How do Christians make Moral Decisions?
- A moral decision is a decision in which you need to decide if something is right or wrong e.g. abortion or euthanasia
- Your conscience is the moral sense or knowledge that lets us feel the difference between right and wrong.
- Christians believe that God gives each of us morality and as God is good, our conscience guides us to choose the right path, and also that is Christian’s duty to do the will of God.
- Consequentialists make their decisions based on possible outcomes and use their conscience to help decide which outcome is best.
- Many Christians listen to their conscience through prayer or visions.
- For some Christians such as Jehovah’s witnesses, the Bible is the most important source of authority there is.
- Deontologists are those who follow the teachings of the Bible when making moral decisions.
- Some Liberal Christians interpret the Bible for the modern society removing ideas such as sexism before using the teachings to make a judgement.
- Christians consider what Jesus said in the New Testament; answer stranger’s cry for help, love your neighbour as you love yourself, forgive your enemies, and don’t test the Lord.
- Some Christians look to the Bible to see what Jesus would do in a similar situation.
- All Christians use the 10 commandments to help aid decisions, and some argue this is the ultimate source of morality
The Authority of the Church
- Some Christians believe that God speaks to the world through the Church, i.e. the Church leaders such as Bishops, Priests and the Pope.
- Christians can often go and talk to the leader of their local church when they seek guidance on moral issues.
- There are 4 main principles;
- Pragmatism – the main goal is love and you must try to achieve love no matter what.
- Relativism – each time you make a decision it’s not fixed rules, it’s always different and relevant to that one situation
- Positivism – you have to try to be achieving the greater good.
- Personalism – it’s personal to you and it’s not up to anyone else, it’s your conscience talking to you.
- Situation ethics give flexibility as there is not one rule for every occasion, so you’re more likely to come to a good decision.
- Christians follow situation ethics because it allows them to decide what is right for them.
- Blessed are the spiritually poor – theirs is heaven
- Blessed are those that mourn – they will be comforted
- Blessed are the humble – they will receive God’s promise
- Blessed are those whose biggest desire is to do God’s will – they will be satisfied
- Blessed are the merciful – they will receive mercy from God
- Blessed are the pure in heart –they will see God
- Blessed are the peacemakers – they will be God’s children
- Blessed are the persecuted – they will inherit heaven
- These show how different behaviours will be rewarded, and these influence some Christians when they make decisions.
“Treat others as you wish to be treated”
- This quote is from Matthew 7 verse 12, and is part of the Sermon on the Mount
- This is the heart of the Christian law of love. (Judge not unless you are judged, be kind so that others may be kind to you, care so that you may be cared for etc)
Example and Reason
- Some Christians try to emulate or follow the example set by experienced Christians or more famous Christians in the Bible.
- Many Christians believe God gave them intelligence so they use reason to try and work out the most logical solution.