Situation Ethics

  • Created by: Millys200
  • Created on: 19-05-21 19:46

Type of ethical theory

Teleological- focuses on the end result

Relativist- no absolute morals, relative to individuals 

Consequensialist- focuses on consequences 

1 of 6

Conscience and Agape

Fletcher described conscience not as a noun but as a verb; a term that describes attempts to make decisions 

Fletcher identified the key principle of Christian moral decision making as agape love. C.S. Lewis said agape was the greatest of loves. It is specifically Christian love and it exists regardless of circumstances. It is not within humanity's natural abilities to practise agape but with God's help it is possible to love God and our neighbours.

2 of 6

The Six Propositions

These propositions lay the foundation for Situation Ethics.

1. Love is the only thing that is intrinsically good

2. Love is the ruling norm in ethical decision making and replaces all laws

3. Love and justice are the same thing- justice is love that is distributed 

4. Love wills the neighbour's good regardless of wether the neighbour likes it or not

5. Love is the goal or end of the act and that justifies any means to achieve that goal

6. Love decides on each situation as it arises without a set of laws to guide it

3 of 6

The Four Working Principles

These decribe how Situation Ethics should be applied.

1. Pragmatism: it is based on experience rather than theory

2. Relativism: it is based on making the absolute laws of Christian ethics relative

3. Positivism: it begins with belief in the reality and importance of love

4. Personalism: persons, not laws or anything else, are at the centre of situation ethics

4 of 6

Scholars for Situation Ethics

Desmond Tutu- was part of the commission that investigated the evil of apartheid. He expressed the importance of gaining justice to uphold the love for the oppressed.

Bowie- it is flexible, practical and fits with the modern day world. It provides an alternative Christian ethic, consistent with Gospel representation of Jesus.

Ahluwalia- The theory can never become obsolete, it can adapt and apply to any situation. It provides Christians with a way of making moral decisions about modern situations that aren't explicitly mentioned in the Bible. 

Bultmann- Jesus had no ethics, apart from 'love thy neighbour as thyself'

5 of 6

Scholars against Situation Ethics

Barclay- Gives too much flexibility. Robinson said that SE was 'the only ethic for man come of age', Barclay points out that 'man has not yet come of age'. He felt that ignoring God's grace is wrong, we need some kind of guidance to keep society safe.

Tillich- Allowing people to make individual moral choices will lead to chaos. We need some rules or moral absolutes.

John Macquarrie- Individualistic. Doesn't consider community, society or future scenarios.

6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Ethics resources »