Thursday, March 08, 2012


Proverbs 1 Philosophical Ethics?

That everybody has “values” is obvious. It is equally obvious that there is considerable
disagreement on what constitutes a valid value system.

The NSW Government has recently endorsed the teaching of Philosophical Ethics in NSW Government schools.  How do we as Christians respond to this? What do Christians understand about the development of Ethics?


I. Ethics—What Are They?

Ethics concerns our moral values.

“Personal beliefs that propel us to action, to a particular kind of behavior and life.”  (Hunter Lewis, A Question of Values, p.1)
Are Ethics a matter of:
Merely a matter of Interest. 
Merely a matter of Preference. 
Something we respect in others and wish others to respect in us? 
Or are they a matter for Commitment?

Is there any moral authority to our ethics and values?

II. Ethics—Where Do You Get It?

Are Moral values relative? If they are derived from our parents, our families, or  our society then our ethics are relative; that is, morals and values may differ and change from person to person, society to society, community to community. In our Australian pluralistic society we may be tempted to believe that all of our values and therefore our Ethics are relative; changing, ephemeral, without substance, alterable,votable and insubstantial in the long term.

The sources Values may be derived from;
1. Authority. 
2. Deductive logic.
3. Sense experience. 
4. Emotion.
5. Intuition and conscience.
6. Science.

“The Big Sez Who”   Which is it?
1. Self decides.
2. Society determines. 
3. Sovereign reigns.


III. Ethics  -What does Scripture say?

Proverbs 1

1  The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight,
3 to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4 to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth—
5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,
6 to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles.
7  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

A. Mental and moral skills must be attained. v. 2

B. Practical common sense must be acquired. v. 3

C. All need instruction vv. 4-5

D. Awe of God   (“The fear of the Lord”)  is where you start. v. 7


There can be no instruction in Ethics without an Awe for God;

He establishes Absolute Ethics.

He internalises an individual’s Absolute Ethics (conscience)

He encourages the teaching and administration of Absolute ethics

He endorses societies with Absolute ethics.

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