Morality and religion - Wikipedia
Can an ethics of belief be preserved if one dispenses with the . his Religions, Reasons and Gods: Essays in Cross-Cultural Philosophy of Religion). . For recent work on God's relation to time, see work by Katherin Rogers. In this essay I will talk about this question Do we need God to Other people believe that someone may have been bad before they believed in god then when . This paper will explore the relationship between religion and morals. Specifically, this paper will explore whether or not one would need t.
Tragedy is an admirable resource in such a case. It serves to humanize the temper, by supplying feigned objects of pity, which have nearly the same effect to exercise the passion that real objects have. And thus, we are carried by a natural impulse to deal deep in affliction, occasioned by representations of feigned misfortunes; and the passion of pity alone would throng such representations, were there nothing else to attract the mind, or to afford satisfaction.
It is owing to curiosity, that public executions are so much frequented. Sensible people endeavour to correct an appetite, the indulging of which produces pain; and upon reflection is attended with no degree of self-approbation. Hence it is, that such spectacles are the entertainment of the vulgar chiefly, who allow themselves blindly to be led by curiosity with little attention whether it will contribute to their good or not. With respect to prize-fighting and gladiatorian shews, nothing animates and inspires us more than examples of courage and bravery.
We catch the spirit of the actor, and turn bold and intrepid as he appears to be. On the other hand, we enter into the distresses of the vanquished, and have a sympathy for them in proportion to the gallantry of their behaviour. No wonder then that such shews are frequented by persons of the best taste. We are led by the same principle that makes us fond of perusing the lives of heroes and of conquerors. And it may be observed by the bye, that such spectacles have an admirable good effect in training up the youth to boldness and resolution.
In this therefore I see not that foreigners have reason to condemnthe English taste. Spectacles of this sort deserveen couragement from the state, and to be made an object of public police. As for gaming, I cannot bring myself to think that there is any pleasure in having the mind kept in suspense, and as it were upon the rack, which must be the case of those who venture their money at games of hazard. Inaction and idleness are not by far so hard to bear.
I am satisfied that the Edition: Nor is it a solid objection, That people will neglect games of skill and address, to venture their money at hazard; for this may be owing to indolence, diffidence, or impatience.
There is indeed a curious speculation with regard to this article of gaming, that pleasure and pain attend good and bad success at play, independent of the money lost or win.
It is plain, that good luck raises the spirits, as bad luck depresses them, without regard to consequences: To what principle in our nature that concern is owing, I leave to be investigated by others, as it is not necessarily connected with the subject of the present Essay. I lay hold of the present edition to investigate the point left open in the former. This earth produces little for the use of man but what requires the preparation both of art and industry; and man, by nature artful and industrious, is well fitted for his situation.
Were every thing furnished to his hand without thought or labour, he would sink below the lowest of the brute creation. I say, below, because the lowest creature perfect in its kind, is superior to a creature of whatever kind that is corrupted. Self-love moves us to labour for ourselves; benevolence to labour for others. And emulation is added to enforce these principles. Emulation is visible even in children, striving for victory without knowing what moves them. Instriving for fame, power, riches, emulation makes a splendid figure: It is true, that the pleasure of victory without a view to gain, is extremely faint; and it pains me to observe that the desperate risks voluntarily submitted to in games of chance, are mostly, if not intirely instigated by avarice.
Foundation and Principles of Moralityi introduction Superficial knowledge produces the boldest adventurers, because it gives no check to the imagination when fired by a new thought. Shallow writers lay down plans, contrive models, and are hurried on to execution by the pleasure of novelty, without considering whether, after all, there be any solid foundation to support the spacious edifice. It redounds not a little to the honour of some late inquirers after truth, that, subduing this bent of nature, they have submitted to the slow and more painful method of experiment; a method that has been applied to natural philosophy with great success.
The accurate Locke, in the science of logics, has pursued the same method, and has been followed by several ingenious writers. The mistress-science alone is neglected; and it seems hard that less deference should be paid to her than to her hand-maids.The Morality of Shadow of the Colossus
Every author gives a system of morals, as if it were his privilege to adjust it to his own taste and fancy. Regulations for human conduct are daily framed, without the least consideration, whether they arise out of human nature, or can be accommodated to it. And hence many airy systems, that relate not to man nor to any other being.
