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Religion

According to Simon Blackburn, “For many people, ethics is not only tied up with religion, but is completely settled by it. Such people do not need to think too much about ethics, because there is an authoritative code of instructions, a handbook of how to live”¹. Some even assert that religion is necessary to live ethically.

Ethics in Buddhism are traditionally based on the perspective of Buddha or other beings who followed him. Moral instructions have been passed down through many traditions. The foundation of Buddhist ethics is no killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, or intoxicants².

Christian ethics stresses the need for love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness because of sin. Christian ethical principles are based on the teachings of the Bible³. Christian ethics are founded upon the concept of grace that transforms a person’s life and enable’s one to choose and act righteously³.

Hindu ethics are related to reincarnation, which is a way of expressing the need for reciprocity, as one may end up on someone else’s shoes in their next incarnation4. Selfless action for the benefit of others without thought for oneself is an important rule in Hinduism, known as the doctrine of karma yoga4. Kindness and hospitality are key Hindu values.

Greek philosophers influenced Alexandrian writers of religious ethics. More progress with the development of theoretical religious ethics emerged as Jewish people came into contact with the Hellenistic world. During the Maccabean time, contained in Tobit Chapter IV, is the first ethical will that gives a summary of moral teachings with the Golden Rule, “Do that to no man which thou hatest!”5.

 

References:

1. Simon, Blackburn (2001). Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 9.

2. Damien Keown. The Nature of Buddhist Ethics. Macmillan: 1992. Peter Harvey. An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics. Cambridge University Press: 2000.

3. Childress, (ed) James F; Macquarrie, (ed) John (1986). The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. p. 88.

4. Hindu Ethics. Retrieved from http://hinduonline.co/HinduReligion/AllAboutHinduism3.html

5. Stace, Walter T. The Concept of Morals. New York: The MacMillan Company: January 1990. p. 178-179. 

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