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Outline the reasons why it may be claimed that morality and religion are linked. Examine and comment on the reasons given for suggesting they are not linked in this way.

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Introduction

Outline the reasons why it may be claimed that morality and religion are linked. Examine and comment on the reasons given for suggesting they are not linked in this way. There are many reasons why one may believe that morality derives from religion. The golden rule of nearly every religion is to treat others as you would like to be treated, and this is evidence that morality is indeed at the heart of religion. The book of Leviticus teaches Jews and Christians to 'love thy neighbour as thyself', and the Hadith teaches Muslims that 'not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself'. Similar quotations are also evident in the religious texts for Hinduism, Jainism and Confucianism. Many religious believers have devoted their lives solely to the purpose of serving others, with Mother Theresa being a perfect example. Setting up a charity and working among the poverty-stricken children of Calcutta, Mother Theresa was most definitely an amazing example of a moral figure, and one someone many religious people strive to follow. Such saintly examples illustrate the point that moral goodness flourishes most when based on following a religion. It can also be argued that religion provides some extra motivation for acting upon morals. Religions preach that such behaviour will be rewarded, and hence this would give reason for a religious person to be moral. ...read more.

Middle

The Bible, for example, teaches Christians to follow the 10 Commandments, in which they are told not to murder, not to covet and not steal. These are indeed moral, and hence shows that following a religion establishes definite, clear morals within a believer. For Muslims, Zakah (one of the Five Pillars of Islam) is also very moral. Zakah, meaning both 'purification' and 'growth' involves Muslims giving a minimum of 2.5% of their earnings to charity, and such an expression of love and kindness is most definitely a moral one. With this and all the above reasons, then, it may be claimed with sure evidence the there religion and morality are linked. A reason that separates religion and morality would be the fact that so many non-believers are moral themselves. Humans have the ability to know what is right from wrong, and it is down to our own personal judgement to what choice we make, and we are able to make the right choice without being religious. Morality brings about feelings of happiness and inner-satisfaction, whereas immorality brings about regret and guilt. It can be argued that the world is becoming increasingly moral, with things such as the women's vote and more transnational charities rising, whereas the numbers of religious believers are thinning. However, this could be challenged by the fact that there has been dramatic increases in the number of crimes in the last several decades, and that actually as the world turns its back on religion, it also turns from morality. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fact that the religions disagree on different matters, such as Catholics and some Church of England churches on allowing gay ministers, there seems to be contrasting moral ideas, so how can any one religion be right? Muslims are totally against alcohol, as from the quote 'O you who believe, intoxicants... are abominations of the devil; you shall avoid them'. However, Christianity has no such teaching, and in fact Christians are told to drink wine in remembrance of Jesus Christ. So which should people follow, the Muslim moral of not consuming alcohol because of the dangerous effects it can have, or to follow the rule to drink in remembrance of Jesus Christ? Some would argue that as religions contradict each other, it is impossible to know which one is morally correct. However, in particularly the monotheist religions, it can be argued that on a basic level, many morals of the religions are the same. All teach fundamentally to love each other as yourself, and from this should stem every other moral. Although each of the religions differ slightly, one may still follow the basic morals set out by all, like not thieving, lying or stealing. The differences in denominations are mainly due to different interpretations of religious texts, but all denominations still follow a set of similar moral rules. Despite a religious person's religion, that person can still be moral, as all religions teach the basic right and wrong ideas, but only differ slightly in other teachings, such as the authenticity of Jesus Christ and dissimilarity in after-life beliefs. ...read more.

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