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CHTH131 God and Ethics in the Modern World

An introduction to Christian ethics in the modern world with particular attention to the major cultural shifts that have shaped contemporary thinking about God, ethics, religion and law.

What are the big ideas that have shaped contemporary society? Why do we think that some things are right and others wrong? How does our view of the world shape our ethical judgements? These and similar questions will be explored in part one of this paper while parts two and three offer an investigation of the enduring challenge to our ethical thinking provided by the life and teaching of Jesus.

Paper title God and Ethics in the Modern World
Paper code CHTH131
Subject Christian Thought and History
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period(s) Semester 2 (Distance learning)
Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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CHTX 131
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Theology
Any student can study Theology, whether they are of the Christian faith, another faith or of no religious faith at all. Theology is an examination of the scriptures, history, content and relevance of the Christian faith, but it presupposes or requires no Christian commitment from students. All it requires is an inquiring mind and an interest in those skills that can be gained through the study of any subject in the Humanities.
Professor Murray Rae:
Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator and Lecturer: Professor Murray Rae

Paper Structure

The paper is comprised of three modules:

  • Whakapapa: Tracing the Genealogy of Ideas
  • Whakapono: Christian Faith and Ethics
  • Te Mahi o te Aroha: Works of Love, Applications of Christian Ethics


  • Online discussion (10%)
  • Assignment (30%)
  • Final examination (60%)
Teaching Arrangements

The Distance Learning offering of this paper is taught remotely.

Campus: Two 1-hour lectures per week and online discussions.
Distance: Seven one-hour and twenty minute videoconferences on Zoom and online discussions.


Textbooks are not required for this paper.  Readings will be available online.

Course outline

View the course outline

View the supplementary information

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Ethics.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will

  • Develop an understanding of the historical and intellectual forces that have shaped contemporary culture
  • Learn to critically engage with the prevailing assumptions of contemporary culture
  • Become acquainted with some common approaches to ethics
  • Learn to consider the contrast between Western and other cultural perspectives
  • Develop an understanding of the foundations and character of Christian ethics

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system

Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 13:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 13:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41