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What is ethics?

By Roger Pawsey


As we look at the subject of ethics it is important that we are able to define what we mean. William Barclay 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."

Ethics is a code of behaviour that enables people to make moral judgements about difficult situations. For the Christian such topics could include abortion, suicide, homosexuality, genetics and ecology. It also asks the question "can there be a just war?" or "is slavery permissible?"

There are so many questions it is important that we first look at how we arrive at a code of behaviour that will serve us as practicing Christians.

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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