Christian Ethics - Lesson 4

The Virtue Ethic and Agapism

In this lesson, the focus is on the system of ethics that focuses on virtue, which is a theory of ethics that has been around for a long time but has not received much treatment in the literature until recently. Plato and Aristotle introduced the four cardinal virtues, which are temperance, wisdom, justice, and courage. In the writings of Paul Homer and Robert Roberts, there is a claim that a proper Christian ethic will minimize the significance of consequences, play down the role of duty, and draw attention to the kinds of character that we ought to possess. The aim is to be the right kind of person so that we can do the right kinds of things. The difference between the cardinal and theological virtues is that the theological virtues are open only to believers. Proper faith, hope, and love are virtues that are possible only for believers. Aristotle defines moral virtue as a disposition to observe the mean. C.S. Lewis's book "Christianity" provides an interesting and informative treatment of the Four Cardinal Virtues and the Three Theological Virtues.

Ronald Nash
Christian Ethics
Lesson 4
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The Virtue Ethic and Agapism

Philosophical Ethics

Part 3

III. The Virtue Ethic

A. Modern Proponents

1. Robert Roberts

2. Paul Holmer

B. Plato

1. Four cardinal virtues

2. The properly virtuous human being

3. Plato's emphasis

C. C. S. Lewis

D. Thomas Aquinas' Three Theological Virtues

E. Cardinal Virtues vs. Theological Virtues

F. Aristotle's Moral Virtues

1. A moral virtue is a disposition.

2. The golden mean

3. Humans are prone to vice.

4. Some behavior is always wrong.

5. Criticism of Aristotle

a. Does not account for original sin

b. Does not account for the supernatural dimension


IV. Agapism

A. William Frankena

B. What is agapism?

C. Act Agapism

1. Love is the guiding principle.

2. Act agapism is situational ethics.

3. Criticism of act agapism

a. The notion of love is ambiguous.

b. It does not account for human depravity.

c. Love needs guidance.

