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(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)
New Testament ethics have (almost) always been praised for their exalted character.
- Nietzsche's objections to Christian ethics as being a "slave morality" are to be rejected as a misunderstanding of the Christian ethos. While Christians are described as "slaves" (Greek “douloi”) of Christ (or of God), this should not make them servile - in fact the Apostle Paul exhorts them not to become slaves of men (1 Corinthians 7:23).
- However, even if we reject the ascetic excesses that developed in the early church as inimical to the fundamental notions of Christianity, the sacrifices to be expected in a Christian life lived to the full only make sense for the individual if the hoped-for rewards of resurrection life are taken into account.
- As the Apostle Paul said, "if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable . . . what advantage have I if the dead do not rise? Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die" (1 Corinthians 15:19 & 32, quoting Isaiah 22:13).
- Incidentally, such a remark would be incomprehensible if addressed to the average modern prosperous evangelical.
- The common-sense ethics of Ecclesiastes are more appropriate to a "this life only" scenario.
- Sundry complaints have, of course, been raised concerning certain New Testament ethical positions that seem to indicate a myopic accommodation to the then current social status quo. These issues include:
- The status of women.
- The toleration of slavery.
- An ambivalent attitude to war.
- The acceptance of tyranny.
|Note last updated
||Reference for this Topic
||488 (Problems - Bible Morality - New Testament)
||Problems - Bible Morality|
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