The Reasons behind the Rhyme

The field of ethics is actually the structured evaluation of behavior.  It is the consideration of why we do what we do.  It consists of hard to define, but inherently understandable concepts such as morality, justice, equity, and best-interests. 

When it comes to Christian ethics, or the analysis of why Christians do what Christians do, or are supposed to do, there have been radically different understandings within the Christian community.  For instance, some Christians feel strongly that war is an act of God, and to participate is consistent with God's desired will.  Therefore, participating as a soldier in war would be considered ethical.  However, many Christians feel strongly that war is contrary to the will of God, and actively resist participating in war.  These Christians find war highly unethical.  How do we analyze the difference in the view of war among Christians: Through the study of ethics.

Ethicists look at reasons for behavior in two distinct ways.  Some believe that mankind will always seek to do that which is seems to be in their own self-interest, whether that be individually or as part of a group in which they identify (Teleological).  Others, tend to look at the morality of the act itself, without regard to its consequence (Deontological).  So people may argue that dropping the atomic bomb was ethical because it was in the best interest of the United States (possibly saving more American lives by bringing the war to an end).  While others would argue that killing innocent people is immoral and the means (sparing innocent lives) justifies any consequence.

I think that we need to spend more time analyzing the ethics of Jesus.  I believe that it was his faith (complete reliance upon God) and hope (Clear confidence in the intervention of God) that allowed him to have more of a deontological (each act or behavior has its own sense of right or wrong and should be acted upon accordingly).  Some would say that Jesus acted in a utilitarian way, by doing what was best for most people, but I would argue that each act, such as sometimes choosing not to heal people, was not based upon the greatest impact, but whether is was the right thing to do at the time, according to written scripture and the leading of God's spirit.  This was possible because again, he entrusted himself, and the consequences of doing the "right thing" to the hand of God (I Peter 2:23).

Do you ever think about why you do what you do?  Are  your ethics like Jesus?  Are you concerned about the morality of what you support, or just the consequences?  I would challenge you to reread the gospels and ask God to allow His Spirit to show you how Jesus approached the issues of His day, so you can be better prepared for yours.

God bless,

Pastor M Traylor
Dr. M TraylorComment