D. Rule Agapism

1. It functions within a set of rules.

2. Love provides the justification for the rules.


V. Synthesis of the Four Schools of Thought

A. Love is the foundation for rules.

B. The moral life will develop virtues.

C. Scripture lists the important traits of character.

D. Rules are important.

E. Consequences should not be ignored.

  • Gain insights into philosophical ethics and Christian responses, and the Christian role in society regarding the state, justice, economics, and education.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Nash introduces you to the concept of hedonism, which is an example of a consequentialist ethic. He reviews non-hedonistic consequentialist philosophies, psychological hedonism, and ethical hedonism.
  • This lesson introduces you to the theory of deontological ethics and Emmanuel Conte. You will learn that the deontological ethic judges morality by examining the nature of actions and the will of agents rather than goals achieved.
  • In this lesson you will learn about the system of ethics that focuses on virtue and introduces the Four Cardinal Virtues, which are temperance, wisdom, justice, and courage, and emphasizes the importance of being the right kind of person who possesses the traits of character, and C.S. Lewis's book "Christianity" provides an informative treatment of the Four Cardinal Virtues and the Three Theological Virtues.
  • You will gain insight into C.S. Lewis's views on Christian ethics and the morality analogy he presents, where morality is like a fleet of ships that must fulfill three conditions to succeed: every ship must run properly, the relations between ships must be proper and orderly, and the fleet must head to the right destination.
  • You will learn about the importance of distinguishing between society and the state. Society is a voluntary organization of people, while the state is the group of people who claim a monopoly on the use of coercive force within a geographic boundary. By understanding this difference, you can prevent the government from interfering with your voluntary associations.
  • You will gain an understanding of how the professor's theory of the state in Social Justice in the Christian Church aligns with the New Testament. He explains that the state is a God-ordained institution to check against sin, and he is a moderate anti-statist who recognizes the need for government but also the inherent evil in any concentration of human power. The New Testament recognizes constraints upon governmental power, and Revelation 13 is an example of how the state can symbolize anti-Christian government. The lesson also discusses the concept of justice and how it is often invoked without a clear understanding, suggesting that Christians should study ancient Greece for a better comprehension of the term.
  • In this lesson, you will gain insight into the evangelical civil war that happened 20 years ago, learn about its early stages recorded by Clark Penick, understand the harmful effects of left-wing evangelicalism, and see how many evangelicals on the left became enamored with their own self-virtue in what they thought was a crusade to help the poor.
  • By studying this lesson, you will gain insight into the major differences between capitalism, socialism, and interventionism. You will learn that interventionism is often responsible for economic crises that are attributed to capitalism. You will also learn about the overlapping and continuum nature of economic systems and the gray area where an economic system may be viewed as socialism or interventionism.
  • This lesson discusses the decline of old liberation theology and how some of its proponents are now advocating for capitalism and democracy as being what the poor of the third world need, and presents shocking quotations from individuals characterized as evangelical, such as Jose Marquez Bonino, who promotes Marxism and praises tyrants like Castro and Mao Tse tung, as well as material about the three major kinds of Marxism that have existed in the world.
  • This lesson will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of interventionism and its role in the Great Depression, including the fact that blaming capitalism for the depression is based on four myths, and that interventionism actually deepens recessions by disguising the information produced by a market economy.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain an understanding of the crisis facing American education, as highlighted by Alan Blum's book The Closing of the American Heart and the author's complementary book. The focus is on the importance of values, standards, and morality in education, and the need to reopen the American heart to reopen the American mind. The lesson introduces the three kinds of illiteracy currently affecting Americans at every level of the educational process, with a particular emphasis on functional illiteracy, which refers to the inability to read, write, or use numbers well enough to get along in society.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about the incompetency of public school teachers in America, caused by academically weak students being attracted to the profession, lack of content courses in their college curriculum, unimpressive and radical left-winged professional educationists, and the National Education Association being an enemy of America's young people, with four essential steps to improve education, including getting a clear focus on the educational role of the family, increasing local control of education, changing the curriculum to prepare students for life after school, and changing teacher education programs.
  • Gain knowledge of the difference between the biblical ethic and other philosophical systems. Though it may seem simple, it is an underlying system that can lead to complex issues. The divinely revealed scriptures are the starting point for moral reflection, but not a ready-made answer. Some New Testament commandments are archaic or obsolete, and many modern moral problems are not discussed in the Bible.
  • You will gain insight into the pro-life stance and be equipped to inform others. Christians need not be timid about talking about these issues.
  • This lesson explores the arguments and counterarguments surrounding abortion, arguing for caution and conservatism in ending any life, emphasizing the need to balance the right of the mother with the rights of the infant, and briefly touching on the issue of rape and how it complicates the matter.
  • As you go through the lesson, you will learn about infanticide and euthanasia, and how the disrespect for unborn human life has led to an increase in cases of infanticide, along with some suggestions for what Christians should do in the case of children born with life-threatening handicaps.
  • In this lesson, you will explore the five major passages of Scripture related to homosexuality, including different interpretations of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and concludes that the Bible clearly condemns homosexual activity.
  • This lesson explores the topic of capital punishment in the context of Christian beliefs, arguing for consistency and emphasizing the need to view Old Testament laws in the context of specific situations that are no longer applicable.
  • This lesson discusses the three approaches to war and peace and distinguishes between principled pacifists and hypocritical, unprincipled pacifists, who are members of the political left and denounce American military actions but support violent revolutionary organizations.
  • You will gain an understanding of the growing issue of divorce and remarriage within the church, the responsibilities of Christian leaders in addressing it, and the need for Christians to think through what the Scripture teaches on these matters and formulate principles that will guide their thinking and conduct.
  • This lesson provides insight into how responsible Christians can make ethical decisions about birth control, considering the importance of intention, distinguishing between ethically acceptable and unacceptable forms of birth control, and emphasizing the importance of wise and careful means in achieving family planning goals.

