Friday, 24 October 2014

Morality 3 - Religious Morality

Higher RMPS Podcast
Religious Morality

This is available as an MP3 or to download as a podcast through iTunes
for Desktop and Apple devices, as well as PodcastHD for Android Devices.

We often read in the news about Christian protests at Abortion Clinics or Buddhists protesting about China’s rule.  How do religious people make these moral decisions?  The bible does not declaratively mention abortion, nor does the Tripiṭaka mention the protesting of foreign government rule; how then should religious people make these kind of moral decisions?  Where do they gain guidance on these kinds of issues? 

Religious Leaders 
Followers will often seek guidance on specific issues from Priests, Monks, Rabbis, Imams, and other religious leaders.  These individuals are well versed in the writings and teachings of their faith.  Part of their role is to help and guide others.  If a follower was faced with a difficult moral decision they could ask their leaders for guidance.  Their advice will be based on good acts are those that God have said are good. 

Sacred Writings
These are religious texts that followers read for guidance.  They offer teachings on moral issues to help followers decide what is right and wrong.  Through direct instruction, stories, and song, Sacred Writings show followers how to act.  They try and show characters that are relatable so follows know that anyone, regardless of their flaws, can be good people.  Many believe that the writings are the inspired word of God, some believe that it is the literal work of God.  Many Eastern religious use the writings of founding figures.

Religious follows use Religious Leaders and Sacred Writings to help them decide how to act in moral dilemmas.  However, there are also three things that religious morality is based on: Faith, Tradition, and Reason.

Faith is believe in the unseen.  To have faith in something is to have complete trust or confidence in someone or something.  Religious followers have faith in God, Gods, or faith in what they are doing is good.  Without faith reading Sacred Writings is pointless, you have to believe what you are reading or listening to is true otherwise your faith isn’t genuine.  Followers must believe in God and that the Sacred Writings come from God.  Followers must have faith in those guiding them in matters of faith such as religious leaders and other followers.

Religions can have various denominations within it.  Each can have their own beliefs, practices, and sacred writings.  They accept their faith as it has been passed down through the ages as traditions.  In some religions, rules on how to act in certain situations have been established and followed as part of their tradition.  Sometimes it is the right thing to do because it is what their faith has commanded for centuries. 

The collection of texts that make up the Holy Bible were originally spoken stories that were then written down in Ancient Hebrew; they were then translated to Koine Greek, then to Latin, then to Old English, and finally then to modern English.  Sacred Writings need to be translated from the original language to English.  This requires reason to ensure the translation is accurate.  Reason is the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgements logically.  Ancient Hebrew has no vowels, therefore the word ‘cat’ would be written as ‘ct’.  Translators must use reason to ensure they get ‘cat’ and not ‘cot’ or ‘cut’.  Some beliefs will also be particular to a time in history or a specific situation; followers must use reason to try and understand how texts written at a different time and social context can be applied to their current situations.

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