New Morality and The Global Recession

New Morality and The Global Recession

New Morality and the Global Recession

There are key propositions to the New Morality of situation ethics:

(1) Love s the only ethic which has any fixity in a world of change and yet is adaptable to the changing scene; (2) nothing can of itself always be labelled wrong. One cannot say that premarital sex relations, divorce, or even murder are wrong or sinful in themselves, because the only intrinsic evil is lack of love.

People matter, and their welfare is affected by the situations in which they find themselves. The deepest welfare of particular people in particular situations matters more than anything in the world. What is in their best interests is a matter of love, not standards. As Paul Tillich said, "The absoluteness of love is its power to go into the concrete situation, to discover what is demanded by the predicament of the concrete to which it turns."1

The most thoroughgoing exposition of the New Morality is presented by Prof Robert Harty in his book Situation Ethics: The Working Morality. He reasons that there are basically three approaches to making moral decisions: (1) legalism, (2) antinomianism, and (3) situationism.

J Rules and regulations reign in legalism. They are not merely guidelines or maxims; they are directives to be followed. Antinomianism (which literally means "against law") goes to the opposite extreme. Every situation is considered unique and therefore there can be no rules, maxims, or principles.

"One must rely upon the situation of itself, there and then, to provide its ethical solution. Situationism falls between legalism and antinomianism. The situationist has respectful awareness of the ethical maxims of his community and its heritage, but he is prepared "to com-promise them or set them aside in the situation if love seems better served by doing so. Love is the only norm, principle, or law of situation in ethics. All other things are contingent, only valid, if they serve love in the particular decision-making situation.

Thus for the situationist there can be conflicts of goals or ends of the various groups in a situation, but not of values. For him there is only one value: Christian love. It is up to the decision maker to determine which decision best serves the needs of love.


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