Theoretical and theological basis for Christians  living an ethical life.

Dr. Ronald Nash

Christian Ethics


The Virtue Ethic and Agapism

Lesson Transcript


Let's go on to a third system of ethics. We've looked at consequential ism. We've looked at D ontology. Now let's look at a system of ethics that has actually been around longer than any of the two systems we've looked at, but it has never really received much separate treatment in the literature until recently. It is a theory of ethics that focuses on virtue. Now, be frank, when I was going to graduate school, we were we were only presented with two options. Either you were a consequentialist or you were a formalist. Why can't. If you study the literature on this third option, you'll find that the literature has has been coming out with special attention on virtue as a basic approach to ethics only in the last 20 or 30 years. What are some of the modern people who've been stressing? This former colleague of mine named Robert Roberts has written a lot on this. In his case, he got it at Yale University from Paul Homer for Homer was a man who did not publish a whole lot during his years as a professor at Yale. But he certainly influenced many hundreds of students in his courses at Yale. This position goes all the way back to Plato and Aristotle. That's why it's so incredible that it's only begun to get a kind of separate treatment in the last 20 or 30 years. Let's take Plato, for example. In his great book, The Republic, Plato talks, introduces, for the first time in the history of philosophy, introduces the four cardinal virtues. The four cardinal virtues were temperance, wisdom, justice and courage. Four Cardinal virtues. Plato says these are the major characteristics of a properly virtuous human being. Properly virtuous human being will possess these four virtues in the proper balance, proper proportion. Now, notice what's different here from what we've noticed so far. Plato's emphasis in his republic was not on the consequences of your behavior. Nor was Plato's emphasis in the Republic upon the moral law or the moral duties that should govern our life. Plato's whole emphasis was upon the kinds of the kind of person we should be. The kinds of dispositions we should possess, the traits of character. Now, what you see in the writings of Paul Homer and Robert Roberts and some of the other virtue ethicists of the last two decades is a claim that a proper Christian ethic will minimize the significance. The consequences will play down the role of duty and will draw our attention to the kinds of character that we ought to the traits of character that ought to be present in our lives. What kind of human being are you? If you are the right kind of person, then you will do the right kinds of things you see. Now, what we see in the at the hands of these Christian virtuous is an attempt to bridge the gaps that may have existed among some of these earlier positions. If you follow my advice and read the first half of C.S. Lewis Christianity, you will find, I think, a very interesting and a very informative treatment from a Christian perspective of the four Cardinal Virtues. I'm not going to go into any detail on them. Incidentally, some of you know that in addition to the four cardinal virtues, the Middle Ages added to these, the three theological virtues. And what were the three theological virtues? Faith, hope and charity. Faith, hope and love. The difference this is in the Middle Ages, in the work of Thomas Aquinas, for example, the difference between a cardinal virtue and a theological virtue is, among other things, this pagans, non-Christians, nonbelievers may achieve the cardinal virtue. And so you can have a courageous pagan, you can have a wise pagan, you're going to have a just pagan. But the theological virtues are open only to believers, proper faith, proper hope, proper love is a virtue that is possible only for believers. Again, C.S. Lewis can give you. He not only has chapters on the Four Cardinal Virtues, he has chapters on the Three theological Virtues. Well, anyway, in the middle of his book on ethics, Aristotle begins to talk about what he calls moral virtues. And let me give you his definition of a moral virtue. He says a moral virtue is a disposition to observe the mean, and I'll put in quotation and be in parentheses here the the word golden. A moral virtue is a disposition to observe some mean relative to us. Now, let me explain this definition and then give you some examples. The first thing to notice is a moral virtue is a disposition. A disposition is a tendency to behave in a repeated way. It's a trait of character. We have certain we have a number of words in our language that we that we use to describe dispositions. Irritability is a dispositional word. Now, if a friend of yours is irritable, does it mean that he is crabby and cranky every single moment of the day? I hope not. Why would he be your friend if he's like that? No. People who are irritable are not crabby and cranky every single moment. They get crabby and cranky and irritable only when you place them in certain circumstances. Then that disposition