Just a bit of a light note on the centrality of ethics for the “ good life:” http://www. Youth. Com/watch? V= Decoking 1) Citizens, as well as political leaders and entrepreneurs have discovered that to be unaware of the fact that most people operate quite outside the traditional concept of ethics necessitates as look again at questions of ethics. Most modern people, across the world, have increasingly mistake law for ethics. Surely each of us has heard someone, if not many people, exclaim: “ l have broken no law. ” As if that were sufficient as a proclamation of their ethical goodness or innocence.
Ethics and moral values are the glue of culture and a people’s interaction or exchange. Arguably, ethical values have historically been rooted in the religious traditions, although neither always nor necessarily. In any case, ethics can never be a personally private affair or choice. By its nature ethics is social and public. 2) If we mistake Law as sufficient for ethical standards, then parents need only provide the basic necessities for their children. A parent would expect only to meet the minimum, but the minimum is not the virtue of love, compassion, self- sacrifice that every child deserves and expects.
Indeed, even communities expect parents to “ go beyond” the minimum and provide the nurturing environment that every youngster requires if they are to grow into a stable and mature adulthood. 3) LAW is the “ floor” below which we cannot be allowed to sink without endangering the community in some manner. ETHICS is the horizon of virtue that calls us to move beyond the minimum and to extend respect and love or concern to others. It is also the horizon that sets for us the goals whereby we are also concerned about the well-being of those whom we do not know personally or who will be members of yet unborn generations.
They do, ethically, if not legally by an act of legislation, deserve a share in the bounties of the earth. We cannot ethically take everything for ourselves. 4) Theological ethics recognizes that it begins with “ faith. ” Faith is not the abstract, pious or sacral notion so often associated with it. Faith is an act of trust in other human beings and nature as essentially good and worthy Of Our trust (but not naively So, We must use reason, but not cynicism). Faith is not blind, even if it precedes reason. 5) Reason critiques our faith in people, life, the world, God. Is our faith well-grounded?
Does it have sufficient reasons o that we can explain why we affirm what we do? 6) Faith is where we start, not reason! Why? Because even as a child first begins with faith, e. G. In their parents and an warm and helpful world surrounding it, so we too cannot grow and develop if, having no faith in the world around us, our self is turned inward to protect and guard itself from the hostile surroundings. 7) Yet we cannot prove what we believe and have faith in. We cannot prove happiness, joy, love, sorrow or fear. But we can offer plausible reasons for our faith assertions.
If we have no plausible reasons, then whatever we believe is a ere assertion. 8) In the case Of theological ethics, we cannot prove or demonstrate (as in the case of a physical reality) the truth of our belief, But we can illustrate that what we believe appears to make sense of much of what we experience. (For example, the overwhelming number of people affirm the experience of love, but can point only to “ signs” of it in their lives, e. G. The fruits of a good relationship is not constant and unmitigated joyfulness, but growth and contentedness in a relationship (relationships span a period of time and are not reduced to their parts, I. . The sorrows or faculties every relationship also encompasses. ) We cannot prove our spouse’s love, but we point to our lives together as plausible signs that love does exist between us. Signs, however, are not the things they themselves. Jimmie Cricket may have it right: http://www. Youth. Com/watch? V= Rubdown’s= related THEOLOGICAL ETHICS IS VIRTUE/WISDOM ETHICS In this course we will examine Christianity, not with a desire to secure “ church membership” or loyalty. Rather it will be to appreciate the Western Tradition that is ours.
To appreciate the ethical tradition that led religious women and en to establish schools and hospitals for the poor and marginalia, e. G. GU, but also orphanages and hospitals that crisscross this country and testify to the leadership of religiously committed women and men who differed from those whose lives were restricted by the juridical, the legal. They, and they could be either religious or secular, understand the world to be about themselves. Ethics is simply avoiding the sanctions of law. They represent the “ rugged individualists” who understand life to be about them.
Others flourish, they rather legalistically and ideologically, because of individual self-pursuit. One wonders how they apply that to family, to helping the wounded victim on a street, when, as in the case of parents, to help means to inconvenience oneself. Theological ethics, for example, because it is about virtue and the character of a person, stands in opposition to libertarian thought as exemplified by Ian Rand. The outline and strategy of the course: Section One: weeks 2-3 We will look at chapter 2 of The Catholic Moral Tradition Today, by Charles E. Curran..
