Religion's Separation from Ethics

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Owen Kehoe
Theology 11: Christian Ethics
Mr. Shea
December 6, 2012
The Separation of Religion and Ethics
Religion has been around ever since the dawn of the very first civilizations. The Egyptians, although believing in a polytheistic religion with many different deities, still were influenced by religion in their ethical decision-making. The Romans and Greeks who were notorious for believing in the pagan gods such as Jupiter and Zeus were also making their ethical decisions based on religion. More often than not in great epics such as The Aeneid and The Odyssey, the main characters were found to be very intimidated by the gods and almost always made moral decisions so not to displeasure the gods. Nowadays we have religions such as Judaism and Christianity, which are centered around the basic ideas of ethics such as forgiveness, reconciliation, integrity, and respect for the beliefs of other human beings. The majority of these ideologies are embodied through the religious figureheads: Jesus Christ and Moses in the Bible and the Torah respectively. These two men are supposed to guide their followers (us), into leading moral lives that will get us into Heaven.

Although I am of the Christian Catholic faith and I do believe in God and Jesus Christ, most of my everyday ethical decisions are not really faith based whatsoever. But yes, when I was a younger child my parents and my religious educators forced me into believing that my moral decision-making had a direct relationship with my reputation with God. I remember when my mom used to ask me, “Owen did you take a soda from the refrigerator in the basement?” and I responded “No,” then my mom would say, “Well God will strike you if you are lying so ok.” She did this with the intent of persuading me not lie, using the power of God to intimidate me out of doing so. My mother and father used to both be big on how bad lying was to God, and for the most part I was willing to stop lying just because of how scared I...
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