Religion and Morality
Authors of a warm imagination and benevolent temper, exalt man to the angelic nature, and compose laws for his conduct, so refined as to be far above the reach of humanity. Others of a contrary disposition, forcing down all men to a level with the very lowest of their kind, assign them laws more suitable to brutes than to rational beings.
In abstract science, writers may more innocently indulge their fancies. The worst that can happen is, to mislead us in matters where error has little influence on practice.
But they who deal in moral philosophy ought to be cautious; for their errors seldom fail to Edition: The exalting of nature above its standard, is apt to disgust the mind, conscious of its weakness, and of its inability to attain such an uncommon degree of perfection. The debasing of nature tends to break the balance of the affections, by adding weight to the selfish and irregular appetites.
Beside these bad effects, clashing opinions about morality are apt to tempt men who have any hollowness of heart, to shake off all principles, and to give way to every appetite: These considerations give the author of this essay a just concern to proceed with the utmost circumspection in his inquiries, and to try his conclusions by their true touchstone, that of facts and experiments. Had this method been strictly followed, the world would not have been perplexed with that variety of inconsistent systems, which unhappily have rendered morality a difficult and intricate science.
An attempt to restore it to its original simplicity and authority, must be approved, however short one falls in the execution. Writers differ about the origin of the laws of nature, and they differ about the laws themselves. As the author is not fond of controversy, he will attempt a plan of the laws of nature, drawn from their proper source, laying aside what has been written on this subject.
Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion - Online Library of Liberty
Foundation of Morality In searching for the foundation of the laws of our nature, the following reflections occur. In the first place, two things cannot be more intimately connected than a being and its actions: Such as the being is, such must its actions be.
In the next place, the several classes into which nature has distributed living creatures, are not more distinguishable by an external form, than by an internal constitution, which manifests itself in an uniformity of conduct, peculiar to eachspecies. In the third place, any action conformable to the common nature of the species, is considered by us as regular and proper. It is according to order, and according to nature.
But if there exist a being of a constitution different from that of its kind, the actions of this being, though conformable to its Edition: We shall have a feeling of disgust, as if we saw a man with two heads or four hands. These reflections lead us to the foundation of the laws of our nature. They are to be derived from the common nature of man, of which every person partakes who is not a monster. As the foregoing observations make the groundwork of all morality, it may not be improper to enlarge a little upon them.
Looking around, we find creatures of very different kinds, both as to external and internal constitution.
Each species having a peculiar nature, ought to have a peculiar rule of action resulting from its nature. We find this to hold in fact; and it is extremely agreeable to observe, how accurately the laws of each species are adjusted to the frame of the individuals which compose it, so as to procure the conveniencies of life in the best manner, and to produce regularity and consistency of conduct.
To give but one instance: Among solitary creatures, who have no mutual connection, there is nothing more natural nor more orderly, than to make food one of another.
But for creatures in society to live after that manner, must be the effect of jarring and inconsistent principles. No such disorderly appearance is discovered upon the face of this globe.
There is, as above observed, a harmony betwixt the internal and external constitution of the several classes of animals; and this harmony affords a delightful prospect of deep design, effectively carried into execution. The common nature of every class of beings is perceived by us as perfect; and if, in any instance, a particular being swerve from the common nature of its kind, the action produces a sense of disorder and wrong. In a word, it is according to order, that the different sorts of living creatures should be governed by laws adapted to their peculiar nature.
We consider it as fit and proper that it should be so; and it is beautiful to find creatures acting according to their nature. The force of these observations cannot be resisted by those who admit of final causes.
We make no difficulty to pronounce, that a species of beings who have such or such a nature, are made for such or such an end. A lion has claws, because nature made him an animal of prey. A man has fingers, because he is a social animal made to procure food by art not by force. It is thus we discover for what end we were designed by nature, or the Author Edition: And the same chain of reasoning points out to us the laws by which we ought to regulate our actions: Moral Sense Having made out that the nature of man is the foundation of the laws that ought to govern his actions, it will be necessary to trace out human nature, so far as regards the present subject.
If we can happily accomplish this part of our undertaking, it will be easy, in the synthetical method, to deduce the laws that ought to regulate our conduct.