that was there all along raises its ugly head, good humored people. That's another disposition. Does it mean that they're giggling and silly all the time? I hope not. We often put people like that away. All right. But good humored people are people whom, all things being equal, are going to be happy, who are going to make people around them happy. All right. These are disposition. A disposition is a trait of character, which marks the way in which we typically behave. All things being equal. Now, of course, my dispositions by this time are well known to you. I am pleasant, good humored, happy, benevolent. You know me. These are the dispositions that everybody associates with me, except those people who know me the best. All right. Next thing, a moral virtue is a disposition to observe what Aristotle calls the golden mean. Here's what Aristotle observed. When it comes to moral virtues, there is always some vice that occurs when you have too much of this thing. And another vice that occurs when you have too little of it. A proper moral virtue is always a tendency to behave in a way that avoids having too much or too little. Now, let me give you some examples of what I'm doing here. Is drawing on the board a kind of chart in which we have here. We have the golden mean, and here we have the excess and here we have the defect. All right. Now, let's give you several examples of how moral virtues are a mean between two extremes. Take the matter of courage, for example. Aristotle would agree that courage is a virtue, but all too often courage, proper courage is confused with other behavior that is not virtuous, which is in fact, vicious. Take, for example, some character played by Sylvester Stallone in a movie. And let's say that he's in a foxhole in Vietnam and there are 100 Viet Cong advancing on his foxhole. And what Sylvester Stallone is, he gets a big machine gun. All right, takes and weighs £200. You get the picture, his long hair, a Rambo or whatever. He jumps up on top of the foxhole and he says, Come on, you dirty guys, come and get me. All right. And he start blasting away with his machine gun. Aristotle would say, that is not courage, that is stupidity. And it is all right. Proper courage, Aristotle would say, always has a little bit of fear mixed in with it. And so the properly courageous person think now with me, for example, here's Sylvester Stallone on top the foxhole, and I'm saying, Sly, get down, get down, get down. They might lob something in here. Get down, you're dummy. So what do I do? See, I, I first of all, I put my steel helmet on. All right, Then I put my head over the top and I bang, bang, bang away, and then I duck. That's courage. So what we have here is rashness. That's what characterizes Rambo. He's not courage. Courageous. He's rash. That's that's the excess. The defect, of course, would be coward. Does cowardice is where the other The third guy says you two guys are doing such a good job. I'm going to go back to the back lines and nominate you guys for our medal. See? All right. Now, let me give you another example with regard to the pleasures of the body. The proper virtue is temperance, which means self-control. But there is a vice that a name we apply to the defect here. We could call it insensibility, which would obtain in any case, when the person can't experience the appropriate pleasure at all. And of course, the excess would be profligacy. Here's the here's the person who gives himself over entirely to the pursuit of this pleasure. He doesn't let a waking moment go by that he isn't pursuing this pleasure. So temperance is a mean between profligacy over doing it in the pursuit of this pleasure and insensibility, which is the inability to experience this pleasure at all. Now, I'll give you just a couple of other examples. Let's take the matter of amusing people. The proper virtue is wittiness. Being properly witty, the the vice that comes from not having enough of this is boorish nuts. Have you ever spent an evening with a boorish person? A foretaste of hell? Isn't it just horrible? We're trying to be polite and everything else, and this guy just boring you to death. But then, of course. Then, of course, we have the excess, which would be buffoonery. A guy who just makes a fool out of himself. So a moral virtue is a disposition to observe the golden mean relative to us. Now, what Aristotle points out there is that every human being is different and all of us are prone to voice in one direction or another. There are some people who have to fight against being a buffoon. There are other people who have to fight against being boorish and show you what constitutes proper wittiness or proper friendliness or proper courage will differ from person to person. Rambo is prone to irrational, right? I'm prone in the other direction. So whatever the mean will be will be different for Rambo than it is for me. He needs a little more fear than he's got, however. Now let's notice this. Aristotle then says, and this is important, there are some kinds of behavior that are always wrong. There are some kinds of behavior for which there is no golden mean. The words