What is the nature of God? Does God make arbitrary rules just to see if we will obey? Does God make rules that He knows will lead to our happiness?

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2 What is the nature of God? Does God make arbitrary rules just to see if we will obey? Does God make rules that He knows will lead to our happiness? If the latter statement is true, doesn t it make sense God would want us to use our God-given reason to look at the situation? Utilitarianism plays fast and loose with God s commandments. If lying, stealing, or killing could lead to an increase of happiness for the greatest number, we are told we should lie, steal or kill. Isn t that a rejection of God s commands? If it be a true belief that God desires, above all things, the happiness of his creatures, and that this was his purpose in their creation, utility is not a godless doctrine. MILL

3 Based on the general good of others takes a set of absolute laws and applies them universally just as the 10 commandments from Exodus 20:1-17. Act utilitarianism is a more selfish philosophy as it is based on the good of those immediately affected by an action and not the general good 'of mankind.

4 Natural Law is an example of a Christian absolutist approach to ethics. According to Natural Law theorists (the ethical approach adopted by the Roman Catholic Church), actions are intrinsically right or wrong deontological and not consequential: the means do not justify the end. Natural Law deals with a love on an individual basis rather than a collective good. The God of the Bible is portrayed as a personal God not the God of Situation Ethics who is concerned with the greater good of society or the sacrifice of the few for the sake of the majority.

5 A classic example of the clash between Utilitarianism and Natural Law: The introduction of the Rubella Vaccine in October 94 when two Roman Catholic schools rejected it on the basis that it was developed from a dead foetus (an intrinsic wrong) Utilitarianism would justify the vaccine on the basis of its beneficial consequences Natural Law would refuse to benefit from the consequences of an evil action.

6 According to Christian ethics, real happiness comes through service to others; turning the other cheek and forgiving unto seventy times seven times. This is not the kind of happiness that can be measured in Utilitarian terms. Whether you accept the combination of Christian ethics with Utilitarianism depends which side of the fence you sit on. Christianity can either be: Absolute ten commandments, natural law Relative love your neighbour and situation ethics. Utilitarianism says that humans are instrumental. They can be used as a means to an end. Christianity humans have an intrinsic quality and therefore they cannot be used for a purpose.

7 In support (utilitarianism is NOT compatible) 1. Some decisions go against a religious moral code like the 10 commandments which is a moral absolute. (i.e.. Do not steal, Do not kill). 2. Religion looks to a higher source.. God. Theists regard their conscience as the voice of God. Utilitarians do not look to God when making decisions. 3. Utilitarians use people as a means to an end.. The greatest happiness of the greatest number.. This may deny the minority with their God given rights e.g. freedom if they are a slave or persecuted or abused. 4. Utilitarianism can be very selfish as you are only thinking about the majority! Christianity teaches us to love our neighbour our neighbour being EVERYONE!!! Show AGAPE.. Unconditional love to everyone. 5. Utilitarianism is about AVOIDING pain and aiming for the greatest happiness. Christianity regards pain as a test of faith! Jesus suffered on the cross! Suffering is what makes us human. 6. According to Christian ethics, real happiness comes through service to others; turning the other cheek and forgiving unto seventy times seven times. This is not the kind of happiness that can be measured in Utilitarian terms.

8 Against (Utilitarianism is compatible with Christianity.) 1. Bentham and Mill both looked to reform C19th society. Improving people s lives and maximising welfare! Greatest happiness of the greatest number. A believer also wants to rid the world of pain and suffering and give to charities. They may also be pro euthanasia out of AGAPE love for their neighbour. 2. The sacrifice of one (minority) may be compatible with religion. Jesus sacrificed his life and suffered pain for many to be happy and have eternal life. 3. Religions look beyond this world they are teleological and have an eternal goal. Not quite the same teleological as utilitarians who look to consequences in this life! If it be a true belief that God desires, above all things, the happiness of his creatures, and that this was his purpose in their creation, utility is not a godless doctrine. MILL Doesn t it make sense God would want us to use our God-given reason to look at the situation?

9 Alasdair MacIntyre ( ) MacIntyre notes that Utilitarianism can JUSTIFY horrendous acts such as the holocaust. The Nazi s (majority) persecuted the Jews (minority) Justifying that Jewish extermination was for the greatest good. MacIntyre says that focusing upon happiness is the CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM. How great a price is being paid for happiness? Perhaps the pursuit of JUSTICE is as important as the pursuit of happiness. Justice is a key theme in the Old testament (part of the Bible.) Amos 5:24 Good News Translation (GNT) 24 Instead, let justice flow like a stream, and righteousness like a river that never goes dry.

10 Situation Ethics is relativist in its approach to morality since it is based on the single maxim, agape love. It can be used as an example of a Christian relativist approach because Fletcher intended it to be adopted by the Christian church; the Roman Catholic Church rejected it but the Methodist Church embraced it. Thus Situation Ethics it has been dubbed Christian Utilitarianism. Joseph Fletcher: justice is love distributed Justice is concerned with the greatest good of society and takes humans into account collectively. Fletcher comments that this is the same as Bentham and Mill s principle of utility replacing good with agape. The greatest agape for the greatest number Fletcher argues: the hedonistic calculus becomes the agapeistic calculus

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