Religion and Morality (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Failures to observe the laws of the why of the morality–religion relationship in. Relationship between law and religion, morality and culture . and in both however law is inseparable dimension from social relations The Anglo- American. So what does the relation between morality and religion look like in He ties this divine wisdom to the laws of a city, 'for all human laws are.
There are many types of religious values. Modern monotheistic religions, such as IslamJudaismChristianity and to a certain degree others such as Sikhism define right and wrong by the laws and rules set forth by their respective gods and as interpreted by religious leaders within the respective faith.
Polytheistic religious traditions tend to be less absolute. For example, within Buddhismthe intention of the individual and the circumstances play roles in determining whether an action is right or wrong.
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For modern Westerners, who have been raised on ideals of universality and egalitarianism, this relativity of values and obligations is the aspect of Hinduism most difficult to understand. InPierre Bayle asserted that religion "is neither necessary nor sufficient for morality". For example, The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics says that, For many religious people, morality and religion are the same or inseparable; for them either morality is part of religion or their religion is their morality.
For others, especially for nonreligious people, morality and religion are distinct and separable; religion may be immoral or nonmoral, and morality may or should be nonreligious. Even for some religious people the two are different and separable; they may hold that religion should be moral and morality should be, but they agree that they may not be.
Religion and Morality
The proper role of ethical reasoning is to highlight acts of two kinds: For example, there is no absolute prohibition on killing in Hinduismwhich recognizes that it "may be inevitable and indeed necessary" in certain circumstances. In the latter case, a study by the Barna Group found that some denominations have a significantly higher divorce rate than those in non-religious demographic groups atheists and agnostics. The ethnocentric views on morality, failure to distinguish between in group and out group altruism, and inconsistent definition of religiosity all contribute to conflicting findings.
Furthermore, some studies have shown that religious prosociality is primarily motivated by wanting to appear prosocial, which may be related to the desire to further ones religious group. Such movements were more skeptical of human apprehension, reserving knowledge about justice to that received by revelation of the Divine Will.
The Hebraic tradition, typified by the Ten Commandmentswas structured around the community's faithful response to the laws of the God who created and sustained them. The Christian apostle Paul claimed that only through fideistic awareness of God's activity can true justice be revealed, and that only absolute reliance on faith alone as the means of grace could deliver one from evil.
For Augustine, the world of things below is for security only—to restrain evil—and the true focus of the believer's attention was the heavenly kingdom, known through faith alone. Human knowledge could not achieve any awareness of true justice.
There are many approaches to the study of the changing connections of these spheres of human life. Some theorists focus on philosophical accounts of the validity of legal, moral, and religious claims and concepts. Others emphasize the many structural similarities between law, morality, and religion, since each sphere claims authority and obedience over the lives of adherents, each reproduces itself through a tradition of concepts and rituals, and each claims universality and a comprehensive character.
Still others hope to articulate a religious or moral worldview which unites each of the spheres in some comprehensive fashion, often subordinating legal goals and processes to religious or moral claims. Whichever method is adopted, the fact remains that the social structure of law continues to develop as an increasingly isolated sphere.
Law in the West has grown more unified as an instrumental mode of social formationpurged of the supposedly extraneous elements of religious and moral culture.
At the same time, religion and morality, to their adherents, continue to be comprehensive in their claims about the proximate and ultimate goods for human life. But as a mode of culture, religion has exploded into countless, disconnected ways of life. One major problem for the relation between modern law, religion, and morality is whether these social spheres relate to each other any longer, and if so, how they relate.
Modern democratic legal systems usually accommodate some form of religious plurality and refrain from establishing or privileging any particular religious entity or practice through legal sanction. But these legal systems are often unable to account fully for the idea that religion is not just a distinct set of religious rituals, a defined community, and a discrete body of doctrines.
Religion is also a worldview, a set of ideas and beliefs of conscience about the nature of the world, that for many people shape all of their moral, economic, social, and personal affairs and choices.
Morality and religion - Wikipedia
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. 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. 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.
Religion and Morality
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.
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. 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.
The civil law does not have as its goal the moral betterment of the social agents nor religious community-building, but simply to provide the conditions upon which free agents could pursue these or other ends. Kant held that religion can provide important motivation for pursuing a moral life under the civil law, but this meant that religion must be elevated to its rational meaning, and its subjective and impassioned elements must be tamed by reason.
Law, Religion, and Morality in Modern Jurisprudence William Blackstone — strongly espoused natural-law theory in his Commentaries on the Laws of England — Human positive law must be subsumed under the natural order, and "no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this.
The penal laws of early America were above all concerned with reproducing moral order in society. Thus, laws often addressed the domain of conscience and were pietistic in scope—such as forbidding unmarried persons from keeping company, prohibiting kissing, laziness, or drunkenness; insistence on attending religious services; or disallowing blasphemy—besides more obvious crimes such as rape and incest. Tocqueville was most fascinated by the fact that these laws often were not arbitrarily imposed but freely adopted by the citizenry who wanted laws reflecting their religious mores.
But Blackstone's contemporary, David Hume —articulated skepticism about natural law that has held lasting influence over jurisprudence; his analyses of human nature and philosophy rendered all ideas of justice dependent upon invention, social custom, and habit. Jeremy Bentham — defined political society in a way that followed directly from Hume. Political society is formed when a number of subjects are in the habit of paying obedience to a person, or an assemblage of persons, the sovereign.
The command of the sovereign is law. In A Comment on the Commentaries, he directly refuted Blackstone's notion of natural law as a criterion by which positive law is to be judged. For Bentham, although a duly legislated law might be bad according to moral or religious criteria, it is still law. He argued that law should be based on the calculative capacity of the human mind to apprehend how the outcome of actions will maximize pleasure, and thereby chart a course of action that will end in relative happiness.