Religion and Ethics

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Religion and Ethics

  1. 1. Chapter Eleven: Religion and Ethics Religion has profoundly affected humanconscious life and moral behavior for over two thousand years.For Western Civilization, Morality has been identified with adherence to religion.
  2. 2. Religion and Ethics•To act immorally has been seen as essentiallydisobeying God.•Religion has dominated the moral landscape toappear to be indistinguishable from morality.•Most people identify morality with religion.
  3. 3. Exceptions:•Confucianism: Essentially a secular system ofethics•Non-theist Buddhism: Also, a secular system ofethics.
  4. 4. The Divine Command Theory•Ethical principles are simply the commands ofGod.•They derive their validity from Godcommanding them.•Without God there would be no universallyvalid morality.
  5. 5. Problems with the Divine Command Theory•Seems to make the attribution of “goodness” toGod redundant•Seems to make morality into somethingarbitrary
  6. 6. Independence Thesis•Opposed to the Divine Command Theory•Denies the thesis of the Divine CommandTheory•Claims that morality does not originate withGod•Rightness and Wrongness are not dependent onGod’s Will•There are independent ways to act
  7. 7. Kant: God Makes Morality Possible•Kant claimed that both humans and God mustobey the same rational principles•Being moral is our duty to God•We ought to be moral, which means we can bemoral and therefore, we are able to reach moralperfection, but being imperfect beings, it will notoccur in this lifetime.
  8. 8. Is Religion Irrelevant or Even Contrary to Morality?•Russell: Religion Irrelevant to Morality•Hume: The Immorality of God and Religion•Nowell-Smith and Rachels: Religion Conflictswith Moral Autonomy
  9. 9. Does Religion Enhance The Moral Life?•If there is a God, good will win out over evil.•If God exists, then cosmic justice reigns in theuniverse.•If Theism is true, moral reasons always overridenonmoral reasons.•If Theism is true, then there is a God who lovesand cares for us
  10. 10. Does Religion Enhance The Moral Life?•If there is a God who created us in his image, allpersons are of equal worth.•If God exists, we have a compelling solution tothe posterity problem.
  11. 11. The Case against Religion•A lot of evil has been done by religious peoplein the name of religion•We dont know for sure whether a benevolentGod exists•Religious morality closes off dialogue•Religious morality leads to group intolerance•Religious morality threatens church-stateseparation

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