Our opening consideration is the “ stance” or perspective people take in theological ethics. Since the Catholic Tradition has developed ethics as a separate tract of studies for centuries, it has developed a rich dialogue between different perspectives, incorporating principles from the ancient Greek tradition, as well as the modern Western philosophical. During our first two weeks we will survey the Catholic experience as it transitioned, quite successfully, from very ancient and traditionalists ways to some quite modern ways of looking at the principles to be used in the development of a virtuous and exemplary life.
Section Two: weeks 4-5 Chapter three will allow us to linger for some time to consider several oodles used in ethical thinking: particularly the deontological, the teleological and a relational-responsibility. We will also consider some of the issues surrounding one of central, if disputed, concepts: Natural Law. Natural Law can be understood either deontological (legalistic and juridical frozen) or teleological (in light of purposes that are understood (themselves) in two ways: somewhat mechanically set or developmental or progressively developed.
Section Three: weeks 6-7 We will read chapter four on the importance to consider further the “ person” who is the agent or ethical actor. We will see that as persons, it was often assumed in the past, that we were fully able to understand and act rationally with such a freedom that it Was the norm to assume their Were normally no obstacles to our understanding what was right and wrong. Today, we understand that many factors can mitigate, even impair, one’s reasoning or freedom when acting.
This “ turn to the subject/agent” has stirred concern in many people that ethics and society have become too tolerant and subjective (relativist). Curran will lead us through some of the major issues in this discussion. Section Four: seeks 8-9 This section will focus with Curran and the issue of ethics as virtue based. Theological ethics wishes to discuss and set forth the principles for character development on the basis of a gospel oriented value system, I. E. The beatitudes. The beatitudes are not a code of laws, but a horizon toward which we can move…. A direction and goal to set for a life’s journey.
The point is NOT that we arrive at the horizon, but that it sits before us so that we do not lose our way. Section Five: weeks 10-11 Even if the virtues set a horizon toward which we orient ourselves, the arties are general principles much in the same ways as are the Beatitudes. “ To act in a loving manner, for example, is a general principle. What it is in the concrete could be, alternately, either a “ hug” of a child who has just fallen and hurt herself or “ scolding Of an unruly child for whom a hug would be an act Of indulgence or the spoiling of the child.
If we are to have love, we must also have justice, but justice demands judgment regarding right and wrong. Love, therefore, is always context specific, just as are all the virtues. One person’s fortitude or courage, may be another person’s rigidity or bull-headiness. Section Six: weeks 12-13 Conscience and sin will be our focus. Sin is to break a relationship with God, it, therefore, cannot be the result of an oversight, misunderstanding or something done against our own free will. God understands and does not impute sin legalistically, I. . We broke a law, we must suffer the penalty. No, we must have acted contrary to our conscience. In this chapter we will consider the types of conscience and the three conditions required in an act of sin. Most importantly, we will see that, in the catholic tradition only MORTAL sin is SIN. Venial sin is analogous to the irritants we inflict upon people daily (? ) but not with any intention to sever our relationships, but simply because of character weakness, temperament or inadvertence. Weekly Assignments: 1. Reading: a.
Each week there is an assignment from one of the textbooks, either Charles Curran or from Patricia and Shannon Jung’ book. (One week we will also read a small section of Stanley Whereas. Or it may that: b. There will be some other selections to read and these will usually be provided as hyperlinks to various web sites. This will especially be the case in the first few weeks of the course. 2. Written: a. The usual format will be to provide answers or brief essays (THE EQUIVALENT OF ONE PAGE, BUT NO MORE THAN n, vow PAGES) in response to questions that will be posted on the Blackboard for you. . Occasionally there will be a Discussion Board Question/s that you will be expected to participate in during the course of the week of its assignment. What will constitute a week? The fact is that we will be working on-line. The regular school calendar and presence in a classroom is irrelevant to our progress through this course. As a consequence, I propose that the calendar for this course will be exactly as on he calendar that may hang in your room or kitchen at home. The first week, therefore is the week of August 29.
On that week this Introduction and rationale will serve as the work with which we will begin. In addition for the second portion of the week will post some discussion questions on the Discussion Board for everyone to address. These will be in the way of introduction to one another, explaining our background knowledge of Christianity and/or Western history, some of the personal questions we may have about religion and Christianity and other points of clarification. The mints of clarification are important. I will expect that you will look at the course materials and ask for clarification about them.
We need to do this at the beginning of the course when everyone is on a Discussion Board together (not necessarily occasionally, that is at the same time period, but within a few days everyone will have been on and off checking what everyone has to say) so that clarification does not need to be repeated individually for everyone. Of course, further clarifications may be necessary as the semester progresses and we will be happy to address additions questions as they arise. However, if the question has been addressed during this first week, you will need to return to it on this week’s Discussion Board.
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