Christian values historically refers to the values derived from the teachings of Jesus Christ and taught by Christians throughout the history of the religion. The term has various applications and meanings, and specific definitions can vary widely between denominations, geographical locations and different schools of thought. The terms Christian values and family values are often used as a euphemism for familialism by the Christian right. Christian values also relate to the Christian identity in identity politics.
New Testament teaching
- Love of God and neighbors: "You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might", an excerpt from the Shema Deut.6:5 (Matthew 22:37). This is the first half of the statement and the second half, given equal weight, is "love your neighbor as yourself" upon which hang all the Law and all the prophets (Matthew 22:36-40).
- Fidelity in marriage: "Whom God has joined together let no man put asunder" (Matthew 19:6)
- Renunciation of worldly goods: "Gather not your riches up upon this earth, for there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21).
- Renunciation of vengeance: "If a man strikes you on one cheek, turn the other cheek" (Luke 6:29).
- Forgiveness of sins: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us" (Matthew 6:12).
- Unconditional love: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Luke 6:27-28).
Explicit directions in the New Testament text include:
- Jesus' enumeration of the intention of the Ten Commandments contained in the Sermon on the Mount is considered a key component of Christian ethics and a fundamental recipe for Christian conduct for centuries. This large unified text was meant as a counter to the practices of the day that followed the letter of the law but denied the spirit of the law.
- One of the characteristic contrasts between Christianity and its Jewish roots occurs along the axis of the Law. The Christian holds that for un-redeemed mankind it is impossible to follow any holy law at all and further holds that only regeneration makes it possible for an individual to start and persist not breaking at least some of the body of holy law. Within this context falls the only letter from the totality of New Testament authorship to the totality of the Christian church on that topic. It is also profoundly important to recognize that these are placeholders that refer to Old Testament texts which more completely elaborate what each means. Acts 15:20 enumerates the four things that Christianity requires abstinence from: 1) food sacrificed to idols; 2) blood; 3) meat of strangled animals; and 4) sexual immorality. These all were part of the practices included in the polytheism of Greek and Roman civilizations.
Modern use in worldwide conservative or right-wing politics
In the 21st century United States, Australia, United Kingdom and other countries, the phrases Christian values and family values are used by Christian right and conservative parties to describe some or all of the following political stances:
- Censorship of sexual content, especially in movies and on television.
- The desirability of laws against induced abortion.
- Sexual abstinence outside marriage and abstinence-only sex education.
- The promotion of intelligent design to be taught in public schools and colleges as an alternative to evolution.
- The desirability of laws against same-sex marriage.
- Support for laws against the acceptance of homosexuality into mainstream society.
- The desirability of organized school prayer in public schools.
Modern use in worldwide liberal, radical left or center-left politics
In the 21st century United States, Australia, United Kingdom and other countries, the phrases Christian values and family values are used by some liberal or social democratic political groups to describe some or all of the following political stances:
- Support for a culture of empathy and compassion, seen as central to Christianity among a diverse range of religions and worldviews; favoring individuals, families (of all compositions) and small communities' interests over the interests of large corporations and the powerful.
- Protection of the environment as the product of a deep reverence for God's creation.
- The undesirability of war other than as a last resort and a respect for diplomacy (see swords to ploughshares).
- Embrace inclusion and acceptance of immigrants and refugees.
- A living wage for all and the right of workers to form trade unions as keeping with the solidaristic nature of man.
- A high, progressive income tax to promote greater income equality in keeping with Jesus' words in support of the poor and against excessive riches.
- Promoting "Render unto Caesar" as an endorsement of secular governance separation of church and state (secular laws do not affect or no relations with religious freedom, such as same-sex marriage; churches can reject holding weddings for same-sex couples) and religious tolerance, consistent with the concept of Christ's kingdom not being "of this world" and warnings against the hunger for potentially corrupting temporal power throughout the Bible.
- Biblical law in Christianity
- Brotherly love (philosophy)
- Christian ethics
- Family values
- Red-Letter Christian
- Ronald Simkins; Gail S. Risch (1 March 2008). Religion and the Family. Fordham Univ Press. ISBN 978-1-881871-49-1.
- Edgell, Penny; Docka, Danielle (2007). "Beyond the Nuclear Family? Familism and Gender Ideology in Diverse Religious Communities". Sociological Forum. 22 (1): 25–50. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.601.6524. doi:10.1111/j.1573-7861.2006.00003.x. ISSN 0884-8971.
- The Holy Bible, King James Version, Meridian, 1974.
- Gregory D. Black, Hollywood Censored, p. 39. "Daniel Lord drafted a Hollywood censorship code. What emerged was a fascinating combination of conservative politics, Catholic theology, and pop psychology.", Cambridge University Press, 1994, ISBN 978-0521452991.
- "Geneva Declaration". "Marriage between a man and a woman forms the sole moral context for natural sexual union. Whether through pornography, promiscuity, incest or homosexuality, deviations from these sexual norms cannot truly satisfy the human spirits".
- "Christianity, Intelligent Design, Evolutionary Theory Movements in the U.S. and the Sepration of Church and State". "Political commentators have noted the rise of the religious right during the presidency of George W. Bush. Though Christianity and politics have often been intertwined in American culture, the Bush administration funded faith-based initiatives more profoundly than any previous president. Moreover, President Bush remarked that he supported the teaching of intelligent design alongside evolutionary theory in public schools".
- "Why write about homosexuality?". "The Bible clearly condemns homosexuality as a sin and Christians who seriously follow God's Word must also condemn it as sin".
- "Prayer InPublic School - A Brief History". AllAboutHistory.org. Retrieved 23 July 2012.