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Heteronomy. The Relationship Between Morality and Religion. Heteronomy. Morality depends on religious belief (no religion = no morals) Religious people make moral decisions using their individual reason and conscience .

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heteronomy

Heteronomy

The Relationship Between Morality and Religion

heteronomy2
Heteronomy
  • Morality depends on religious belief (no religion = no morals)
  • Religious people make moral decisions using their individual reason and conscience.
  • This is influenced by religious belief through: Scripture, Tradition and Religious Figures and Leaders
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Example: When a Catholic would consider euthanasia, they would be influenced by the teachings of their religion (e.g. the Bible, Pope, etc). Their decision would not be the result of purely inward reflection, but the result of their reason combines with the religious rules they follow. They would probably decide against euthanasia.
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The argument from Heteronomy is strong because:
  • Society has historically been more religious than not. In Britain, much of our laws and customs come out of Christianity.
  • Whenever we talk about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ we are using words that have been shaped (in Britain) by the historic religion of Christianity – in other countries their notions of good and bad also reflect their historical dominant religion.
  • Therefore, some argue that although people in the West may be more secular today, they are using morality borne out of religion!
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Also, the aim of most religions is in some way to overcome selfishness.
  • Philosophers argue that people are intrinsically selfish beings.
  • Without religious influences (current and historically) there could arise no moral framework that combats selfishness.
  • There would be no ‘rules’ like ‘treat others as you wish to be treated’ etc.
  • If you are a religious person, you also have the extra motivation to behave morally to please your God or avoid punishment by her.