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The Relationship between Religion and Moral Values. Moral Autonomy. Moral autonomy is all about using reason to work out what is right and wrong and not simply follow a set of rules. It means doing things your own way. In fact autonomy literally means being a law unto yourself .

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moral autonomy
Moral Autonomy
  • Moral autonomy is all about using reason to work out what is right and wrong and not simply follow a set of rules.
  • It means doing things your own way. In fact autonomy literally means being a law unto yourself.
  • It means that your values are not linked to any kinds of religious belief or founded on any religious principles.
so how does moral autonomy work
So how does moral autonomy work?
  • Autonomy is based on reason.
  • Basically this means thinking things through and coming up with a decision.
  • It can involve thinking about…

General rules about right and wrong that can be applied to the situation.

  • How flexible our ideas about right and wrong should be.
  • Moral absolutism / moral relativism.
  • Self-interest / the interests of others.
  • The best action to take in this situation, at this time, for this person.
  • The best motivation.
  • The best outcome.
  • The best outcome for the majority even at the expense of the minority.
autonomy pros and cons
Autonomy: pros and cons
  • Using reason to make a moral decision is seen by many as the best way – because you take account of as many things as possible and make your decision based on all the facts while staying flexible about the choice you make.
  • Others think it is too flexible and reduces right and wrong to whims, likes and dislikes.
  • Does reason seem to you like a good way to make moral decisions?
autonomy put to the test
Autonomy put to the test
  • Aim to use reason to come up with a moral choice which everyone agrees with to the Baboonian dilemma.
  • Baboonia is a relatively new country that lies on the banks of the South Pacific River, just off Nepal.
the baboonian dilemma
The Baboonian dilemma
  • The government of Baboonia has decided that people are living too long. It can no longer afford to look after its ageing population. So, it come up with a solution. Everyone will have their every need provided for by the government up until the age of 30. Life will be sweet in every respect. No one will be cold, hungry or have to do without anything in life.
the baboonian dilemma continued
The Baboonian dilemma (continued)
  • The price which will have to be paid for this is that when you get to 30 you have to be killed.
  • Have the Baboonians got the right idea?
christianity on autonomy
Christianity on Autonomy
  • Totally depends on what kind of Christian you are.
  • Some say that autonomy is a problem and only God should be the source of moral decisions.
  • Others say that making decisions ourselves is what God wants us to do. Christians should use the Bible, community and traditions as well as reason to make decisions.
religious morality
Religious Morality
  • Heteronomy

: Moral values are grounded in religious belief.

moral heteronomy
Moral Heteronomy
  • Basing your moral decisions on a range of different things and not just acting as a law unto yourself.
  • This might involve working with others to arrive at a choices or basing your decisions on many sources of guidance or information.
moral heteronomy cont
Moral Heteronomy (cont.)
  • You still make the decisions for yourself but you do so in the context of some other sources of guidance from outside yourself.
  • You are more likely to appeal to an outside set of beliefs and morals, such as those found within religions.
christianity on heteronomy
Christianity on Heteronomy
  • Christians are comfortable with this. They would argue that God directs them towards doing the right thing through scriptures, prayer and other traditions.
  • Christians are also supported by the Christian community to help make decisions. This means Christians do not feel isolated and can get support.
  • How might thinking ‘What would Jesus do?’ be helpful /unhelpful for a Christian when making a moral decision?
question s
  • What is Moral Autonomy?
  • Do you think of yourself as morally autonomous?
  • What would a Christian think of someone who was a law unto themselves?
  • Explain the difference between moral autonomy and moral heteronomy?
religious morality1

Religious Morality

The interpretation of sacred writings guided by faith, tradition and/or reason.

  • There are many scriptures that religious people believe come from God(s).
  • These scriptures also tell followers what is right and what is wrong.
  • Many religious people disagree with each other because they feel that their scripture is divine.
  • As well as this there are many different interpretations of these scriptures within a religion.
  • This means to what extent the scriptures could be said to be TRUE (or inerrant).
  • Traditionalists/Literalists: the scripture is completely true with no errors.
  • Conservatives: the scripture is mostly true but there are some factual errors.
  • Liberalists: the scriptures are not to be seen as fact books. The lessons and meaning of the stories are the important thing.
christian scripture
Christian Scripture
  • Some Christians believe that the scriptures (OT & NT) were sent directly from God to those who wrote them down.
  • Other Christians think that they should be seen as a general guide to how to live and that some parts of the Bible are more important than others.
christian scripture 2
Christian Scripture 2
  • Some Christians worry about how scriptures are used: should you take it all as a whole or pick bits out?
  • Other Christians say that the Bible can be interpreted in many ways and they are meant to be understood in the context of the time, place and situation in which they were written.
christian scripture 3
Christian Scripture 3
  • Christian Scripture were written a long time ago (Bronze Age) when many issues could not have even been imagined.
  • This means Christians try to match up teachings to fit with modern dilemmas.
  • This will still leave you having to work a few things out for yourself.
christian scripture 4
Christian Scripture 4
  • The Guide / Unchangeable Set of Laws debate.
  • Jesus stuck to the laws of the Hebrew bible (OT), but also ‘bend’ the laws when he felt it made sense to do so.
  • Also, what’s in Christian scriptures and what is not isn’t agreed on by all Christians.
christian scripture 5
Christian Scripture 5
  • To resolve this many Christians use scripture but also compare it with their reason and check with their religious leaders or other Christians.
viewpoints independent of religious belief
Viewpoints Independent of Religious Belief
  • No sacred scriptures! No god(s)!
  • There are written texts which act as a starting point to help people make decisions about right and wrong.
  • For example, Utilitarians refer to the works of Bentham and Mill.
viewpoints independent of religious belief 2
Viewpoints Independent of Religious Belief 2
  • Documents like the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights can give people a start in moral decision-making.
  • Remember though: there’s no need to follow anything that’s written and no writing can ever take the place of personal choice about morality.