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Assignment Questions

Christian Ethics

Christian Ethics – Religion 224

Reflection Paper Guidelines

Essay Town,
My topic is Divorce….The “Reflection Paper” is due on 5 May 2010. Please follow the professor’s instructions below. I thank you in advance for a well written paper, I am currently strapped for time and this will take a huge burden off my chest. I have never utilized any system like this. Your product was highly recommended from a fellow student. If all goes well and the paper passes “turnitin.com”, I will definitely utilize you in the future. Thank you, Angela

NOTE: My comments, within the professor’s guidance, are italicized!

A reflection paper is a critical analysis of an ethical issue that leads to a decision on the appropriate response to that issue. It is not a research paper, per se, but research is required as a part of the critical analysis of the issue.
Part of the reflection included in the paper is constructing an argument that supports your decision. The paper should present a well thought out, and well developed, rationale for the decision. The decision should be your decision, based on your analysis of the information available from a variety of sources. This is different from merely giving your opinion, or confessing your personal experiences.
The method used to analyze the issue should be based on your own approach to making ethical decisions developed throughout the course. The methodology should be clear and concise, with the following sections:

• Issue. The issue you are addressing should be clearly stated. Be concise and to the point. Too broad an issue will be difficult to adequately address in an adequate manner. Framing the issue as a question helps to focus your reflection. The issue should be one you feel important and worth the effort required to do the paper.
• Reflection. Your approach to reflecting on the issue may vary depending on the methodology you use. You should cover all the sources of information or guidance presented in the text and in class. This section is where you analyze the information and determine how that bears on your decision.
This is also the section that will require the most research. The information considered in the decision making process comes from some source. Be sure to use reliable sources and give the appropriate credit to those sources (I normally use online resources…but I am sure you have many reliable sources, Angela.
Even if you discount information from some source, there should be evidence within your reflection that the information was considered. There also should be some rationale as to why that information was discounted.
Research also should be a part of the use of the Bible and Christian tradition. For example, there may be more than one translation of passages. There certainly will be more than one interpretation. You will want to compare the options in making your decision. Scripture should be supported with chapter and verse references. (Essay Town, Please include/reference portions of the bible referencing Angela)
Regardless of your methodology, you should strive to identify your feelings and preconceived biases. The goal is to identify these things early in the reflection process, so that the reflection can be based on an honest evaluation of the information available. You do not want to prove your point.

• Decision. Your decision should be logically and clearly spelled out. Some sort of a decision making process should be evident. Be sure to challenge yourself in this process. Do not just “parrot” someone else’s view. Make it your own.
Your decision may or may not reinforce your preconceived idea. If you change a preconceived idea on the issue chosen, you have accomplished something significant.
The paper should be Time New Roman, Double spaced, 12 font type. The paper should have one inch margins and should be at least 8 pages in length. (The paper needs to be written in MLA format with citations throughout the paper and a Works Cited page, Angela)
References should reflect a balanced perspective on the issue. Given the length of the paper and the need to consider information from a variety of sources, six references is probably the minimum number. References should be reputable, so I encourage you to use caution if accessing materials from unknown sources on the internet.
My cell # is if you have any questions, Angela

Angela Land
4/19/2010
RELG 224
Mr. Wolfe
Assignment #4
Critique:
Crook begins by outlining the field of ethics, identifying alternative approaches, and illustrating how we can effectively implement the guidelines we use when faced with making a decision. Crook’s breaks this down in to four categories to be considered when faced with an ethical decision: theological premises, faith, love, and the decision itself. The complexity of all the information he considers on each individual topic varies greatly. The theological premises are based on an individual’s religion and how they perceive the history presented to them. Crook’s use of the experiences of our ancestors applied to our situations of today assists us in better decision making.
Crook’s applies faith to decision making and emphasizes that faith is a way of life that can be learned. We use our surroundings and communities to help shape our faith and character. The variety of ways that Crook’s identifies how love affects decision making is different for every individual. Applying the concept of including love in our decision making can prove very difficult for some people. If someone first considers their history and what they’ve been taught then love may be further down on the list when it comes to the guidelines we should use to make decisions.
Finally, Crook’s identifies his guidelines to making an ethical decision. He breaks it down to the basics of ignoring the differences between the human races and embracing their similarities. Crook’s wants us to recognize a person’s worth, and accept the responsibility of seeking out the good in one another while still honoring our duties. Crook’s focus is on not just how the decision we’re faced with affects only ourselves, but the lives of those around us. These guidelines are broad and leave room for flexibility. This versatility is helpful when you consider the different circumstances of each situation.

Strengths:
Theological premises rely on the Bible, its teachings, and how we follow history.
Faith can be found within each of us. When it’s emphasized in our day-to-day lives we have a sense of peace and happiness.
Love can also be found within each of us. It is strong and can withstand many obstacles.
General principles can be learned and followed.

Weaknesses:
Theological premises can vary based on the teachings of your religion and community.
Faith is fragile. It can falter and be lost very easily. It takes time for faith to build up again.
Love is expressed differently by each of us. Love requires patience and selflessness which can be very difficult for some people.
General principles are different for each individual. There are no set “rules” to be followed, and they can change with each person depending on the circumstances of their individual situation.

