Monday’s Mtg: Christian Ethics/Values In the 21st Century.

Just a short post this week.  I always schedule a religion-related topic for our meeting before Christmas.  I thought that talking about Christian values/ethics would be timely, what with the recent statements and actions by Pope Francis that may signal a stronger emphasis on social justice and less focus on sexual and family issues.  Also, I wanted to frame the discussion as future-oriented.  What do Christian values mean in the 21st century, a century of growing global and U.S. diversity; the rise of poorer countries to the ranks of global powers; secularization, at least in the West; universal (and universalizing!) social media; and perhaps climate-induced crisis?

This topic phrasing lets us discuss both what Christian values are (they’re supposed to be eternal and unchanging, of course, but no one has ever agreed on them exactly); and how they might apply to changing circumstances in the future.  The Catholic Church is not the only one of the world’s thousands of Christian denominations facing the need to stay relevant in the new millennium..

Discussion Questions –

  1. What are Christian values, as you understand them?  List a few?  How do you know this?
  2. Read the Sermon on the Mount, below.  Regardless of whether you think this really happened or are really Jesus’ words, what do you think of the values expressed?
  3. Okay, now what about Christian values/ethics as they actually have been practiced.  Faithful to the source?  Need we add any more values to the list, good or bad?
  4. Is the 21st century fertile ground for Christian values/ethics, or will the world as it gets richer and more educated lose its faith?
  5. Which Christian values, if any, will still matter in the next 100 years?

Links –


NEXT WEEK:    U.S. Foreign Policy After the War on Terror: Now What?


5 responses

  1. Most of the people in this group probably don’t consider themselves Christians, so it might be a rather odd discussion.
    It might turn around such questions as, “Are Christian ethics still relevant,” or “What is a valid code of ethics for the 21st century?.” I think such questions might be more apposite.
    And I’d just like to say that I am familiar with the Sermon on the Mount!

  2. I just read Tony Blair’s piece. He himself, of course, is a Catholic convert.
    His conclusion might be justified, if his “Faith Foundation” produces more mutual understanding and cooperation.
    But to believe this would be to fly in the face of the lessons of 2000 years of history!
    I profoundly hope that Tony is wrong, and that religion is on its way out, although it may still take a while.

  3. I just have to add something else:
    Tony calls for “faith.” What does that mean, exactly? Does it mean that we are to form our beliefs, not based on evidence and logic, but to take someone’s word (Tony’s, no doubt)?
    If man has a future–problematical–it will only be because he jettisons “faith” and guides himself by the light of reason.
    If I have a core belief, this is it.

  4. We drifted into questions of economic justice and the attention that Pope Francis has drawn to the needs of the poor. Catholic social teaching covers many areas; on the specific question of the ethics of socialism vs. capitalism, this 8-minute video does a nice job — the speaker is commenting on Michael Moore’s film “Capitalism: A Love Story”

  5. It’s nice that the Pope is so concerned about the poor. But when, in the past century, has the Catholic Church been on their side when it really mattered? During a strike, for example?

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