Christian moral principles - Coggle Diagram
Christian moral principles
Propositional and non-propositional revelation
Propositional knowledge is a statement with a truth value. It is conveyed through language.
Propositional faith and revelation is knowledge revealed by God through language. It is belief in the bible and other sources of God's commands.
Non-propositional knowledge is knowledge through experience. Also known as procedural knowledge.
Non-propositional faith and revelation is knowledge revealed through an encounter with God or experiencing a sense of God's presence.
Approaches to the bible
Propositional: Accepts as truth that the words of the bible are messages from God. The life of Jesus is literal and the bible is a historical fact. The commandments and the beatitudes are fixed moral commands.
Non-propositional: God's word was conveyed through Jesus, the human form of God. Therefore, we should look at how Jesus led his life and apply it to our own lives.
Sola scriptura / theonomous ethics
By scripture alone.
The Bible is the only source of authority.
The supreme authority on all matters.
Self-authenticating - Any rational reader can see the meaning which presents itself. We do not need any interpretation.
Some fundamentalist Christians believe the Bible is directly written by God through the writers.
Amanuensis - the process of a scribe copying another's work.
Popular in evangelical Protestant Christian Churches
"Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, 'I have put my words in your mouth'"
An infallible source of information.
Inerrancy of scripture - The Bible is without errors.
Mouw - The Bible isn't simply commands but also history and poetry. The Bible cannot be simplified to 'love'. Some commands do not apply today.
Some argue the bible will always be read somewhat subjectively due to the readers state of mind.
Others point out the variations in the writing of the gospels. John - Mystical, theological style
Matthew - References Jewish culture as though the reader will understand
Luke - Explains Judaism as though the reader won't understand.
How could God have dictated the Bible in different styles.
Jesus says the greatest commandments are 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart' and 'Love your neighbour as yourself'.
A type of autonomous ethics - where the authority is placed onto the individual.
There are no absolute rules or commands.
Associated with modern liberal protestants like Joseph Fletcher and his Situation Ethics
Jesus focused heavily on love. 'Love each other as I have loved you'
Liberal Christians believe that the Bible was inspired by God but written by humans. Society has changed since it was written and parts of the Bible may be out of date.
Catholics believe scared tradition has precedent over the Bible.
Oral tradition occurs from Jesus and is transferred by an unbroken chain of Apostolic Succession.
Sacred tradition arises through the Holy Spirit and therefore is a binding authority and connection to God.
Humans are weak and sinful and require the Church and the Bible to make moral decisions.
The Bible is the first but not only source of understanding.
The Bible and Christian tradition are combined.
For over 2000 years the Church has interpreted the Bible and therefore it should help guide people morally.
The Bible can speak into current situation if properly analysed.
Are Christian ethics distinctive?
Yes: Human reason cannot come up with correct moral behaviour and so we need the Bible. Since the fall, humans have become more selfish and their will is corrupt.
No: Aquinas argued that all humans have a sense of natural law. Therefore Christian ethics are available to all. Fletcher would argue morals are relative to the situation.
Are Christian ethics personal?
Yes: Christian teachings give individuals a way to live life according to their own needs. Jesus treated many cases as individual. Christ also broke prescriptive rules in favour of acting lovingly. Bible should be read of a guide.
No, communal: Jesus spoke to groups more than individuals - Sermon on the mount. Community is central to the Christian lifestyle.
Is love sufficient for a good life?
Jesus kept returning to the theme of love.
We should put people first.
Jesus is the greatest authority.
Absolutes may not bring about the best outcome.
This may however be a reduction of Jesus' teachings.
Love requires reason alongside it
The Bible is the only true source of morality.
Is the Bible comprehensive?
Yes: It is God's only given source of moral knowledge. There are many rules and commandments. Augustine tells us human reason cannot be trusted.
No: The natural world can also give us insight into moral truths. Some interpretation of the Bible is needed.