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“We-all-think-that-morality-is-important,-but-we-cant-agree-on-

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					Morality
    “We all think that morality is important,
    but we can't agree on what is moral.”*


   To conservative Christians "moral values"
    tends to refer to sexual behavior and issues
    such as marriage and abortion.
   To more liberal Christians, secular people,
    Jews, Muslims, that tends to oftentimes
    mean social justice questions -- poverty, the
    environment, war and peace.

    *Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, Nov. 7, 2004
What makes something
moral?
 Is it a moral issue only if our action affects
  others?
    Murder, stealing, rape, lying

or…
 Is it also a moral issue even if our action does
  not have a negative impact on others?
    Hunting? Cheating/plagiarism? Abortion?
     Suicide/Euthanasia? Prostitution?
     Polygamy? Doing drugs?
Ethics of Virtue vs.
Ethics of Duty
Virtue Ethics:           Duty Ethics:
 Be good                   Do good
 Internally motivated      Externally motivated
  – imposed from             – imposed by others
  within (innate)            (told what to do by
 Punished from
                             society, god)
  within (sense of          Punished by others
  shame, guilt)              (society, god)
 Affects the self          Affects others (even
  (even if not others)       if not the self)
 Guided by principles      Guided by rules/law
Sources of Morality
How do we know what is good?
Cosmic/Natural Law
 An impersonal, external source:

    The “Way” (Tao) of nature

    Dharma (Hinduism)

 A personal, external source:

    Natural laws, created by God as good:

       That which is natural = good, right

       That which interferes with nature = bad,

        wrong
     Examples: homosexuality, abortion, birth control
   Sources of Morality
   How do we know what is good?
Charismatic Leader as model
 Jesus teaches his “great commandment” and
  the “Golden Rule”
 Buddha teaches the “Five Precepts”:

    Do not harm/kill others

    Do not take what is not given (do not steal)

    Do not lie

    Do not ingest intoxicants/alcohol

    Do not have illicit sexual relations (be chaste)
Sources of Morality
How do we know what is good?
Divine Command
God says “do” and “don’t” (“thou shalt not”,
  “thou shalt”)
 Is it good because God commands it (God
  makes the rules)
                       or
 Does God command it because it is good?
  (God merely identifies and enforces the rules)

If God commands us to kill, does killing become
   the moral thing to do?
Examples of Divine Command
   Judaism: Halakhah
      Based on 613 “commandments” in Torah

      Interpreted by Rabbis

      For practical application in everyday life

   Islam: Shari’a
      Based on God’s direction in Qur’an

      Modeled after Muhammad’s behavior
       (sunna) as recorded in Hadith
      Interpreted by Islamic jurists (ulama)
       according to analogy and consensus
    Questions to ponder:
 Does doing good (duty) make us good?
Or: Do we do good because we are good (virtuous)?

 Can morality be legislated?
   Is it still an issue of “morality” if we are simply “obeying
      the law”
                       “duty ethics” = yes
                       “virtue ethics” = no
                                ???
 Is morality culturally relative and personally subjective?

Or: is there any absolute and universal moral law?
Basic moral principles
   “Do unto others as you would have others do
    unto you”
   “Love God and love others as you love
    yourself”
   “Live in such a way as to love all and be
    loved by all”

    What basic moral principle guides your life?
      Or do you live according to the rules?
    Explore more on the Web:
   BBC Religion & Ethics: explores ethical issues,
    including positions held by various religions on various
    issues including: same-sex marriage, ethics of war,
    euthanasia, human cloning, genetic engineering,
    designer babies, abortion.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/ethics/
   Online interactive philosophy games: Is your morality
    based on reason or gut level response? How
    consistent are you in applying moral principals?
    Taboo: http://www.philosophersnet.com/games/taboo.htm
    Morality Play:
       http://www.philosophersnet.com/games/morality_play.htm

				
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