christian love was clearly stated using his six fundamental principles; to show that agape overrules all other laws - any decision with unconditional love and selfless motives at the heart of it will always end with a desirable result. Fletcher used a quote by Tillich to show the basis behind his new principles, that "love is the ultimate law because it is the negation of law". Fletcher believed in the proposal that "only one thing is intrinsically good; namely love: nothing else at all". This first proposition sums up Fletcher's view on agape as being the only thing good in and of itself. Love is intrinsically valuable, it has inherent worth; love is good.  In Fletcher's eyes nothing else has intrinsic value but "it gains or acquires its value only because it happens to help [...] or to hurt persons", meaning that only love is not extrinsically good - every other action is good or bad depending on its circumstances and consequences.  "For the Situationist, what makes the lie right is its loving purpose; [they are] not hypnotised by some abstract law" - this quote shows that a lie, in the eyes of a situationist, may not be considered a sin if love is best served in telling this lie. This is how Fletcher's approach differs from that of the church - situation ethics allows laws to be set aside if love is best served in doing so; whereas the church would argue that there is no good in lying as it goes against the law 'thou shalt not lie'. It is in this situation that Fletcher argues that...
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