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The term Christian values historically refers to the values derived from the teachings of Jesus 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.
New Testament teaching
- Love of God: "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", derived from -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 violence: "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 10 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.
- This passage (Acts 15:24-29) exhaustively enumerates the 4 things that Christianity forbids. One of the characteristic contrasts between Christianity and its Jewish roots occurs along the axis of "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. Enumerated and explicitly endorsed by all the 12 apostles and every one of the writers of the new testament and by all the church fathers, the rules applied to all the church without restriction and required 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 idolatry/demon-worship in Roman times.
Modern use in worldwide conservative politics
In the 21st century United States, Australia, UK and other countries, the phrases "Christian values" and "family values" are used by Christian right and conservative political groups 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 of marriage and abstinence-only 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 prayer in public schools
Modern use in worldwide liberal politics
In the 21st century United States, Australia, UK and other countries, the phrases "Christian values" and "family values" are used by liberal 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; favouring 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);
- a living wage for all, seen as a mark of concern for the physical welfare of "the least among us"
- 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 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.
- Brotherly love (philosophy)
- Biblical law in Christianity
- Family values
- Red-Letter Christian
- Christian ethics
- 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. 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
- http://www.worldcongress.nl/en/wcf-ii-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."
- "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." http://connection.ebscohost.com/science/intelligent-design/intelligent-design-movements-us
- "The Bible clearly condemns homosexuality as a sin and Christians who seriously follow God's Word must also condemn it as sin.",http://carm.org/write-about-homsexuality
- "Prayer InPublic School - A Brief History". AllAboutHistory.org. Retrieved 23 July 2012.