The Reformation and Enlightenment

Subject: Law
Type: Reflective Essay
Pages: 6
Word count: 1601
Topics: Morality, Christianity, Enlightenment, Ethics, Love


Almost everyone relates Christianity to morality. Morality is associated with ethical principles and moral choices. This paper derives certain ideas in the texts assigned that have emerged most helpful in formulating a strong yet sensitive form of ethical thinking on account of religion. Other ideas seem farfetched from my understanding of God and the ethical life of a Christian today as well. Both of these ideas will be discussed all through the paper. 

The truth is that we are all rational beings despite our religious beliefs or lack thereof. As such, it is important for all of us to cherish reasoning and intellect in our decisions and the principles we uphold. Christians borrow their ethics from Scriptures, The Holy Spirit, The Gospel Law, and the Natural law. The Scriptures tend to be by-passed by time. As many would argue, they are new every day as recorded in the Bible. However, the truth is that in an era of diverse Science, the internet, and social media, the Scriptures may not present a reliable source for ethical thinking and consequently, ethical decisions. Not unless a modern Bible with modern issues was to be written. Nonetheless, this is not to deny the influence the Bible holds in the articulation of ethical principles. It only means that the scripture requires support to benefit the subject in decision making. Such support would be The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is reliable and present, thus not bypassed by time. However, it is difficult for many Christians to differentiate The Holy Spirit from their conscience. The Gospel law would be a good source for the attainment of ethical thinking if only the law exercised human freedom. The law sets down instructions on how the typical Christian is expected to live. As articulated above, we are all rational beings who need a sense of freedom to think and make decisions. Human beings have been in existence for the longest time. The natural law is another source of Christian ethics. It builds in the human being a natural inclination to do well and attain moral success. For the law to work at its best, one must allow some room for criticism of the aspect of opposition between nature and freedom. It is thus an indecisive law that might require strenuous reasoning.

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All these methods are detailed sources of Christian ethics. They serve to prove that the Christian family has a set of ethical principles that generate from the sources above. Nevertheless, to reason, one not only needs to have the ethics but also, the use of his mind to come up with ideas in the light of the situation. Others would say that the ethics originated from Jesus. However, some of the people lack an understanding of who Jesus is with authors, such as Niebuhr providing an unreliable definition of Jesus. Therefore, it is not proper for one to only rely on the above sources, but also, one should exercise the use of his or her mind as well as the understanding of the above sources. After all, the ethical decisions a Christian makes will affect both Christians and the non-Christians.

By analyzing the texts, it was clear that ethical reasoning demands both sensitivity and freedom to think. Therefore, I came up with two main ideas that would serve as a stepping stone to ethical autonomy on the basis of logical and religious reasoning: Categorical imperative and Faith.

Ethical decisions are evident in how one relates with another human being. To relate fully a Christian must employ both logical and religious reasoning.

Categorical imperative

Moral reasoning is imperative to all of us despite the religious background. It is not a choice, but rather it is a must. All of us are logical beings and should be treated equally. Cognitive imperative should be looked into by mainly the following three formulations. 

  • What one does should be something that the subject could desire others to do. For example, one should only lie if she would desire everyone to always lie.
  • The decisions one would attain should aim to use man as an end and not as a means to achieve what one requires. For example, the thinking subject should not take advantage of any human being as in a case of a slave. Not unless the human being has agreed to work freely in the service of the thinking subject, for instance, in the case of a bartender and a customer. The bartender has agreed to serve the customer freely, and thus it is accepted.
  • The decisions should ensure that the reasoning subject serves as an example to others. It borrows from the first concept that explains that what a reasoning subject sets out to do should be a calculated desire for others to do the same.