describe something that is wrong. And interestingly enough, one of Aristotle's examples was adultery. But when it comes to adultery, you don't try to find out what is the right number of women with whom to commit adultery or I know it's always wrong. Aristotle said, well, thank you, where a style startled any Christian can appreciate that. Thank you. That's pretty good. It's always wrong. There are no for lying. There's no golden moon mean no golden moon, no golden mean when it comes to lie. How much should I lie? Just a little bit. Or a whole lot? No, it's always wrong to lie. Okay. Now, I've agreed with a lot that Aristotle has said. Now, I'm not sure whether I can agree any further, because now the question becomes how do we acquire these virtues? And here is the Aristotelian answer. And in fact, my friends, this is also the Roman Catholic answer, because Roman Catholic ethics owes a great deal to Aristotle's influence. Aristotle said we acquired these virtues through habit by repeating certain kinds of behavior again and again. That's how you develop a disposition by habit. And so if you build the wrong kinds of habits, you're going to you're going to have a life that's full of vice. If you develop the right kinds of habits, you will acquire the proper virtues, the proper dispositions. Now, there is some truth to this. I think we'd be foolish to try to reject everything here. It is certainly true that the more you and I repeat bad kinds of behavior, the easier it is to repeat those bad kinds of behavior in the future. What what's missing in this purely Aristotelian analysis of how to acquire a proper moral virtue? What else needs to be said here beyond simply saying, if you're missing certain virtues, then you just find a new way to behave. And after a while you build up that character. What's missing? Original Sin. The fact that this position is far too optimistic about the control that human beings have over their habits. But there's still another problem. I'm going to give you a list of virtues from the New Testament. All right. Try these on for size, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, kindness and what goes on from there? Yeah, Well, well, whatever you say. I need a rabbi. Don't give me any trouble here. Lovejoy. Peace. Long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith and sweetness. Temperance are such. There is no law against which there is no law. But what's that text in Galatians have to say about the acquisition of those virtues? They are fruits of the spirit. There's a supernatural element that must go into the proper acquisition of those virtues. Is it not the case that Paul teaches and Galatians that if if God himself isn't inculcating those virtues in you, you're never going to get them? There's a supernatural dimension to it. And so you can go through the whole of your life saying, Oh, I want to look, I want to live my life in a loving way. But you're never going to succeed in developing that virtue on your own. We have one more theory to examine, and then we'll be through with this brief review of secular speculative ethics. So as we have as we have presented our criticisms of hedonism and utilitarianism and communism and now the virtue position we have, we have recognized moments of truth in these theories. We didn't recognize any moments of truth in serum, a system that was the view that we eat, drink, and that there is no hope for that view. But there certainly are moments of truth and epicureanism moments of truth and conscious position. We certainly do believe that the moral law is the same for all human beings. That's important stuff. We believe that pleasure has its place in in the redeemed life. In fact, what what will characterize our final state with the Lord is, is that the true quality of pleasure for which we were really created, what some people call the beatific vision, if that's if that has a place in a reformed view of the moral life. Well, now we're ready to talk about the fourth position. And here again, this is a view that has not received a whole lot of attention. In fact, it has only up until 30 years ago, I guess it hadn't been discussed in any secular ethics book. And even today, the only book that I know about in which you'll find this view presented is a book called Ethics, published by Prentice Hall and authored by William Francona. When I was in graduate school in the early 19. Sixties, The consensus seemed to be that William Franklin was the was the America's most respected ethicist. In fact, when Prentiss Hall came out with a series of short textbooks for various branches of philosophy, William Francona, who was professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan, was asked to do the book on ethics, which I guess sort of reinforced his reputation as the most respected ethicist in the country. I must confess, I don't know whether Frank is still alive or not. He is retired from the University of Michigan. What I discovered many years later was that Frank and I was a graduate of a Christian college. He was a member of the Christian Reformed Church. He graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He