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What is ethics?....continued

Why should we bother about ethics?

Why should we bother about ethics at all? Surely as far as Christian ethics are concerned, well, didn't they go out with the proverbial ark?

In today's world we are exercised about absolutes for behaviour and refuse such notions. Society looks for a fixed point on which to base standards for behaviour in an ever-moving and ever-growing accumulation of reasoning. Therefore in today's society words like standards and responsibility are indefinable, and we face a future in an amoral society.

Imagine that it were possible to mark a molecule of water in an ocean and after several days come back and look for that molecule. Well, we would not find it. This is what happens with an amoral society; it deals with each situation differently.

William Barclay in his book "Ethics in a permissive society" says:

"If you want to put it in one sentence, ethics is the science of behaviour. Ethics is the bit of religion that tells us how we ought to behave. Now it so happens that in regard to ethics we are facing today a situation which the Christian church never had to face before.

Not so very long ago, when I was young and first entered the ministry, the great battle cry was: 'don't bother about theology; stick to ethics.' People would say: 'Stop talking about the Trinity and about the two natures of Jesus and all that sort of thing, and stick to ethics. Never mind theology; just stick to the Sermon on the Mount, and let the abstractions and the abstruseness's and the philosophy and the meta-physics go.' People said: 'Take theology away - I can't understand it anyway.'

But thirty years ago no one ever really questioned the Christian ethic. Thirty years ago no one ever doubted that divorce was disgraceful; that illegitimate babies were a disaster; that chastity was a good thing; that an honest day's work was part of the duty of any respectable and responsible man; that honesty ought to be part of life. But today, for the first time in history, the whole Christian ethic is under attack. It is not only the theology that people want to abandon it is the ethic as well.

That is why it is so important to look at the Christian ethic today, to see what it is all about, and to ask if it is still as binding as ever."

It would seem clear that as society abandons the standards and moral values of its forefathers, behaviour deteriorates. Christian ethics are the standard for conduct and behaviour that is the way forward for the global society of the twenty first century.

Index to the topic

What is ethics?
A definition
A deeper definition of ethics
A deeper definition of Christian ethics
Why should we bother about ethics
The root of Christian ethics
    a) relationship
    b) freedom
    c) love
    d) responsibility
The Bible in Christian ethics

Other Material
1. Ethics by David J Garrard

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