Christian Ethics

  1. Indulgences
    Refers to the lessening of a punishment for a sin committed. In medieval times, Christians contributed money to the Church to lessen their penance for sins committed. In Luther’s time, Pope Leo X granted indulgences for those who donated money to reconstruct St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome
  2. Ethical Absolutes
    An absolute value or good is one that maintains its validity under any and every circumstance.Three arguments against:There is no objectivity or universality to moral judgements, nor any unified human nature.Rules are relative to a geographical time and place.The problems of legalism and moralism.
  3. Reformation
    The 16th century movement for reform of the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church which ended in the establishment of Protestant Churches.
  4. Norms
    Guides to being and doing, particularly guides to types of action that are right or wrong, obligatory or permitted.The language of norms is general and encompasses such other language as ideals, laws, standards, principles, and rules.What is the strength or weight of a norm?Absolute: it cannot be overridden under any circumstances, and it has priority over all other rules with which it might come into conflict.prima facie: there is always a strong moral reason for acting in accord with this rule, but this reason may not always be decisive. Even though the rule is always morally relevant, it may sometimes yield to stronger rules.Relative: a mere maxim or rule of thumb that illuminates but does not prescribe what ought to be done.
  5. Ends and Means
    Ethic of consequences:  (teleology)Focus = the results of a situationEthic of principle:  (deontology)Focus = the principles or rules that guide our actionsChristians must act in an imperfect and sinful world in which, not infrequently, the possibilities of action or inaction all seem, in different ways, morally questionable. Harmless activity may not be harmless.Some insist: "the higher and more noble an end is, the more it justifies any means used in achieving it."Others insist: "In moral matters, the means affects the end; i.e., the means are not morally indifferent, and a sharp distinction between means and ends is never possible.""The different routes often lead to different places."
  6. Natural Law
    Moral duties can be ascertained by reflection on human nature.God's plan for us is built into our nature by God's creation of us.Based on Romans 2:14-16:  a law written in our hearts.Using our reason to reflect on our human nature, we can discover both:the specific ends toward which we tendthe general end for which God created us.Revelation not necessary for moral knowledgeWhen we have discovered these ends, it is then possible to determine the means required to achieve them. For Aquinas,this understanding of God’s plan for us,built into our nature by God’s act of creationis natural law.
  7. Teleological
    (from Greek word: telos which means end or goal)Constructing something with an end in view.Primary concern is determining which action will bring about the goal being sought.Therefore, approaches the question, “What ought I to do?” by first asking, “What is my goal?”
  8. Nominalsim
    Refers to the philosophical notion that only individual realities exist. There is no such thing as universals. Universals do not exist; they have no reality in themselves. In relation to ethics, reality lies in the individual decision based on free will; there is no objective morality beyond individual decisions and acts.
  9. Christian apologetics
    A field of Christian theology that aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith; the defending of the faith against objections.
  10. Christian Ethics
    Distinguished as Christian on the basis of the sources of ethical wisdom to which one appeals.Early Christian communitiesnever considered that they had received a complete code of morality to deal with every situationmust discover what its moral response should be in the face ofspecific moral problemsPoint of reference?Jesus Christ (oral tradition)The demands he makes on those who follow himThe early Christians also drew on the Hebrew scriptures and eventually on the New Testament.The Bible has a variety of ethical perspectives.We see tensions within scripture that gives rise to creative thought concerning morality.Several tensions exist:between materialism and the life of the Spirit,between universalism and group identity,between grace and law,between revelation and reason.
  11. Gnosticism
    A doctrine of various sects combining Christian and pagan elements that came into prominence around the 2nd century.Central importance attached to ‘gnosis, revealed but secret knowledge of God and of his nature, enabling those who possess it to achieve salvation.
  12. Manicheism
    • A type of Gnosticism.
    • Associates the material world with evil, but believes that in some men there is a spiritual element that, through knowledge and associated ritual, may be rescued from it and attain a higher spiritual state.Believes that Christ was never truly embodied and so he did not die.
Card Set
Christian Ethics
Key terms and other info for the mid term