What Is the Relationship Between Religion and Morality? | Owlcation
The relation between law, morality, and religion in the West has grown . According to Locke, each individual recognizes by natural reason the fundamental law. For an important critique of vulnerability theory in the elder law context, .. relationship between the ethics of care and feminine self-sacrifice. Earn CPD points by reading this feature on the key legal and ethical topics in the foundation curriculum. Dr Paul Nisselle explores the unique interplay between justice, There are four 'pillars' of ethics: Hippocrates wrote: “Whatever in connection with my professional practice or not in connection with it I.
This enhances our moral rectitude, giving religious groups an advantage over non-religious rivals. This advantage has left an enduring footprint on the human brain. We have evolved a superstitious trigger for moral behavior, which works for atheists and theists alike. An experiment by Shariff and Norenzayan showed that when people were unconsciously primed about concepts related to gods, spirits, and prophets during a task to unscramble sentences containing those words, they were more likely to be generous in an economic game.
Another experiment by Jesse Bering showed that participants were less likely to cheat when they were told a ghost was in the room with them. Thus, humans have evolved to increase their pro-social behavior by increasing their susceptibility for belief in judgmental deities and spirits. Religious belief is inextricably linked with our sense of morality on an unconscious level. Religious belief intensifies our willingness to display moral behavior, and the need to follow a moral code reduces the scrutiny that we apply to supernatural propositions.
Religion uses morality to justify the claim that animals are excluded from divine rewards. Religious Morality Grants Us Dominion Over Life Our evolutionary struggle for superiority over the beasts of the Earth has left us with a disposition for identifying and exaggerating our traits and abilities.
Morality and love are seen as that which makes us special and distinct from an inferior animal kingdom. Religion finds itself in similar territory when claiming we have a unique purpose, a soul, and an afterlife that is off-limits to non-humans.
To justify these claims, morality is co-opted by religion. Morality is seen as a gift from the gods; a piece of their ultimate perfection that can be assimilated. In so doing, we become more like a god, and less like the animals beneath us.
We become special, superior, and closer to our archetypal image of perfection. All other life becomes inferior, immoral, imperfect, and immaterial.
Through religion we display our propensity for attributing the most perfect aspects of our lives to something that is perfect in origin. Morality and love are deemed to be sent from the gods because we want these human traits to be perfect. It is our way of enhancing ourselves; a form of self-apotheosis.
This may appear to be a selfish and disrespectful belief to hold, but it is one that satisfies our evolved desire for superiority over the species that compete with us for survival. Furthermore, it is a position that supposedly fits with the evidence. Animals will often kill indiscriminately for food, kill their own young, and leave their weaker offspring to die. However, it would be imprudent to say that animals are bereft of moral behavior.
Primates, lions, and other pack animals co-operate in groups, look after their own, and appear to feel pain and anguish at the loss of a family member or ally. The fact that our morality surpasses that of other species makes it easier to assume it has supernatural origins. Religious displays show the individual adheres to the morals of that religion. Religious Morality Increases Prestige To be thought of as a good person is to have an advantage in matters of trade and friendship. A typical example might be the question as to how to best treat a pregnant woman newly diagnosed with cancer of the uterus.
The usual treatment, removal of the uterus is considered a life saving treatment. However, this procedure would result in the death of the fetus. What action is morally allowable, or, what is our duty?
It is argued in this case that the woman has the right to self-defense, and the action of the hysterectomy is aimed at defending and preserving her life. The foreseeable unintended consequence though undesired is the death of the fetus. There are four conditions that usually apply to the principle of double effect: The nature of the act. The action itself must not be intrinsically wrong; it must be a good or at least morally neutral act.
The agent intends only the good effect, not the bad effect, even though it is foreseen. The distinction between means and effects. The bad effect must not be the means of the good effect, Proportionality between the good effect and the bad effect.
The good effect must outweigh the evil that is permitted, in other words, the bad effect. The Principle of Beneficence The ordinary meaning of this principle is that health care providers have a duty to be of a benefit to the patient, as well as to take positive steps to prevent and to remove harm from the patient. These duties are viewed as rational and self-evident and are widely accepted as the proper goals of medicine.
The goal of providing benefit can be applied both to individual patients, and to the good of society as a whole.
For example, the good health of a particular patient is an appropriate goal of medicine, and the prevention of disease through research and the employment of vaccines is the same goal expanded to the population at large.
