Relationship between ethics and theology

relationship between ethics and theology

Abstract. The Letter to the Ephesians is comprised of two distinct parts that can be labelled "theology" (Ephesians ) and "ethics" (Ephesians. Christian ethics is a branch of Christian theology that defines virtuous behavior and wrong . A sharper line of separation between philosophy and theology, and in they stress the importance of meditation on, and relationship with, God. THE MUTUAL RELATIONS BETWEEN ETHICS AND THEOLOGY. ethics, are as ethical as anything can be. The science of religion, on the other hand.

Augustine identified a movement in Scripture "toward the ' City of God ', from which Christian ethics emerges", as illustrated in chapters 11 and 12 of the book of Genesis.

The relationship between theology and ethics in the Letter to the Ephesians.

His synthesis is called Augustinianism alternatively, Augustinism. He presents hardly a single portion of ethics to us but what he does present is enriched with his keen philosophical commentaries. Later writers followed in his footsteps. Scholasticism and Thomism[ edit ] This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

December Main articles: Scholasticism and Thomism A sharper line of separation between philosophy and theology, and in particular between ethics and moral theology, is first met within the works of the great Schoolmen of the Middle Ages, especially of Albertus Magnus —Thomas Aquinas —Bonaventure —and Duns Scotus — Philosophy and, by means of it, theology reaped abundant fruit from the works of Aristotle, which had until then been a sealed treasure to Western civilization, and had first been elucidated by the detailed and profound commentaries of Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas and pressed into the service of Christian philosophy.

For example, he discusses the ethics of buying and selling and concludes that although it may be legal according to human law to sell an object for more that it is worth, Divine law "leaves nothing unpunished that is contrary to virtue. Thomas also argues that the human being by reflection on human nature's inclinations discovers a law, that is the natural law, which is "man's participation in the divine law. January After a couple centuries of stagnation, in the sixteenth century ethical questions are again made the subject of careful investigation.

Since the sixteenth century, special chairs of ethics moral philosophy have been funded in many Catholic universities. Among topics they discussed was the ethics of action in case of doubt, leading to the doctrine of probabilism. With the rejection of the doctrine of papal infallibility and the Roman Magisterium as the absolute religious authority, each individual, at least in principle, became the arbiter in matters pertaining to faith and morals.

Lutheran Philipp Melanchthonin his "Elementa philosophiae moralis", still clung to the Aristotelian philosophy strongly rejected by Martin Lutheras did Hugo Grotius in De jure belli et pacis. But Richard Cumberland and his follower Samuel Pufendorf assumed, with Descartesthat the ultimate ground for every distinction between good and evil lay in the free determination of God's will, an antinomian view which renders the philosophical treatment of ethics fundamentally impossible.

In the 20th century some Christian philosophers, notably Dietrich Bonhoefferquestioned the value of ethical reasoning in moral philosophy. In this school of thought, ethics, with its focus on distinguishing right from wrong, tends to produce behavior that is simply not wrong, whereas the Christian life should instead be marked by the highest form of right. Rather than ethical reasoning, they stress the importance of meditation on, and relationship with, God. Other important Protestant Christian ethicists include H.

In a popular movement of the s, many used the phrase " What would Jesus do? The cardinal virtues are so called because they are regarded as the basic virtues required for a virtuous life. The three theological virtuesare FaithHopeand Love or Charity.

The belief that God will be eternally present in every human's life and never giving up on His love. Areas of applied Christian ethics[ edit ] Main article: Christianity and abortion Christian views on abortion has a complex history as there is no explicit prohibition of abortion in either the Old Testament or New Testament books of the Christian Bible.

While some writers say that early Christians held different beliefs at different times about abortion, [24] [25] [26] others say that, in spite of the silence of the New Testament on the issue, they condemned abortion at any point of pregnancy as a grave sin, [27] a condemnation that they maintained even when some of them did not qualify as homicide the elimination of a fetus not yet "formed" and animated by a human soul. African-American Protestants are much more strongly anti-abortion than white Protestants.

Although scripture is mostly silent on abortionvarious elements of scripture inform Christian ethical views on this topic, including Genesis 4: Christian views on alcohol Current views on alcohol in Christianity can be divided into moderationism, abstentionism, and prohibitionism. Abstentionists and prohibitionists are sometimes lumped together as " teetotalers ", sharing some similar arguments. However, prohibitionists abstain from alcohol as a matter of law that is, they believe God requires abstinence in all ordinary circumstanceswhile abstentionists abstain as a matter of prudence that is, they believe total abstinence is the wisest and most loving way to live in the present circumstances.

Fifty-two percent of Evangelical leaders around the world say drinking alcohol is incompatible with being a good Evangelical. Christian views on divorce Christian views on divorce are informed by verses in Matthew, Mark, Deuteronomy, and others [38] and political developments much later.

In the synoptic GospelsJesus emphasized the permanence of marriagebut also its integrity. In the book of Matthew Jesus says "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. Not having assets of their own, women needed to be protected from the risk of their husbands' putting them on the street at whim. In those times marriage was an economic matter.

Restriction of divorce was based on the necessity of protecting the woman and her position in society, not necessarily in a religious context, but an economic context.

relationship between ethics and theology

The Catholic Church prohibits divorce, but permits annulment a finding that the marriage was never valid under a narrow set of circumstances. The Eastern Orthodox Church permits divorce and remarriage in church in certain circumstances. Sexual morality and celibacy[ edit ] See also: Celibacy and Catholic teachings on sexual morality Modern Christian sexual morality rejects adultery[43] extramarital sex[44] prostitution[45] and rape. In his early writings, Paul described marriage as a social obligation that has the potential of distracting from Christ.

