New Resource on Radical Christian Ethics

Sally Paddock is a theology student at Boston University. In this curriculum, she presents a creative and useful examination of Christian ethics in liberal-evangelical perspective. While it is written for high-schoolers, Paddock’s curriculum is thoroughly accessible and suitable for readers and learners of all backgrounds. She articulately examines what role the Bible should play in determining what Christian ethics are while also providing the tools to understand our own moral intuitions, and how they color each person’s interpretation of the Bible.

Paddock concludes that there are several ways to be an authentic disciple of Christ in the 21st century. The two extremes are using the Bible as a guide to life, and using moral intuition to determine what is right and wrong. On their own, however, both extreme approaches fall short. The Bible is “complicated business” and often contradictory on moral questions. Our moral instincts, however, are bound to be flawed. Combining the two approaches does not make for an easy solution, but it is better than the alternatives.

Therefore, Paddock argues, we should take the Bible seriously (as opposed to literally) in our interpretation of Christian ethics in the 21st century, and use it to inform ethical decisions on issues that never existed 2000 years ago.

Paddock poses questions about Jonathan Haidt’s Five Categories of Moral Intuition to allow each of us to determine where our own intuitive values influence our interpretations of the scriptures. She also presents several examples to allow us to examine how moral intuition and the Bible interact with each other in determining the ways we decide what is right and wrong.

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