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Lecture 6

PHLB07 - Week 3, Lecture 6 Notes

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Kelin Emmett

PHLB07 - Week 3, Lecture 6 Weekly Readings: Euthyphro - Plato Morality, Religion, and Conscience - John Arthur Morality and Religion • Is morality dependent on religion? − If so, how? • Can someone be truly moral if they don't have religion? − Why would they be? − How would they know what to do? − How can they be confident that there really is a morally right thing to do? Morality, Religion, and Conscience - John Arthur Three ways, morality can be thought to depend on religion: • Motivations • Knowledge, understanding, and guidance • Objectivity Conceptually morality is distinct from religion: Neither is necessary or sufficient for the other Religion: • Belief in the supernatural. • Practices that pay respect to deity (ies). • Institutional forms and authoritative texts. Morality: • Notions of duty, rights, obligations; concepts of justice and fairness. • Standards of evaluation of behavior (both our own and others'). • Feelings of guilt, shame, regret. Moral Motivation The morally correct thing to do often entails personal costs. • Not cheating, especially if you are likely to get away with it. • Not returning a found wallet with money. • Telling the truth when you`re likely to get in trouble. Religion promises overall net reduction in costs, and so explains moral motivation. • Promise of eternal damnation salvation. • Some common understanding of `karma`. Moral Motivation But often we act on other motives, don't we? • To be well-liked • To avoid embarrassment • To make someone else happy • To simply do that right thing Moral Guidance Religion is necessary to provide moral knowledge and guidance: • How will we know what to do without religious revelation? Moral Guidance How will we know what to do even with religious guidance? • How do we know there's a God? • Which God? • Which revelations − Acts VS texts? Prophets? Which ones? • Which interpretations are the right ones? − How do we evaluate without appealing to underlying moral standards? − Our moral beliefs often guide our interpretation of revelation: Moral Guidance “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” —Mathew 19:23-4 (New International Version) • Bill Gates annual salary: $3,710,000,000.00 USD (app
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