It is sometimes held that nonmaleficence is a constant duty, that is, one ought never to harm another individual, whereas beneficence is a limited duty. A physician has a duty to seek the benefit of any or all of her patients, however, a physician may also choose whom to admit into his or her practice, and does not have a strict duty to benefit patients not acknowledged in the panel.
This duty becomes complex if two patients appeal for treatment at the same moment. Some criteria of urgency of need might be used, or some principle of first come first served, to decide who should be helped at the moment. Case 3 One clear example exists in health care where the principle of beneficence is given priority over the principle of respect for patient autonomy. This example comes from Emergency Medicine. When the patient is incapacitated by the grave nature of accident or illness, we presume that the reasonable person would want to be treated aggressively, and we rush to provide beneficent intervention by stemming the bleeding, mending the broken or suturing the wounded.
Discussion In this culture, when the physician acts from a benevolent spirit in providing beneficent treatment that in the physician's opinion is in the best interests of the patient, without consulting the patient, or by overriding the patient's wishes, it is considered to be "paternalistic. Here, the duty of beneficence requires that the physician intervene on behalf of saving the patient's life or placing the patient in a protective environment, in the belief that the patient is compromised and cannot act in his own best interest at the moment.
As always, the facts of the case are extremely important in order to make a judgment that the autonomy of the patient is compromised. Religion and morality have become increasingly private and individual affairs, formed by interaction between the human subject, his or her culture, and his or her conscience. Until the late Middle Agesa predominant idea in the West was that the cosmos and all of nature contain intrinsic rational principles which human beings can apprehend in order to understand how to form their political, moral, and legal affairs.
This " natural law " was an eternal order invested by the Creator in all reality. While it could be apprehended independently from religious revelation, natural law was thought to be consistent with deeper cosmological truths.
The Protestant tradition broke from this structure and adopted an Augustinian anthropology in which humans live in two realms simultaneously, the empirical reality of time and space and the transcendental sphere of the numinous experienced by faith alone. The claims of religion about the transcendent Divine cannot be verified or denied by empirical or rational investigations, and the location of religious experience is the individual's conscience.
Under the conditions of modernity, fueled by these Protestant ideas, it has become increasingly the case that claims can only enter legal discourse if they are universalizable and empirically testable. Law deals with discovery of facts and adjudication of testable claims—what the law "is" has an empirically verifiable character. Therefore, modern law as it has developed does not directly relate to claims of religious revelation, private intuition, or other sources of "ought-claims.
With the decline of natural law as a persuasive model, the human process by which law is created took on greater importance. If law can no longer be discovered in the nature of things, for modern people its authority comes from the legitimacy of the institutional procedures of the legal system, accorded by its subjects who have authorized it to have power on their behalf.
Positive law—that law which is posited or willed through the legislative process—has nearly become the exclusive focus of obedience and legitimacy. Positive law so conceived bears only historical relations to moral and religious culture, and any direct links are historically contingent once adopted into legal code. In modernity, the human ruler or community sanctions human law, using criteria of efficiency and utility to achieve social, economic, and political goals desired for any number of practical reasons.Morality, Religion and Law
Conceptions of political goals and legal rights are increasingly identified with individual preferences and prevention of harm, rather than transcendental or religious goods. The problem for law and politics under these new conditions is a crisis of legitimacy: Machiavelli's prince only needed to concern himself with the balance and preservation of power while exercising statecraft.
Thomas Hobbes —in his Leviathancarried this vision forward by claiming that the goal of self-preservation was the primary function of individuals who organized themselves into a legal state to achieve greater and lasting security. The right of nature, according to Hobbes, is the simple liberty each human has to use his or her own power, as desired, for the preservation of his or her life and to do anything which, according to his or her own judgment and reason, he or she conceives to be the most appropriate means to reach that goal.
Hobbes's break with the medieval worldview can be seen here since the greatest good for each individual is his or her own natural preservation, not flourishing as defined by a transcendental moral or religious good.
Hobbes argued that since the natural condition of humankind was a war of each against all, self-interested agents must recognize by reason that their surest possibility of achieving self-preservation can only come through transfer of their natural liberty to a common and ultimate authority who can adjudicate disputes, provide an established law, and create conditions of security for each individual. In Hobbes's view, humans are not naturally social as Aristotle had held; rather they enter society by convention, for the promotion of their own interest.
