ÚvodTématické řadyVíra a společnostChristian Ethics in Secular Cultures
stáhnout CZstáhnout EN

One of the most important questions in Christian ethics is the relationship
between the moral principles we should follow before God within the
Christian community and the ethics followed in the secular societies within
which we live. This question became painful when I toured the preserved
World War II Nazi concentration camp at Dachau as a teenager (August
1972). After the mental shock receded, I heard a statement by Corrie ten
Boom which clarified the relation between the principles followed by the
Nazis and those followed by Christians. She simply said, “They think differently
than we do.” At the very same time, it was clear to ten Boom both
that many of the Nazis knew that their actions were wrong and that the actions
of the people she represented can have a large influence on what happens
in entire societies. That is our dilemma: 1. We claim we have received
a revelation of God’s moral will in the Bible and in creation which must
shape the distinct identity of believers individually and in community over
against unbelieving cultures; 2. We know our neighbors follow the ethics
of other worldviews (such as the Nazis), which can easily wreak destruction
in the lives of millions of people and entire societies. We have both a
moral duty to a distinct, separate Christian identity in contrast with the cultures
in which we live and a universal moral duty to love our many neighbors
who are hurt because of the ethical principles flowing from other
worldviews and religions. The millions who died in the Holocaust were my
neighbors whom Jesus taught me to love. The millions of people who get
hurt or killed because the ethics of some other religions do not promote
freedom of religion are my neighbors whom Jesus taught me to love. The
millions of people who get seriously hurt because the ethics flowing from
their worldview does not support healthy family life are my neighbors
whom Jesus taught me to love. How should we, as Christians whom God
has called to a separate moral identity in the Body of Christ, participate in
the moral considerations that shape the lives of people in entire cultures,
knowing the role of other worldviews and religions in the ethics of those
cultures, and really love our neighbors?

(full text of the paper in the pdf file)

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