succeeded pretty well in keeping what Christian convictions He had rather quiet. But that wasn't too unusual for I must I must not be too harsh on William Frank and other work. Even if you go back 30, 40 years ago, it turns out that there were a number of major American philosophers who were sympathetic to Christianity, but who kept it pretty much to themselves. Today, the situation is different in the sense that we have a society of Christian philosophers that has over a thousand members, and there are many Christian philosophers active in philosophy departments around the country who are very vocal in letting people in in philosophizing in a Christian way. I finally had an occasion to spend an evening with William Frank and some other Dutch Christians in the Calvin College setting in a party on Lake Michigan many years later and got to know the guy. A very interesting person. You could do worse than read Frank in his book, remembering, of course, that he wrote it as a secular text for secular universities, for secular courses in moral philosophy. But in the course of his examining the various schools of thought that are open to people interested in the moral life. Frank cannot develop his own approach to ethics, which is the fourth approach that I want to acquaint you with. He called it a gap ism. Again, philosophers love to coin horrible words, but all of you budding theologians and students of Greek will see immediately what he's getting at. And that is what what would be an Agape Ist school of ethics, one that emphasizes moral. Hey. Well, right now we're. Well, let me warn you not to get too excited about a guy who. All right. This is going to be a moral for a moral or an ethical system based upon law. Now, the first thing Frank did was distinguish two kinds of agape ism. Here we go again. This is what these philosophers do. He called the first kind act agape ism. Mm hmm. And the second kind rule agape ism. Here we go. Now, I'm going to characterize act agape ism for you, and I want to see who of you are sharp enough and informed enough to know how to react to this. Let me assume for the next few minutes the mantle of act a gap ism. Here it is. Active gap ism, ladies and gentlemen. Makes love the most important thing in life. It makes love the most important thing in morality. But because it's act a gap ism, it says that every individual act should be decided on the basis of what the loving thing is to do in that situation. All right. There. In other words, ladies and gentlemen, because we are act agape tests, there are no rules other than the rule to love. Don't come to me with any moral laws or moral commandments about what we should. All you have to do is one. Actually ask yourself, What would I do in this case? What does love require of me in this case? And do it and don't get messed up by any other rules or laws. Back to Garp ism is just a fancy name for situational ethics. Situational ethics. Somebody named the Episcopalian theologian who was the father of situational ethics. Joseph Fletcher. Joe Fletcher, who when he first started down this road, was a professor of ethics at the Episcopal Divinity School in Massachusetts when he died just a few weeks ago. Joseph Fletcher, I believe, no longer profess to be a Christian. I may be mistaken on that, but his relationship to Christianity grew more increasingly more tenuous over the decades. What was situational ethics? It was Joe Fletcher's baby 30 years ago, 40 years ago. I guess he started in the fifties in which he said the proper moral life of a Christian is not a life that is lived under law. Ignore all of these commandments in the Bible and simply ask yourself in this situation, what is the loving thing to do? And if any of you know the details of situational ethics, you will know that Joseph Fletcher did not blush to suggest that in certain circumstances, love might manifest itself in acts of fornication. And acts that would be unkind and acts that would clearly violate specific commandments of the Bible. Because you see, there are no rules. There are no commands. You are on your own and you find for yourself the loving thing to do. Back in the fifties, there was a cartoon in Christianity Today. The loss of these cartoons from T has been one of the great reasons for the magazine's decline. But in this particular in this fact, I still I have them in my in my bookcase outside my office. I've saved all these cartoons. Here's a teenage boy and a teenage girl in the back of a convertible at a drive in movie. And they are doing what teenagers usually did in the back seat of cars in those days. And at a particular point in their relationship, the boy looks at the girl and he says, By the way, have you read Joseph Fletcher on this subject? The point is, nothing is wrong except not loving and nothing is right except loving. Now, here's the problem with situational ethics, and here's the problem with actor Gap ism, which incidentally, was not William Frank in his position. He was simply telling you that there is a view out there called actor Gap is the problem is there are two problems. Number one, the notion of