Religion and Morality Inter-relationships Relationships Is it true that morality depends on religion , even that it cannot be understood in the context of religion? Ivan Karamoazov-”If God does not exist, everything is permissible.” (Moral nihilism) Relationships Major ethical theories have been developed independently.- Autonomy Thesis Morality does not originate with God. Rightness and wrongness are not based simply on God’s will. Essentially, there are reasons for acting one way or the other which may be known independently of God’s will. Relationships Are Religious Ethics essentially different from secular ethics? Kant argues that there is no difference- both God and humanity have to obey the same rational principles and reason is sufficient to guide us to these principles. What is good is good will- acting according to principles- Categorical Imperative. In fact, God and immorality are necessary postulates of ethics- ought implies can. Must be able to reach moral perfection- not possible in finite life. God provides universal justice. Religion is Irrelevant to Morality Bertrand Russell- humans are free to think, evaluate, create, and live committed to ideals. Life has the meaning we give it, and morality will be part of any meaningful life. James Rachels: In worshipping God believers relinquish their autonomy. One gives up their reason. Rachels and Nowell-Smith contend that religious morality is infantile because it is based on authority. Religious Morality Method of moral reasoning- “moral point of view.”- impartiality.- Golden Rule- consistency in our actions.reciprocity. Emphasis on relationships- to others in terms of Love and respect- Love your Neighbors- what means? Religious Morality Set of beliefs affirming the reality of moral retribution.- recompense- why be moral?- Karma, Punishment Identifies ways to overcome “moral paralysis” and “despair about moral failure”- grace, atonement, assistance, Religion and Moral Goals Cosmic justice= summum bonum= happiness is proportional to virtue.- Kant – there must be a God to make this possible. Humans desire happiness by nature- to be happy is to have nothing left to will- Aquinas- to have a total vision of reality= Beatific vision of God- necessary if nature to be fulfilled. Thomas- human desires and aims irremediably thwarted without God; this cannot be the case. Camus- “Myth of Sisyphus”- No God- so human desires can be irremediably thwarted- absurdity of life. Religion Enhances Moral Life If there is a god, good will win over evil.- not fighting alone. (James, Royce) If God, exists, then cosmic justice reigns- Kant. If theism is true, moral reasons always override nonmoral reasons. (Gauguin abandoned family) If theism is true, then there is a God who loves and cares for us. If there is a God who created us in his image, then all persons are of equal worth. Divine Command Theory An act is morally required (right) just in case God commands us to do it. An act is morally wrong just in case God forbids us to do it. An act is permissible just in case God neither commands nor forbids it. Moral rightness= willed by God. Problems How does merely commanding something make it rights Is this good because God commands it or does God command it because it is morally right? Can we be in doubt about what God commands- commanded to kill? Natural Law Theory God created nature and the laws of nature are in accord with God’s plan. Natural law is universal and the same for all human beings at all times. These moral laws of nature can be discovered by human beings. Thus, these are guides to human moral action. Problems Counterexamples to nature is good- self-interest, disease. Confuses “is” and “ought”- what is the case and what ought to be the casedescriptive & prescriptive- cannibalism. Conflicts with the notion of nature proposed by science- not moral, purposive, but cause and effect. Confucian Virtue Ethics “The only purpose a man can have and also the only worthwhile thing a man can do is to become as good a man as possible.” Ren- acting kindly toward others.- kind- heatedness. This is something we can become by cultivating our social, aesthetic, cognitive and moral powers. It is full humanity at its best. Confucian Virtue Ethics Shu and zhong-not doing to other what you do not want done to you and doing what is best for others. Shu= seeing someone else as being like yourself.= reciprocity. Xiao- familial love and respect- practice of kindness, honor, respect, and loyalty among all family members. Society= one large family.