Dual Ethics in Romans 13

Journal of Dharma 35 (2):159-169 (2010)
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Abstract

Seemingly Rom 13 demands the people's unconditional submission to the state. Scholars have provided various answers to the problem which arises when the state's policy contradicts God's teachings. Those answers assume that what is morally wrong for the state to order is morally wrong for the people to follow. However, there can be cases where a state's policy is morally wrong while the people's submission to it is morally right. I distinguish between the ethical standards for the state and those for the people. The dual ethics protects conscientious people from moral blame for having obeyed the authority. The dual ethics makes it impossible to appeal to Rom 13 to justify tyranny. The dual ethics is also compatible with the various answers. Some New Testament passages support the dual ethics.

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