love is ambiguous. And and the second problem is that human beings are depraved and corrupt and depraved. Men and women can twist the notion of love into any way they want. And so in the hands of one fallen creature or another, love might act. A gap ism or situational ethics might be used to justify fornication, immorality, abortion on demand. Now, the problem with actor gap ism is this We need love, but love needs guidance. We need to know the proper ways in which a biblical love will be expressed or will be manifested. Christian Robb cannot be expressed in any way whatsoever. There are certain kinds of behavior that are incompatible with a biblical law. But where do we get those instructions about the proper manifestation of love? We get them from Scripture. Read Romans Chapter 13 then with Paul talks about various commandments, but then relates these commandments to Jesus. Two great commandments, the commandment to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. The law in a Christian ethic provides guidance for the proper manifestation of love. It gives content to the command to love. And that's why situational ethics is utterly inadequate by itself. Love can lead to serious problem. Saint Augustine in this, as you know, one of my favorite authors has a great quotation in this connection. And he said, You want to know what the Christian ethic really reduces to love God and do as you please Write that down. Love God and do as you please. Joseph Fletcher like that. But he didn't pay sufficient attention to the maxim Love God. So what Joseph Fletcher wanted was an ethic in which you do as you please. What Senior Augustine wanted was an ethic in which you love God. And the fact is, as you know, if you do love God and then do as you please, what you wind up doing will be honoring and pleasing to the God that you love. You can't love God and worship other gods before him. You can't love God and cheat other people or take advantage of other people. So that's the problem with act of God. Now, what Frank defended in opposition to act McCarthyism was rule of God, peasant. Now, last week I talked a little bit about rule utilitarianism. I didn't really deal as completely with it as perhaps I should have. It would have taken much too long. Hooliganism goes like this. And I guess. I guess Frank and I wants to make two points. Number one, proper agape will always function in conjunction with concrete and specific rules. There are moral laws that tell us how love should be expressed. So you have love and rules working together. But furthermore, Frank and I wants us to understand that love provides the justification for these rules. Remember rule utilitarianism. The rule utilitarian last week said We need moral rules, but we justify those rules on the basis of their utility. How much happiness or goodness they produce in society? Well, Frank is saying the justification for any proper moral law rests upon the love function. The reason why we are we ought to do this or we ought to do that is because in the final analysis, this would be the loving thing to do. Let me just offer some kind of synthesis of these four schools of thought. I don't believe that rule of God prism is totally satisfactory here for the informed Christian. It certainly direct points us in the direction of some important considerations. I guess what I've been leading up to is this that what we can learn from speculative ethics is that with few exceptions, most of them do succeed in drawing our attention to important considerations to moments of true love. We'll start at the back. Love is important, but love functions as a ground for the rules, which give content and direction to the moral life. And love, in the ultimate sense is inseparable from those rules. We need the rules to tell us how a loving person will behave. The proper moral life is going to pay attention to the development and to the acquisition of proper virtue traits of character. The traits of character that are important in a Christian context are those enumerated in scripture, love, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, temper, and so on. But we also need rules. There are laws because, you see, not everyone in this world is a believer. Not everyone in this world has the proper dispositions. And so society, Christian or non-Christian, needs rules on natural law, a natural ethic which we can use in forming the laws of society. There's insufficient attention on the part of secularists in our society to the intricate connection that exists between morality and civil law. How often and how often do the laws of society reflect the moral concerns of the great moral teachers? And finally, so I'm saying here, we really should give some. We really should be developing a kind of synthesis of of of all of these elements. And I'm not sure I can. I'm able to do that right now. Maybe that would make a good question for the final exam. Finally, of course, we shouldn't ignore consequences. We shouldn't ignore pleasure, We shouldn't ignore the well-being of large numbers of people. But we must not sacrifice that at the at the expense of of the moral law.