Theological Ethics Misunderstandings

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) Description of some common misunderstandings concerning what Theological
Ethics involves, including a valid definition of Theological ethics.

Theological ethics is a complex subject in that it extends to every facet of our lives, our communities, our country, and the whole planet. How should we behave in relation to these realms? What do we base our behavior on? Firstly, let us look at how people can misunderstand Theological Ethics:-

a) Ethics is not simply drawing up two lists.
Merely looking at what is right and wrong on two lists does not do justice to the field of ethics. Ethics are far more complex, and are dependent on context. We need to know the source of these ideas of right and wrong. What were the conditions
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c) Ethical judgments are not always final or absolute.
There may be extenuating circumstances to ethical judgments, e.g. in the case of ‘Thou shalt not kill’. For instance, there is a sizeable difference between a psychopathic killer and someone guilty of culpable homicide due to negligence.
Another example would be the rule of not working on the Sabbath. What if someone required urgent medical treatment which was life threatening? Should we refuse to assist? Hence, virtues can override norms.
d) Ethics is not a purely theoretical academic subject.
Ethics comes into play whenever you have to make decisions. The (un)ethical choices we make and the way we act in our everyday lives are based on our belief systems, and our moral character.
e) Morality is not the same as moralism or legalism.
Moral persons are guided internally by their own virtuous nature and strength of character. Moralists or legalists have not internalized the norms and values they ascribe to, hence they lack moral formation, and look exclusively to external laws to guide their behavior and judge
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Ethics concerns both the individual and social spheres. Ethics affects every aspect of life, be it personal, family, social, economic, national or global, and includes how we treat other creatures and our environment.
(Kretzschmar 2004:19-25).
Definition of Theological Ethics:-
Theological (or Christian) Ethics encompasses an analysis of our moral principles (norms and values) of what is right and wrong, looks to find methods of good ethical decision making and performing right actions, and concerns itself with the formation of moral character. It is also invested in societal regeneration as well as searching for answers to a wide range of moral issues facing us today, like hiv/aids, sexuality, health care, disparities between rich and poor, human rights, politics, the economics of a globalised world and environmental concerns (Kretzschmar 2004:24,36-39). Catholicism defines it as
”...a search for those approaches, norms, character traits, and choices that enable people to live well individually and together.”*

2) An outline and evaluation of the following ethical approaches:- Existentialism (Soren

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