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Christian Ethics and the Response to Secular Ethics

QUESTION: Christian Ethics and the Response to Secular Ethics


Christians need to recognize secular ideas regarding ethics and the flaws inherent in these ideas. For the Christian, morality is a lifestyle of glorifying God, and it is crucial for our moral health to stay away from the hazy thinking that creates less–than–absolute moral values. Rejecting moral absolutes in favor of “situational ethics” is nothing but an excuse to do as we please under the banner of morality. Although history clearly shows that the consequences of such a morality are deadly, thousands today continue to perish as a direct result of their immoral behavior.

Christian Ethics – The Christian Response to Ethical Relativism
Secular moralities are based on a belief that our own ideas about right and wrong are sufficient for an ethical code. Yet, this leaves us without a clear standard for judging moral actions and attitudes. Schaeffer insists that there must be an absolute if there is to be a moral order and real values. “If there is no absolute beyond man’s ideas, then there is no final appeal to judge between individuals and groups whose moral judgments conflict. We are merely left with conflicting opinions.”1

This is the Achilles’ heel of ethical relativism—it leaves us with no standards, only conflicting opinions and subjective value judgments. The ethical vacuum created by relativism allows leaders to misuse their power. “Those who stand outside all judgments of value cannot have any ground for preferring one of their own impulses to another except the emotional strength of that impulse,”2 writes Lewis.

For the Christian, God is the ultimate source of morality, and it is nothing short of blasphemy when we assume His role. And yet, if we do not submit entirely to the moral absolutes established in God’s character, logically the only ethical authority presiding over us is our own impulses. Christians need to understand the fallacies of secular ethics so we can avoid the inconsistencies of unfounded ethical ideals. We must recognize all secular ethical codes as aberrations of God’s code.


Rendered with permission from the book,Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews(Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1976), 145.
2 Lewis, The Abolition of Man, 78.

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