In a 'Study of Christian Ethics' by Dr Russell K Tardo, he defines MORALS as 'what people do' whereas ETHICS is 'what people ought to do'.He goes on to say that secular ethics are based on a person's perception of duty, pleasure, the law to name just a few, while those following a religious belief base their ethics on the teaching of that religion. As admirable as many religions' ethics are, they are generally aimed at encouraging people to live a good life now, thus earning them a better place in the next life.
Secular ethics encourage 'self realisation' with the aim to find the answer 'within you'. You set your own standard of ethics. Anyone can write a course of study on ethics and I am sure most people would include the highest of values, but what is the source of these values? Your own ideas.
Christianity is the direct opposite. Christians believe in the Divine revelation of the Bible i.e. God's ideas not our own. And what does the Bible say about living a good life? Take Paul's letter to the Ephesians Chapter 2:8-10. No amount of good works, as essential as they are in the life of a Christian, can earn us a place in God's heaven. Living a 'good life' (to use the popular expression) for a Christian isn't about obeying a set of rules in order to earn God's love, but is in response to God's love for us as shown in Jesus Christ.
So ethics or Christianity? Man made or Divine? From experience I know whom I want to trust.
P S. Once I started thinking about the question of ethics, so many questions came to mind, such as what happens to a person when they don't live up to their chosen set of ethics? What happens to guilt? How can they continually live up to a high standard? And what of the Christians who want to impose their set of values or ethics on to others? Do they have that right? Should a Christian have boundaries? What happens to a Christian's guilt?
It looks like this may have to be continued......