The history of ethics, when viewed with the aid of classical liberalism, shows the connection between ethical thought and the Founders of the various Faiths. In the Western civilization ethics unfolded over time and was greatly influenced by the religious teachings of Moses and Christ.
Within the universal Catholic Church there were great ethicists like Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas and it was the universal nature of the Church and its command over the masses across vast regions that foiled secular despotism. In other words 'the prince was under the law' meaning that rulers had to abide by the Judeo-Christian principles. One of the basic underlying and all-encompassing principles was that God was the Law-Giver.
The rulers whose hearts were not subdued by these principles lusted after power and coveted the power and property of the Church. And so it was that when the Protestant Reformation movement arose in the sixteenth century the power-seeking rulers fanned the flame of rebellion against the Catholic Church. Their motives were for their own gain and they had no idea how this upheaval would affect the education of humanity from then up until the present time. They had no idea that their selfish designs would undermine ethics for centuries to come.
I will continue this commentary in my next blog entry. If you are interested in this subject also consider reading my entries in Divine Economy Ethics.