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Introduction to Christian Ethics

 

 

PE301/501
This is the subject page for the on campus Subject.

WORKLOAD: One semester, 4 credit points.
Status: Elective
PRE-REQUISITES / CO-REQUISITES / EXCLUSIONS: None
WHEN: Semester 2, 2018
WHO: Scott Harrower

These days, people want to know if Christianity is thinkable and liveable before considering its claims. And it’s usually ethical issues which are the number one stumbling block for non-believers, making it vitally important Christians understand what they believe is right and wrong, and why. Should we base our ethical decisions on duty, the consequences of our actions or on principles of virtue? This unit will explore these three models of ethical theory, and allow students to see that the Bible critiques and challenges our ethical assumptions on issues ranging from marriage and divorce, racism and sexism, sexuality, and wealth and money. It will equip students with an understanding of ethical theory, Biblical ethics and a framework for approaching modern day ethical issues so that they’re better able to engage with the world and live consistently within it.

Content

Section A: Biblical Ethics

  1. Using the Bible in Ethics:
    • Methodological issues raised in moving from the Bible to modern ethical issues.
    • A brief survey of how the Bible has been used in ethics.
  2. Old Testament Ethics:
    • Framework: creation, sin, covenant, prophecy and wisdom;
    • Ethical themes in the Old Testament;
  3. New Testament Ethics:
    • Sermon on the Mount, Pauline ethics, 1 Peter, James.
    • Ethical themes: Kingdom and eschatology, righteousness/justice, love command.

Section B: Philosophical Ethics

  1. Introducing Ethics as a discipline: its nature and function.
  2. Types of Ethical Theories:
    • Theories of Obligation: deontological & teleological;
    • Theories of Virtue: traits, character, motivation, disposition;
    • The relationship between obligation and virtue.

Section C: Ethical Issues

Candidates choose two of the following areas for study:

  • Divorce and re-marriage
  • Sexual morality: fidelity, adultery, homosexuality
  • Sexism and racism
  • Wealth and poverty
  • Cohabitation

 

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