By employing this idea in one’s reasoning, the subject will manage to formulate his or her ethical thinking process. However, it is equally important to understand human beings as not only rational beings but also, as godly beings. In that, they were created by God. As godly beings, it is not enough for the subject to reason as a Philosopher. He or she is required to understand that not every aspect he or she views as a universal law should be regarded as such. For example, the subject is a convicted believer of the use of plastic surgery to improve one’s looks. Therefore, by the first formulation of the categorical imperative, he or she believes, for example, that everyone should use plastic surgery to enhance their looks always if they so desire. However, this should not be the case. Some limitations are associated with this freedom. Firstly, the cost is outrageous. The formulation will allow the person, who cannot afford the surgery, to steal the money or formulate a fraudulent way to achieve the same. Secondly, the skin therapy treatment might be dangerous to other skin types. Just because the subject went ahead and achieved his or her desired look, he or she might be tempted to advocate for the same for the others who desire it regardless of the danger they put themselves into. With this attitude, the subject will have overlooked the sacredness of human life, which states that the purpose of man in this life is to attain perfect autonomy. The reasoning is deficient in this way. Therefore, it is important to support it with an aspect that sees human beings as they are; beings that require love and compassion.


The life of a Christian is wholly based on the belief and faith of the believer.  He or she is expected to have faith in Christ for Christ and not for any selfish desires. The strength associated with faith in times of tribulations is unexplainable to those who have not experienced faith. The religion calls for the faith in a Christ that is only available in the Scriptures that were written long before man came to existence. The whole religion beats any reasoning. However, total submission to the faith brings an innate wisdom such as that of the Martyr Michael Sattler who saw no religious profit associated with the baptismal of the young. Furthermore, faith in Christianity will expound on love for fellow human beings and the understanding of their decisions and choices. This connects to one’s ethical reasoning functionalities. Moreover, it is surprising that faith in Christianity creates a feeling of self-love which is evident with the Amish who spend their lifetime working in the barns, without makeup or good nails and still appreciate themselves.

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Aspect in Christianity that is against my believe in Christianity

In a religious system that all the members worship the same being, it baffles many how other members would turn on one of their own. Perhaps the story of the martyr mentioned above is long forgotten. However, the effects of the murder still haunt many non-believers in their view for joining Christianity. Christians should be on the front row in love and support for their new members. They should advocate for constructive changes in their beliefs and law system. Most importantly, they should not appear to support the commandments and yet break them by killing one of their own. The martyr died a very painful death. His tongue was amputated, followed by his body parts, and finally, he was burnt to death. All the while he prayed for forgiveness for his enemies. All the Christians can exempt themselves from blame by saying the incident happened under their forefather’s reign. Nevertheless, Christianity has not changed much over the years. It is still not a homely place for new believers especially those who have been known to have succeeded in the secular world prior to salvation. The individual who seeks comfort in the house of God might receive ridicule in its place all in the name of profanity. Physical death is much preferable than slow continuous spiritual death. It is a death that drains the individual off any love, joy, and desire to not only be in church but also, be around people. A question is raised about such believers. Are they truly born again? A question that was also asked the Amish believers who responded that they live in a state of hope and rather not a self-professed “am born again.”


The teachings of God are those of true love, acceptance, and support. They are not the ones that seek to prove who is more righteous than the other. God is love; all the Christians are born out of this love. Ultimately, they are love too. It is the time that Christianity embraced this commandment.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Discern4Media. “Meet the Amish 1 of 4 – First experience on an aeroplane”. Filmed [Sep 2, 2012]. YouTube video, 49 min. Posted [May 2013].
  2. Forell, George, and Childs, James, 2ed. Christian Social Teachings: A Reader in Christian Social Ethics from the Bible to the Present. Minnesota: Fortress Press, 2012, pp 105-139.
  3. Gushee, David. The Sacredness of Human Life: Why an Ancient Biblical Vision Is Key to the World’s Future. Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2013. pp 214-259.
  4. Kant, Immanuel. The metaphysics of morals. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.pp 89-107.
  5. Kraybill, Donald, Nolt, Steven, and Weaver-Zercher, David. The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World. Hoboken: Wiley, 2010. pp. 39-54.
  6. Niebuhr, Richard. Christ, and Culture (Torchbooks):12. Christ and Culture and God and Nature. New York: Harper & Row, 1985.pp 1-9.
  7. Pickaers, Servais-Théodore. Sources of Christian Ethics. Lanham: Bloomsbury Academic: The University of America Press, 1995. pp. 240-297.
  8. Williams, George, Mergal, Angel. Spiritual and Anabaptist Writers (Library of Christian Classics). Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press,1957. pp 136-145.
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