Are religion and morality linked?

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  • Are religion and morality linked?
    • No
      • A.J. Ayer- "No morality can be founded on authority, even if the authority were divine"
      • Leibniz- if things are good "sheerly by the will of God... He would be equally praiseworthy in doing the contrary"
      • James Rachels- "the right of an action must come from the fact that it is right in itself"
      • Alasdair MacIntyre- if people do moral acts simply to escape Hell, then the act may actually be selfish and corrupting
      • Bertrand Russell- religion "has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress"
      • What about the variety of religious beliefs, even within a single tradition?
      • Hume- "the errors in religion are dangerous"
      • Acting morally is reasonable for any harmony to exist
      • Perhaps human nature leads to morality and immorality, hence why even atheists can be moral. St. Augustine- "Evils exist by the voluntary sin of the soul to which God gave some choice"
      • Religion can be immoral- e.g. crusades, inquisitions,, slowing progress, challenging blood transfusions, transplants and IVF, and promoting intolerance
    • Yes
      • Dostoyevsky's 'The Brother Karamazor- Ivan- 'without God everything is permitted'
      • Kant- innate, guiding moral law points to God as the sense of the 'ought' in moral duty
      • Cardinal Newman- innate responsibility, shame and guilt are directed towards God and are linked with morality
      • H.P. Owens- moral rules are commands, God is the commander
      • D.Z. Phillips- "to a Christian, to do one's duty is to do the will of God"
      • Joseph Fletcher- God may want us to exercise our moral autonomy- as in Situation Ethics
      • The Catholic Church acknowledged the role of the conscience
      • Numerous religious moral figures, e.g Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King. The Church encourages scepticism towards the material world
      • Horrendous crimes when religion is oppressed- e.g. Nazi Germany, Stalin's Russia
      • J.L. Mackie suggests a dualism of practical reason- both being self-seeking and selfless can seem reasonable, so perhaps something pushes us into the latter...
      • Joseph Butler- the existence of religion and God makes being moral right regardless of interests- "Duty and interest are perfectly coincident"
      • An omniscient, omnibenevolent God would want our greatest benefit which is achieved through being moral, and we obey out of gratitude for Him having created us, and acknowledging His superiority


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