The Christian ethic is a principled ethic, meaning that it views the ethical life as one that conforms to moral principles embedded in the world around us and revealed in the Bible. For that reason, Christianity’s influence on the West caused most Western ethicists and, arguably, most Westerners to assent to a principled ethic (even though no human being or society lives in perfect conformity with such an ethic).
Yet, over the past two centuries, an increasing number of Westerners have rejected Christianity’s principled ethic in favor of a consequentialist ethic. Consequentialists assign moral praise or blame based upon the outcomes of human action rather than conformity to moral principles. For consequentialists, the moral route is the one that produces the greatest amount of overall good. Human actions are not inherently good or bad; they are a means to an end.
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