Chapter

<i>Christian Ethics: Traditionalists and Progressives</i>

Basil Mitchell

in Faith and Criticism

Published in print January 1995 | ISBN: 9780198267584
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683312 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198267584.003.0006
Christian Ethics: Traditionalists and Progressives

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The tension between traditionalists and progressives is to be found in the sphere of morals, and it is the cause of much anxiety and distress. The findings of a church report on some question of personal or social ethics are as a rule attacked from both sides. Traditionalists will examine the conclusions closely for indications that the authors have abandoned the traditional absolutes which ought to have guided their thinking. Progressives study the document with equal care to ascertain how far the authors have progressed towards the enlightened solutions which have long been apparent to all unprejudiced observers. Both emphases are necessary and the tension between them is inevitable and salutary, though in practice, all too often, the suspicions which both parties entertain of the other are justified by their actual behaviour. Progressives are seduced by the attractions of secular thought into repudiating the claims of tradition altogether and, in response, traditionalists retreat into simple fundamentalism.

Keywords: traditionalists; progressives; morals; ethics; tradition; fundamentalism

Chapter.  5960 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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