The social contract is the mechanism whereby individuals mutually and equally lay down their rights to every other citizen, forming a society which transfers their collective, natural liberty over to the coercive power of the sovereign.
Thus the will of the sovereign alone, authorized by the contract between citizens, creates the force of law. The legislating sovereign is not bound by nor aims toward transcendental moral or religious goods, nor does the civil law aim for anything other than external compliance. The sovereign must, however, institute order in the earthly kingdom.
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And, as Hobbes knew well, skirmishes over religious doctrines had caused many of the bloodiest conflicts in human history. To alleviate these conditions, he argued that the political sovereign must judge doctrinal disputes and shape a coherent and unified set of religious beliefs and practices for the political community, lest their squabbles cause civil unrest.
John Locke 's — Second Treatise on Government shaped a legal philosophy to support the English Revolution of and espoused perhaps the most influential theory of modern liberal democracy. He argued, against Hobbes, that the sovereign was bound by a criteria of transcendental justice known by natural reason.
Locke demonstrated the creation of civil society in a manner similar to Hobbes, basing its legitimacy in the state's role of protecting property rights and serving as a fair, common arbitrator of disputes.
However, Locke decreed that God appointed the government to restrain the partiality and violence of humans and to remedy the inconveniences of the state of nature. According to Locke, each individual recognizes by natural reason the fundamental law of nature: Under the social contractthe sovereign must legislate toward the common good of the collective members. The only legitimate end of state action is the peace, safety, and public welfare of the people.
If the legislator acts against the ends of security and preservation of the people, Locke contended that the people, using natural law as their guide, have the right to rebel and to establish the government anew, since an unjust or arbitrary sovereign would be in a state of war against them.
Civil authority is here limited to the preservation of material property and earthly security, not to the creation of a pietistic or moralistic state. Locke thereby rules out the ecclesiastical authority from having anything to do with the governance of common affairs. Further, he contends that, being free and equal, each individual should have freedom of conscience over his or her own thoughts and affairs.
In his Letter Concerning Toleration, Locke argues, also against Hobbes, that the care of souls, the management of estates or health, the choice of religious rituals, and private judgments about doctrine or political matters all belong to the individual, and toleration must therefore be accorded by the sovereign and fellow citizens for various patterns of life.
Locke does merge religious claims and law together, however. All human actions ought to be conformable to the law of nature, which he equivocates with both natural reason and the will of God.
The fundamental law of nature is a declaration of the basic good of the preservation of life, written into the very fabric of human life. No human law can be good or valid that cuts against this law. However, the criteria by which a law is judged remain exclusively rational. This is not a contradiction, since Locke assumes that the proper operation of natural reason—the gift of God—would yield a result that correlates with the intention of the Divine.
Locke also articulated two instances where the sovereign could interfere with an individual's personal beliefs. Locke argued that those who claim allegiance to a foreign prince should not be tolerated such as Catholic allegiance to the papacysince they would hold higher allegiance to someone other than the political sovereign of the territory.
Thus moral conscience can be intruded upon when obedience to the authority of the legislator is compromised.
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Secondly, Locke argued that atheists must not be tolerated. Locke holds that if belief in God is taken away, then the ability to hold promises, covenants, and oaths—the bonds of society itself—is made impossible.
But a more subtle and profound point is at stake, one that shows the extent of the relation of law and religious claims in Locke. Natural reason teaches that all humans, being equal, are not to be harmed in the pursuit of life, liberty, health, or property.
Locke does not argue that reason teaches that humans are equal. Rather, this conclusion derives from a religious claim that humans are the created property of God, sent to earth about God's business, and thus there can exist no subordination between humans that authorizes another's destruction or use. Humans are equal since they are created equal. At the very heart of Locke's arguments for the establishment of civil law is a fundamental religious claim about the human being.
In the German tradition, Immanuel Kant — argued that the civil law is created by rational, autonomous agents, who aim to institute a self-imposed structure to protect and guide their lives. Kant argued that the civil law achieves moral ends for all persons, yet the state must extract legal claims and institutions from particular religious and moral claims.
What Is the Relationship Between Religion and Morality?
For Kant, the civil condition institutes justice, which he defined as the universal moral end of making possible each individual's self-determination in a way that is consistent with the freedom of every other individual. The civil law is posited by the common sovereign who acts in a manner consistent with universal reason, promulgating law that all rational subjects could have agreed to for themselves.
The only direct goal of the civil state is the achievement of this coexistence of external free actions.