And we begin with examining in what manner we are related to beings and things around us; a speculation that will lead to the point in view.
As we are placed in a great world, surrounded with beings and things, some beneficial, some hurtful; we are so constituted, that scarce any object is indifferent to us: This is the most remarkable in objects of sight, which affect us in a more lively manner than objects of any other external sense.
Thus, a spreading oak, a verdant plain, a large river, are objects that afford delight. A rotten carcase, a distorted figure, create aversion; which, in some instances, goes the length of horror. With regard to objects of sight, whatever gives pleasure is said to be beautiful: The terms beauty and ugliness, in their proper signification, are confined to objects of sight. And indeed such objects, being more highly agreeable or disagreeable than others, deserve well to be distinguished by a proper name.
But, as it happens with words that convey a more lively idea than ordinary, the terms are applied in a figurative sense to almost every thing that gives a high relish or disgust. Thus, we talk of a beautiful theorem, a beautiful thought, and a beautiful passage in music.
And this way of speaking has become so familiar, that it is scarce reckoned a figurative expression. Objects considered simply as existing, without relation to any end orany designing agent, are in the lowest rank or order with respect to beauty and Edition: But when external objects, such as works of art, are considered with relation to some end, we feel a higher degree of pleasure or pain. Thus, a building regular in all its parts, pleases the eye upon the very first view: A similar sensation arises in observing the operations of a well-ordered state, where the parts are nicely adjusted to the ends of security and happiness.
This perception of beauty in works of art or design, which is produced not barely by a sight of the object, but by viewing the object as fitted to some use, and as related to some end, includes in it what is termed approbation: Approbation and disapprobation are not applicable to the lowest class of beautiful and ugly objects.
To say, that we approve a sweet taste, or a flowing river, is really saying no more but that we are pleased with such objects. But the term is justly applied to works of art, because it means more than being pleased with such an object merely as existing. It imports a peculiar beauty, which is perceived, upon considering the object as fitted to the use intended. It must be further observed to avoid obscurity, that the beauty which arises from the relation of an object to its end, is independent of the end itself, whether good or bad, whether beneficial or hurtful: When we take the end itself under consideration, there is discovered a beauty or ugliness of a higher kind than the two former.
A beneficial end strikes us with a peculiar pleasure; and approbation belongs also to this feeling. Thus, the mechanism of a ship is beautiful, in the view of means well fitted to an end. But the end itself, of carrying on commerce and procuring so many conveniencies to mankind, exalts the object, and heightens our approbation and pleasure. By an end, I mean what it serves to procure and bring about, whether it be an ultimate end, or subordinate to something farther.
Considered with respect to its end, the degree of its beauty depends on the degree of its usefulness. Let it be only kept in view, that as the end or use of a thing is an object of greater dignity and importance Edition: These three orders of beauty may be blended together in many different ways, to have very different effects.
If an object in itself beautiful be ill fitted to its end, it will, upon the whole, be disagreeable. This may be exemplified in a house regular in its architecture and beautiful to the eye, but incommodious for dwelling. If there be in an object an aptitude to a bad end, it will, upon the whole, be disagreeable, though it have the second modification of beauty in perfection.
Philosophy of Religion
A constitution of government formed with the most perfect art for enslaving the people, may be an instance of this. If the end be good but the object not well fitted to the end, it will be beautiful, or ugly, as the goodness of the end, or unfitness of the means, is prevalent.
Of this instances will occur at first view, without being suggested. The foregoing modifications of beauty and deformity, apply to all objects, animate and inanimate. A voluntary agent produceth a peculiar species of beauty and deformity, which may be distinguished from all others. The actions of living creatures are more interesting than the actions of matter. The instincts and principles of action of the former, give us more delight than the blind powers of the latter; or, in other words, are more beautiful.
No one can doubt of this fact, who is in any degree conversant with the poets. In Homer every thing lives: And we are sensible, that nothing animates a poem more than the frequent use of this figure. Hence a new circumstance in the beauty and deformity of actions, considered as proceeding from intention, deliberation, and choice.
