Being raised by a family of Christian origin, it is undoubtedly that I will end up having the same faith and ethical beliefs that my family has. As a child I had been accustomed to the different Christian traditions and belief system. Generally, this includes the belief of Jesus Christ as the savior of mankind and as a son of God, the faith on the bible and the acceptance of the teachings of the Christian Church which serves as an institution who connects man with God. This system has made me see things in a different manner, in a rather conservative manner than most of my childhood friends are.
The view of purity of the soul in able to have the opportunity to enter in heaven was installed in my mind from the time I have been able to have a deeper understanding of things around me. The golden rule which is about doing something good the way that you would like something good to happen to you, is a general rule that I have abide during my youth .
Although I miss going to the church on Sundays, this is still a practice that was incorporated to me and I strongly stick into. I mean, I tried my best not to miss out Sunday masses. I always try to follow the example of Jesus Christ as a true Christian; however, there are certain circumstances wherein I am bound to make sins. In so doing, I ask for forgiveness through Confession and prayers.
Although as I have said before, my Christian values were passed down to me by my parents, I have realized how this values to be genuine when it had changed my life. As I grew older, the Christian thought have made me aware of the facts that this life is temporary, and since we are in some way in control of our lives, then we must spend it to fulfill our earthly wishes as much as we can.
However, we should not go astray as to damaging others lives or using others as a way in able to accomplish our personal desires and goals. The Christian ethical belief system has taught me not only to believe in the bible but also to enact those lessons. The primary virtues in Christian religion are faith, hope, love, prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. All of which are the virtues that would uphold the Christian way of living to meet the standards that would in able one to live a life with no regrets.
In making decisions, especially those that are moral ones, I often considered the teachings in the bible as my guideline. Basically, I refer to the golden rule as a primary guide of my actions, I would weigh in my decisions based on its effects on other people as well as to me and if I would like such action be done to me in some other instances. This kind of thinking can be connected to the Hindu concept of Karma. What you have done would come back to you in some other form. Most of my ethical decisions are guarded by my concept of evil doings, which is again rooted to the Christian belief system, primarily, those things that contradict the Ten Commandments are wrong doings, and must be avoided.
There are several ethical theories that were formulated in able explain the morality that humans have imposed in their society, or in another sense, morality that were the norms in the society. This theories aim on generalizing ethical actions, looking deeper in its origins and explaining what actions should be counted as good and/or right and what actions should be labeled as bad and/or wrong.
With respect to this, the following are some of the basic or most popular ethical theories: Ethical Relativism, Egoism, Psychological Egoism, Utilitarianism, Deontology, and Virtue Ethics. Ethical relativism pertains to the differences of the concept of morality depending on the culture, traditions or belief systems that a certain community has. Egoism or most prominently, ethical egoism refers to the self-interested action of the individual, however although he acted out of self interest, the individual does so in able to manifest a form of goodness, such that the action would result into something good. Psychological Egoism, on the other hand, strictly pertains to self-interested decisions by the individual, in such case, whatever the individual do; it is always for his interest alone. (Warren)
Utilitarianism is associated with the “happiness principle” which claims that the individual or the whole society should act in order to promote “the greatest happiness”. It also discusses that the way to achieve this is through doing that which has more utility or that which would benefit a great number of people inflicting the longest possible happiness. (Hinman)
Deontology is a duty-bound ethics emphasizing on treating others as “ends”. By so doing, the individual would not “use the person as a way” to achieve his desires or goals. Lastly, Virtue Ethics tells us that everything in life has some “purpose”. In case of men, our purpose is to identify, through the use of human virtues, what one should do in his life. (Hinman)
In all of the above ethical theories, the one which reflects my personal ethical system would be that of deontology and virtue ethics. Deontology because according to this theory- the actions should be based on an internal duty that we have towards other people. It is also an ethical principle which promotes treating other people not as a “means” or as a way of achieving something. It assumes that we are responsible beings and that we are responsible for ourselves and for other people as well. This is the same as the teachings that can be found in the Bible. We are bound to view things as good if it is “universally good”.(Hinman)
Virtue Ethics, on the other hand, discusses the concepts of virtues that are also a key concept in the Christian thought. For one, virtues serve as the guiding principle of man, the virtues that was displayed by Jesus Christ and the other key virtues that were advocated by the teachings of the church works in a like manner as the Virtue Ethics commends. Also the mention of “man living for a purpose” is also a prevalent topic or idea that is present in the Christian belief system, although, there must be differences on the explanation and adaptation of the phrase.
I believe that this ethical system should be the one to guide one’s action because aside from the fact that it is a moral system that is largely popular and renowned, it is also something that can help us in our afterlife. Of course, not everyone believes that such thing exists, thus, it would be my task to offer a more practical argument.
The Christian ethical system provides us with a framework of guidelines that are all promote the welfare of oneself and of other people. It promotes helping those who are in need, not lying, not hurting other people, all of which are generally conceive by the society as “good” actions.
Moreover, there are no Christian virtues which promote bad or evil actions. It denounces “sins”- which are the things that the church and the bible considers evil. It promotes advancement of humanity through cooperation guided by the love of God. The love of God can best be shown through our love of our neighbors which not only can make a peaceful milieu but a more orderly way of life.
Deontology along with Virtue Ethics have best explained the Christian Ethical system which are, in my opinion, would best guide our actions. Personally if we would treat other people as means, setting the Christian view of penalty for sins, we would end up hurting those people around us.
This would make us feel guilty or it would drive people away from us. Since we have no one to count to or if we lose our friends and relatives trust, we may end up being alone and unhappy, with no one to help or protect us. Although they may forgive us from whatever wrong we have done, still things would not be the same as before.
If we reject having a purpose in life, we may end up doing nothing worthwhile, one may even think of suicide especially when life gets too tough. Without a purpose or a goal, our decisions will be meaningless along with our lives. There will be no reason for us to try harder or to become a better person if we won’t believe that our life has a purpose.
In my opinion, having a deontological, virtue based Christian ethical system is the best guide for actions. Having the other persons in mind before doing an act would make the action not only beneficial to others but also to oneself. Looking back on the decisions I have done in the past, I am happy that this was the type of guiding principle that I was brought up, that this was the guide I followed. This type of ethical system does not only make me become a better individual but it also gives me opportunities to share myself to other people and making them share and become part of my life.
Hinman, L. M. (2006). Ethics Update. University of San Diego. Retrieved on August 7, 2007. Retrieved from the World Wide Web: https://ethics.sandiego.edu/
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2007). Virtue Ethics. Retrieved on August 7, 2007. Retrived from the World Wide Web: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/
Warren, M. A. (1997). Moral Status: Obligations to Persons and Other Living Things. Oxford: New York Oxford University Press (UK).