Christian fundamentalists have borrowed a term once confined to cultural and legal studies to further a worldview inconsistent with Christ’s teachings. That term—the Judeo-Christian Ethic—is often defined by the Ten Commandments, which are guidelines unworthy of those concerned with the great query: What manner of person ought I be? The New Christian Ethic acknowledges that the laws of Leviticus are obsolete, callings are highly individualized and faith is impossible without uncertainty.
In a way, the New Christian Ethic is an Old Christian Ethic. Prior to the convening of the First Council of Nicaea, many of Christ's followers shared all things in common. They took in the homeless and indigent, especially abandoned children who were numerous. When plagues hit and entire cities were abandoned, Christians were the few who remained behind to practice literally their Savior's admonition to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and minister to the sick. They did this while Rome entertained itself with the public torture and murder of Christ's followers.
The New Christian Ethic acknowledges that:
·The laws of Leviticus are obsolete. The central message of Christ's ministry is that we're to be better than the Mosaic Law and graduate to a higher standard that demands compassion and sacrifice and endurance.
·Callings are highly individualized. It’s fine if your path to godliness is different than mine. As Emerson once said, "To be great is to be misunderstood." If we're to achieve anything of significance, we'll chose paths seldom walked before.
·Faith is impossible without uncertainty. The power of faith is contained in the sea of uncertainty surrounding it. Eschewing dogma and embracing uncertainty are the first steps to learning.
When Christ's gospel is fully adopted, there will be no poor among its followers. Their jointly held notions of greatness and godliness will not tolerate such a condition. Instead, they will strive to give all people joint ownership of creative resources.