This circumstance, which is of the utmost importance in the science of morals, concerns chiefly human actions: Human actions are not only agreeable or disagreeable, beautiful or deformed, in the different views above mentioned, but are further distinguished in our perception of them, as fit and meet to be done, or as unfit and unmeet.
These are simple perceptions, capable of no definition. But let any man attentively examine what passeth in his mind, when the object of his thought is an action proceeding from deliberate intention, and he will soon discover the meaning of these words, and the perceptions which they denote. Let him reflect upon Edition: Such conduct will not only be agreeable to him, and appear beautiful, but will be agreeable and beautiful, as fit and meet to be done.
He will approve the action in that quality, and he will approve the actor for his humanity and disinterestedness.
This distinguishing circumstance intitles the beauty and deformity of human actions to peculiar names: Hence the morality and immorality of human actions; founded on a faculty termed the moral sense.
It gives no clear notion of morality, to rest it upon simple approbation, as some writers do. I approve a well constructed plough or waggon for its usefulness.
I approve a fine picture or statue for the justness of its representation; and I approve the maker for his skill. I approve an elegant dress on a fine woman; and I approve her taste. But such approbation is far from being the same with that which is occasioned by human actions deliberately done in order to some end.
If the end be beneficial, the action is approved as right and fit to have been done: None of these qualities are applicable to the instances first given. In these every circumstance concurs: Thus we find the nature of man so constituted, as to approve certain actions, and to disapprove others; to consider some actions as fit and meet to be done, and others as unfit and unmeet.
What distinguisheth actions to make them objects of the one or the other perception, will be explained in the following chapter. And with regard to some of our actions, another circumstance will be discovered, different from what have been mentioned, sounding the well known terms of duty and obligation, directing our conduct, and constituting what in the strictest sense may be termed a law.
With regard to other beings, we have no data to discover the laws of their nature, other than their frame and constitution. We have the same data to discover Edition: And one thinge xtremely remarkable will be explained afterwards, that the laws which are fitted to the nature of man and to his external circumstances, are the same that we approve by the moral sense.
Duty and Obligation Though these terms are of the utmost importance in morals, I know not that any author hath attempted to explain them, by pointing out those principles or perceptions which they express. This defect I shall endeavour to supply, by tracing these terms to their proper source, without which the system of morals cannot be complete; because these terms point out to us the most precise and essential branch of morality.
For this term plainly implies somewhat indispensable in our conduct; what we ought to do, what we ought to submit to. Now, a man may be considered as foolish for acting against his interest; but he cannot be considered as wicked or vitious. But though he states this as a proposition to be made out, he drops it in the subsequent part of his work, and never again brings it into view.
But this account of morality is also imperfect, as it makes no distinction between duty and simple benevolence. It is scarce applicable to justice; for the man who, confining himself strictly to it, is true to his word and avoids harming others, is a just and moral man, is in titled to some share of esteem; but will never be the object of love or friendship. He must show a disposition to the good of mankind, of his friends at least and neighbours, he must exert acts of humanity and benevolence; before he can hope to procure the affection of others.
But it is chiefly to be observed, that in this account of morality, the terms obligation, duty, ought and should, have no distinct meaning; which shows, that the entire foundation of morality is not taken in by this author.
It is true, that toward the close of his work, he attempts to explain the meaning of the term obligation; but without success. Duty however belongs to the latter only; and no Edition: 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.
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. The egoistically motivated prosociality may also affect self-reports, resulting in biased results. Peer ratings can be biased by stereotypes, and indications of a persons group affiliation are sufficient to bias reporting.
Even for people who were nonreligious, those who said they attended religious services in the past week exhibited more generous behaviors. Religious people were less inclined when it came to seeing how much compassion motivated participants to be charitable in other ways, such as in giving money or food to a homeless person and to non-believers. A review of studies on this topic found "The existing evidence surrounding the effect of religion on crime is varied, contested, and inconclusive, and currently no persuasive answer exists as to the empirical relationship between religion and crime.
A study by Gregory S. Paul argues for a positive correlation between the degree of public religiosity in a society and certain measures of dysfunction,  however, an analysis published later in the same journal contends that a number of methodological and theoretical problems undermine any findings or conclusions taken from Paul's research.
Some works indicate that some societies with lower religiosity have lower crime rates—especially violent crime, compared to some societies with higher religiosity.