Sex, in turn, is not sinful but natural, and sex within marriage is both proper and necessary. This makes them to conclude that God-questions are theological and not at all ethical. Doing so Ethics is reduced to just the moral concerns. Hafner, Press, Thus, the dualistic view that Ethics and Theology are separate from each other is no more applicable as Ethics is now understood by ethicists as a serious theological reflection on human moral conduct.

Dialectical relationship This view holds that theology and ethics are in mutual response and responsibility to each other, Bonhoeffer is of the view that ethics consults theology and they share a dialectical relationship. Thus, even though theology and ethics keep a different identity, they are interwoven where they correct each other. Thus the traditional understanding of dualistic view on theology and Ethics is proven wrong and that the two is in constant dialogue with each other.

Integrational relationship According to this view, it holds that not just theology is related to ethics but it is integrated and cannot be separated. This view is a new development where ethics and theology is made to be clubbed under one single understanding. The argument is that all ethical and theological questions cannot be differentiated. This is due to the development of political theology where God is seen as a liberator both in Ethics and 30 Hunter P Mabry, Christian Ethics… 3.

Rather an integrated union of the two is proposed.

Christian ethics - Wikipedia

Understanding of Ethics and Theology in India Indian Christian Theology is also a liberation theology which seeks to do away with the western imposition of philosophy and teachings which are alien to Indian Christians.

Here we see that Sadhu made at attempt to bring about the doctrine of right action ethics in a theological approach where he taught that, the action of our sinful actions, can cast us into hell, unless we avail ourselves of the salvation offered in Christ.

Therefore he did not separate Ethics and Theology in his approach but rather clubbed it together. Thomas rejected the conservative evangelical tendency to limit Christian mission to just preaching and church growth.

He was of the view that Christian mission is to reach out in a pragmatic approach towards politics, history and human 33 M. ISPCK, Taking note of the approaches of these two Indian Christian theologians, we can conclude that for the Indian Christians, what is ethical is theological as their root to doing ethics is based on the theology they attempt to achieve. The Christian traditional view that Ethics and theology are separate endeavor is therefore rejected in this sense as Indian Christian Theologians attempt to bring about an integrated approach towards doing theology in a liberative or rather an ethical approach towards human value and concerns.

If truth and values are free-floating, disconnected from God, people can create truth and values for preservation and self-promotion.

Christian ethics

Therefore one need to always connect Ethics with theology. Evaluation The Traditionalist may hold that Christian Ethics and Theology are separate endeavors as their understanding of Ethics is equated with their understanding of morality. This view is no more relevant today as the focus of Theology which was only vertical is now shifted to a more inclusive approach were both horizontal and vertical relationship is given importance.

Thus, in order to do Ethics one needs to deal with both horizontal and vertical approach which is the theological trend of the present era. Therefore one cannot separate the aspect of ethical concerns from theological concerns in this regard. One is the study of God, and the other is the system that tells us how we should act.

Ethics can be a field of study, but most commonly it is thought of as a practical guide to right living. Most often theology is thought to be a study of 37 R.

Crossway, But the truth is that theology is a much more practical study than it appears on the surface, and it has a much deeper relationship with ethics than most people would think.

Whether we like it or not, we cannot avoid dealing with Ethics while doing theology and at the same time we cannot avoid doing theology while doing ethics. Even in a non-Christian aspect like Islam and Hinduism, the theological perspective of such religion is the basis for doing ethics. Thus, the question of right and wrong is always related with the ideas about God conceived in human mind. Caste System According to Hinduism caste system plays a vital role in deciding the status of an individual and this is practiced strictly.

Christians would not agree to it and speak of equality as God has made everyone equal. In order to decide whether Caste system is right or wrong, one takes its theological stand on it. Hindu finds it necessary, for the caste role plays a vital role in their understanding of Hindu doctrines and practices and thus would say caste system is right.

Christians would not agree saying it is wrong as their theological doctrine is rooted on equality of all humankind. Thus our decision making on ethics is deeply rooted to our theological affirmation. The idea behind Hindu fundamentalist is that Hindu 39 Looting of Hindu women 11 women are forcefully taken or lured to marriage and then later they are forcefully converted into Islam.

Muslims on the other hand would say it is out of love one gets married and not through force. Here, to decide right and wrong. Hindu would have no problem in terms of people of other faith like in the case of Aligarh re-conversion of 77 valmikis. The same case will be with the Muslims and any other religious fundamentalist. But, the Christians will be more liberal, as Feminism is on the rise and the idea of free-will is already incorporated in Christian doctrine.

relationship between ethics and theology

Christians would say a woman is free to marry man from other religion, but when it comes to conversion, once again it will be the same with any other religious fundamentalist, and it will overshadow the concept of free will and women rights to take a strong theo-centric ethical standpoint.

Thus this clearly points that, consciously or unconsciously our theological affirmation plays a vital role in our entire ethical decision making.

Conclusion The dynamic of theology today cannot be confined to the dogmas and doctrines which the early church practiced. Theology today is spreading to newer areas and concerns of human existence, relation, and its cohesiveness with the Scripture. Traditions of the early church therefore has somewhat become irrelevant or completely irrelevant in some cases to our present theological scenario.