Saturday, May 12, 2007

Relational Ethics Part 2

Ethos Breeds Character
It is fitting to note that our English word for ethics originally derives from the Greek word ethos. This term literally means character. It is rightfully said that one’s ethos, or “habits”, leads to right character. One of the goals of the New Testament writers was to grow and nurture “communities of character” grounded in the reality of Christ. As Wayne A. Meeks states, “Groups as well as individuals have character. Character signifies identity, and it implies specifically moral character. Character takes shape, moreover, within a social process.” We know that the people of the New Testament were deeply concerned with living moral upstanding lives. Philippians 4:8 states, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Here, we find Paul encouraging the brothers and sisters in Philippi to set their minds on things that are pure for the purpose of living their lives in such a manner. Clifford Geertz tells us that, “A people’s ethos is the tone, character, and quality of their life, its moral and aesthetic style and mood; it is the underlying attitude toward themselves and their world that life reflects. Their world view is their picture of the way things in sheer actuality are, their concept of nature, of self, of society.” The question we must first answer is what type of ethics were the early Christians using? Was it “top down ethics” or “bottom up ethics?”

I guess the question is in your second line, what defines "right" character? I think thats the hinge that the whole postmodern deal swings on. nice work. i'm glad I can attend seminary vicariously through you.
see my blog
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