Religion and Morality (Does Morality Depend on Religion?)

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Pages 1-18. Religion and Morality (Does Morality Depend on Religion?) * Readings are taken from mainstream Western religions, namely Judaism and Christianity. * But also from Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism.

* A tradition in American thought that encourages leaders to look to religion and morality as pillars of a well ordered society. * In his 1976 address, Washington advised his fellow citizens to regard religion and morality as “indispensable supports” for “political prosperity.” * Widespread belief that religion and morality are inseparable. * Kai Nielsen’s approach

* “I shall argue that the fact that God wills something – if indeed that is a fact – cannot be a fundamental criterion for being morally good or obligatory and thus it cannot be the only criterion or the only adequate criterion for moral goodness or obligation.” * Essentially he contends that if your moral system rests on a theological foundation, then you run into insurmountable obstacles – for example * That a theological foundation, by definition includes no moral concepts. * If on the other hand, your moral system does not rest on a theological foundation, then you have granted his claim, namely that we are capable of exercising moral judgment independent of religion. * Nielson objects to the line of reasoning that most people hold that an action is right or wrong because God has so willed it, and we know God has so willed an action right or wrong because God has so willed it, and we know God has so willed an action right or wrong because it is stated in Scripture. * Religion and morality in Judaic and Christian Traditions by John P. Reeder, Jr. * The moral condition and the concept of source.

* They assume these humans, they need a morality
* Judaic and Christian traditions often also assume that humans need morality. * The human need for morality is addressed through the Adam and Eve story in Genesis. * A story about a ‘fall’ from moral perfection to moral evil. * Christians have often taken stories from Genesis to signify a transition from moral perfection to moral evil; before the first disobedience, the progenitors of human kind were perfectly good. * In the Hindu view, human beings caught up in the process of time are inherently, naturally inclined to fall prey to evil. * The male and female figures (later called Eve) on this view are not yet in the human and hence in the moral condition as we know it. They do not know good and evil. * Thus one could argue, not only the delight of the food but the promise of wisdom – of moral knowledge – leads Adam and Eve from premoral bliss to the moral condition. * John hick argues, it is not easy to see why Adam and Eve would exchange the bliss of the garden for the world of morality. * The deity is the source of the moral system that is to structure the existence, the way, of the people of God. * Many Judaic and Christian Traditions have found – 10 “words” or “commandments.” * The notion that a trans-human source of morality is one way cultures have answered the questions: a trans-human reality in some way produces, communicates, and legitimates the moral order. * Origin

* Judaic and Christian Stories of creation.
* Where does a moral system come from? How does it come to be? * The notion of a trans-human source and the idea of creation. * The notion of a divine creator appears in many versions of Judaism and Christianity, based on the biblical stories where the deity gives ‘laws’ to Israel (Ex/ Exodus 20). * They obey God as a debt of gratitude or justice and because they believe that what God commands is right. * The norms of the code God establishes are morally right. * The deity not only creates a moral code, but sets up the basic criteria of morality. * The being...
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