Each and every member of mankind is a moral being attempting to navigate the journey of life engaging in behaviors and patterns of thought, feeling, and action (Fedler, 2006). Each of these elements of life has a moral dimension that are a reflection of one’s chosen path of ethics, or the passive adherence to an ethical framework (Fedler, 2006). Some pull their ethical understanding from a biblical perspective based on the life and example of Jesus of Nazareth, implementing virtues such as the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-26) or guidelines such as those taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7). Others pull their ethical perspective from teachings and writings of other religious faiths such as the Quran or the Book of Mormon, while still others pull from philosophical teachings such as the proverbs of Confucius or the writings of Aristotle and Plato. There is a myriad of sources one can develop an ethical perspective that governs decisions and behaviors.
For Christians who are seeking to strengthen their ethical perspective with elements outside of the scriptures, there are many sources to pull from, but one must remember to use sound biblical interpretation as a foundational starting point to insure the journey stays on course. Too often, particularly with younger generations, the ethics of the Bible are thrown into a stewpot of information and a watered down version is extracted full of misguided, and sometimes conflicting, information (Elmore, 2010).
One quality source for ethical examples is historical events from the past. Studying the behavior and decisions of others in the past allows one to measure against one’s ethical framework derived from scripture and learn the ethical quality of the event. Even philosophies from the event are able to measured against one’s existing biblical framework of ethical behavior.
Elmore, T. (2010). Generation IY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future. Poet Gardener Publishing.
Fedler, K. D. (2006). Exploring Christian Ethics: Biblical Foundations for Morality. Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox Press.