Christian Ethics

Essay by Kendab April 2004

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A letter to the newspaper caught my eye. In it the writer was quite adamant that there was a difference between what he called "the world" and "Christian ethics". As far as I could understand, he was saying there was such a wide gulf between what was commonly known as 'Christian' morals, and the sort of morals which everyone else lived by. He did not want his society, the mass of unbelievers of which he was a part, to be engulfed by the horror of Christian ethics. He saw this as a nightmarish spectre, a sort of 'death by religion'.

It is true that there are some stereotypes of Christianity, either foul or fair, which history has preserved, and which seem, to the uncritical observer, caricatures of the "faith once delivered". The worst of course is the cult leader, who raves on about his 'cause' and mingles theology with insanity.

Thankfully there are not many people about like this, otherwise the world would be a lot more dangerous.

Coming down the scale we arrive at the over-enthusiastic Christians who ignore common sense and make themselves into anti-social nuisances. They distribute tracts to the detriment of the city's appearance, they hound people with dynamic arguments, and they intrude their beliefs into every conversation. For them there is nothing more important than 'the cause' and the harder they strive to win souls, the less inclined people are to listen. They combine ignorance with tactlessness, and are sometimes terribly arrogant as well.

Further down the scale we come to people who, in the past, have given Christianity a certain 'image', such as the Quakers, or Pilgrim fathers, or the well-spoke Victorian Christians who lived a life of perfect modesty and prudence - so we are led to believe. Or perhaps...