Develop your own approach for making an ethical decision. Discuss what you use for sources of information. Discuss how you arrive at a decision on an issue. Discuss the process you use.
1. When faced with a decision, the first thing I consider is how the results will affect me, and those around me. I don’t dwell on the differences of the people involved regarding their social class, education, race, etc. To me, people are people, no matter what their race, religion, or background.
2. I consider how my decision will affect those around me. I believe it’s wrong to use someone just to get what you want.
3. Material things will always be secondary to me. I believe that a person’s values are more important that having “things”. Material items can be replaced, people cannot.
4. I show respect to others and I expect the same from them. In this respect, I give what I get. I don’t think that someone is more valuable just because of what they have or what they can do for me. When I respect their decisions, I earn their respect.
5. I always try to see the good in a person, even when they can’t see it in themselves. I prefer to build someone up rather than knock them down or try to “put them in their place”.
6. I believe in putting others before myself. It’s in my nature.
7. I expect the best to happen from my decision and plan for the worst case scenario.

Use your approach to making ethical decisions and work through a decision on last week’s topic. Use the information from our discussion last week to support your decision.

As Christians, making an ethical decision involves more than just right or wrong. Not every situation is black and white. There is a plethora of gray areas to be considered. These “gray” areas are the different circumstances that affect each decision. No decision can be treated the same. When faced with a difficult decision our first goal is to seek out the truth and to decide what we want to do with that information. How does this truth affect us? How does it affect those around us? The answers to these questions are the point where our faith steps in and begins our decision process. Our character is shaped early on in our youth and our faith grows as this character is shaped by our surroundings. In 2 Peter 1:4 we are told that exceeding great and precious promises are given to us. Also, in Psalms 56:3 it says when I am afraid I will trust in you. Our faith is built up through God’s promises to us and his trust in us to come to him when we are faced with difficult situations. As human we make the prideful mistake of thinking that we can accomplish our goals without the assistance or guidance of those around us that have experience in making such ethical decisions.

As children we are taught to relay on the guidance of our parents or elders to assist us in making the right decisions. We grow in our faith when we rely on the trust of other’s to help us decide what’s best for ourselves. As we get older, we resist the urge to go to others for advice or guidance in order to prove ourselves in our adulthood. This is a continuous struggle we face as our lives progress. We have to have some basis for faith to start and grow in order for us to learn when to apply it in our everyday lives. The more we trust those around us not to lead us astray, the more faith we have in ourselves that we are making the right decisions. By committing to ourselves to live by certain guidelines it becomes more natural for us to make ethical decisions in our daily lives.

One major influence on our ethical decision making process is how we perceive love. Love is the single ingredient that can bind us as Christians and strengthen our faith in the ones around us. Love has the power to moves us to respond to a neighbor’s need with no expectation of reward. Love is not interested in the odds of getting some self-satisfaction in return for its efforts. Love’s unique character consists of giving without demand of any return. All types of love arise from a need and a desire for love’s reward. Love is necessary when walking through the decision making process.

When confronted with the issue of homosexuality, we are testing not only our belief system, but we begin to question the act itself. Is it righteous? Is it wrong based on Christian beliefs? Were we raised to be tolerant of those making this decision around us in order to keep peace within our community? Applying the guidelines that I listed earlier, I can honestly say that someone’s sexual preference, whether heterosexual or homosexual, does not affect my level of respect or love for that person. The only way this would change would be if they flaunted or imposed their sexual preference upon me in an inappropriate manner with the knowledge that my choice is different than theirs. I respect their right to choose for themselves. My love is not conditional upon this decision. I love a person for who they are, not what they can give me, or do for me. I believe that everyone has a right to make a choice. We all have to live with the consequences of our decisions.

Reflection Paper Grading Sheet

Religion 224

Sources of Guidance

Personal Experience
Objectivity ??” avoidance of bias 1 2 3 4 5
Awareness of the influence of others 1 2 3 4 5
Understanding of own prejudices/biases 1 2 3 4 5

Culture
Unbiased research ??” reflects more than one side 1 2 3 4 5
Consideration of physical/social sciences 1 2 3 4 5
Understanding/avoiding cultural biases 1 2 3 4 5

Christian Tradition (Bible and Tradition)
Unbiased use of Bible and Theology 1 2 3 4 5
Understanding biblical context 1 2 3 4 5
Ability to critique/evaluate Bible and Theology 1 2 3 4 5
Consideration of different traditions 1 2 3 4 5

General
Overall appropriateness/thoroughness of sources 1 2 3 4 5
Quality of sources/research 1 2 3 4 5
Spelling/grammar/clear and distinct units of thought 1 2 3 4 5
Proper use of references/works cited 1 2 3 4 5
Ability to critique/evaluate sources 1 2 3 4 5

Content
Definition of the issue 1 2 3 4 5
Clear line of development in the decision process 1 2 3 4 5
Overall grasp of the topic 1 2 3 4 5
Insights into hidden problems/issues 1 2 3 4 5
Thoughtful/pointed conclusion/demonstrates 1 2 3 4 5
freedom of thought in making the decision

TOTAL ____________

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