• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Relationship Between Religion and Morality.

Extracts from this document...


The Relationship Between Religion and Morality What is Morality? Morality (sometimes called "true morality" or "high morality") should be distinguished from those rules which are simply those which are considered necessary for the efficient running of a society. Such rules of a society are enshrined in law, custom and convention; and are supported and enforced by society through the legal system and public opinion. These rules are usually obeyed because of self-interest, a kind of "social contract" in which, for example, we agree not to steal from anyone else in the society if they agree not to steal from us. In very early societies these social rules were supported by religion, and presented as behaviour which the gods insisted humans obeyed. It is arguable that some (ie numbers 5-9) of the Ten Commandments (13th Century BCE) are just such social rules. However such a system of social rules may break down, particularly in a secular or pluralistic society. For example some people may consider that the society in which they live is unfair, and only benefits certain groups in it; or the legal system may be too inefficient to prevent other people stealing. ...read more.


and not to their doctrinal orthodoxy (ie whether they hold the traditional Christian beliefs). * True morality sprung up within religion. Arguably the first clear and unequivocal expression of true morality was the insistence by the Israelite prophet Amos in the 8th Century BCE that Yahweh (God) required honesty, truth and justice among his people more than religious observances (sacrifices, etc): "Even though you offer me [Yahweh] your burnt offerings...I will not accept them;...but let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream" (Amos 5.22-4). * No society developed morality without having developed religion first, and all morality was originally proclaimed in the name of religion. It could be asserted, therefore, that morality is a product of religion, and true morality can only derive from religion. * Conscience can be interpreted as the voice of God telling us what is right and wrong. * It can be argued that even when societies lose their interest in practising a religion, they still maintain the moral values which that religion originally instilled into the society. ...read more.


* Plato posited the "Euthyphro Dilemma" which raised the question that good must be independent of God, or there would be no way of knowing if God's commands were actually good or not. Can we come to some kind of conclusion? How you evaluate the above evidence, and the conclusion you come to about where the balance of the evidence lies is something you have to do for yourself; but you must do it honestly, thoughtfully and intelligently. You may like to consider the following thoughts: * All people have some kind of beliefs concerning the nature of humanity, what is of real importance and value, and what one should do with ones life. * Religious people will refer to these beliefs as their religion, and associate with groups of like-minded people who share the same religion. Atheists and agnostics will tend to refer to their beliefs as their philosophy of life, and may consider them a more individual matter. * These beliefs (whatever we call them) affect our behaviour, and we legitimately judge a person's philosophy of life by how it affects their moral decisions and actions. * So ones beliefs determine ones morality. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work