CHRISTIAN ETHICS

Social Responsibility, Prejudice and Euthanasia

Social Responsibility, Prejudice and Euthanasia

Marriage

religious studiesChristians get married in Church in a ceremony presided over by a vicar, minister or priest. The purpose of marriage is to recognise a relationship in public and in the eyes of God and to build a family life with children. There are wide variations between denominations on the form of marriage ceremony. Protestant weddings tend to be shorter and simpler than the more elaborate Catholic ceremonies.

A couple exchanges marriage vows. These can vary but the best known have been used in England since 1552, ‘To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.’

Divorce

All Christians regard divorce as something to be avoided. Strength of opposition to divorce varies enormously, with more conservative Christians likely to take a harder line against divorce.

religious studiesSince 2002, the Church of England has allowed church marriages where one or more partner is divorced, but only if certain conditions are met. For example, in 2005 Prince Charles was not allowed to marry the divorcee Camilla Parker Bowles in church because his adultery had contributed to the breakdown of his first marriage.

Prejudice and discrimination

Jesus Christ taught that prejudice and discrimination were wrong and went out of his way to associate with social outcasts such as prostitutes and lepers. Most modern Christians believe that racial discrimination and prejudice are wrong. Christians like Archbishop Tutu played a leading part in opposing apartheid in South Africa.

However, some Christians, notably Roman Catholics, discriminate against homosexuals.

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Euthanasia

Most Christians reject euthanasia because they believe that life is a gift from God, and only He has the right to take it. Even when a person wishes to die, only God has the right to fulfil that wish.

While they reject the concept of the right to die, most Christians accept that an individual can refuse aggressive medical treatment as they are not interfering with the course of nature, or God’s will, by doing so.

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