Religion and Morality

Philosophy 342: Philosophy of Religion
Dr. Jackie Kegley
Religion and Morality
Some Basic terms, Definitions and Distinctions
A. Mores, Morality, and Ethics
1. Mores- what is in fact- descriptive.
2. Moral –what should be-prescriptive.
3. Morality – systems of rules and principles and justification.
4. Ethics - branch of philosophy concerned with developing
justified systems of morality, justified principles of moral
5. Ethical theory seeks to answer three basic questions:
a) “What things are good in themselves?” – (This is seen as
an intrinsic good (good in itself) and not an extrinsic good
(means to other goods)
b) “When is an action judged morally right or wrong?principles or criteria.
c) “When is a person held to be morally responsible?”assumption of “free will.”
6. Relativism- is the idea that what is right and wrong depends on
and is determined by one’s group or culture.
7. Subjectivism is the view that what is morally right and wrong is
just a matter of one’s subjective opinion.
B. Types of Ethical Theories and Principles
1. Utilitarianism- maximize happiness, minimize pain.
2. Deontological theory, which is a theory which stresses
principles or rules.
3. Virtue Ethics- emphasized actions and character.
4. Ethics of Care- emphasizes relationships.
5. Divine Command Theory-following God’s will- what?
6. Basic Principles
a) Autonomy- the right of each individual to be respected as
an individual chooser of his/her own life plan as long as it
does not harm others.
b) Beneficence & Nonmaleficence- to do good for others
and to do no harm.
c) Justice - the fair distribution of the goods of society.
d) Truthfulness- tied to autonomy and respect for others.
Role of Religion in Relation to Morality
A. Religion identifies moral norms.
B. Religion legitimizes moral norms.
C. Religion motivates people to follow moral norms.
D. Religion motivates people to renew moral commitments.
E. Religion criticizes in light of higher moral norms.- King