Our regular contributor, Nektarios, has made a comment on “Three into one don’t go” which I summarise here:
We have not touched on Christian ethics or the fact that over the last fifty years these have been largely abandoned by the medical profession, and replaced with secular ethics. Most contributors to the Blog respond in terms of Christian ethics but the Church seems reluctant and effete when faced with the secular ethics applied by scientists in the medical and other professions.
And he finishes “We can of course be thankful for the many advances in treatments over the years, but many of them, unethical in my view, have led and continue to lead mankind into moral and destructive behaviour which in some cases threaten the very cohesion and fabric of society.” (His full comment can be found in “Three into one won’t go.”)
This raises in my mind issues which we might usefully discuss.
Are Christian ethics different from secular ethics? One could argue that, since Christian ethics are based on the nature of man (natural law) they should be the same. And that would mean that the rational arguments we use to defend natural law should be acceptable to all.
On the other hand we might expect that since the Christian Church starts from the belief that man is made in the image and likeness of God, and has an eternal destiny, in certain respects its ethics would reflect this. For example, the dignity of man created by God might well inform our attitude towards mitochondrial transfer. However we could not reasonably expect non-believers to accept these assumptions nor the ethics which depend on them.
We might also want to consider the responses to the consultation preparing for the Synod. These show very clearly that, in matters concerning marriage and sexuality, the Catholic Church has failed to convince many of its own members. Can we then expect them to convince non-believers?
This is by no means only concerned with sexual matters. How about our attitudes to war, or to the just distribution of resources in our society? Do our public figures respect the obligation to speak the truth? Are our politicians more concerned with winning elections than the common good? Are the Media casual about destroying reputations? And so on.
Can we give some thought to how Christian ethics might be argued in a way which could make them acceptable to all?