Christian Ethics in History and Modern Life

Christian Ethics in History and Modern Life

Christian Ethics in History and Modern Life

Christian Ethics in History and Modern Life

Excerpt

What is the nature of human satisfaction? Upon what does that satisfaction depend? What are the necessary attitudes and activities of men to attain it? Those, whether explicitly recognized or not, have been the fundamental problems of human life in all ages. They are its central problems today. Men have sought and seek satisfaction in different ways and to some extent have found and find it. Some discontent has always remained and still remains. The fundamental problems have not been completely solved. With reflection on the demands of their nature and how these are to be met, men have endeavoured to form general conceptions of the ideal of human life, and to indicate some of its constituents in detail and the ways to realize them. Taken in its broadest sense the term ethics may be given to the theories thus elaborated. History has been in part a testing by mankind of different conceptions of human well-being, and it has given good grounds for doubt concerning the adequacy of some of them.

Christian ethics is not, and has never been, a closed and static system. It has taken up into itself the fruits of historical experience. Throughout Christian history, it has been a developing whole, bringing into relief new details, modifying relative emphases, and so becoming less and less inadequate and correcting temporary partial exaggerations. In this development are the results of continuous experiments in Christian living and of efforts at intellectual formulation. In its historical continuity, Christian ethics has characterized the main flow of life of Christian peoples during the centuries. It has . . .

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