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Christian Tractatus

(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)


New Testament ethics have (almost) always been praised for their exalted character.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Incidentally, such a remark would be incomprehensible if addressed to the average modern prosperous evangelical.
  5. The common-sense ethics of Ecclesiastes are more appropriate to a "this life only" scenario.
  6. 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.




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12/08/2007 10:17:46 488 (Problems - Bible Morality - New Testament) Problems - Bible Morality



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