Almost all of the religions
of the world have strong moral standards.
Usually these patterns of behavior were said to be based on divine authority.
God was believed to be the source of instructions about right and wrong behavior.
And often these specific sets of moral prohibitions and requirements
were put into writing several centuries ago.
In the Judeo-Christian
the Ten Commandments are often thought to be the basic moral code.
But most people raised as Jews or Christians cannot name all 10 commandments.
Rather, they affirm their own morality based on these commandments.
As a matter of historical
fact, the various denominations
of Judaism and Christianity do have systems of morality,
which have developed over the centuries within each religious community
—sometimes loosely based on the Bible.
Morality based on established
rules often becomes very technical
because of the difficulty of applying ancient moral codes
to problems never imagined by the creators of those systems.
A fundamentally different
approach to morality
bases decisions on reasoned consideration of the alternatives.
Rational ethics does not begin with a set of defined standards.
All facts and opinions are relevant in the rational discussion of ethics,
including (paradoxically) moral beliefs based on religious authority.
When a culture must
create laws for public order,
the law-makers often take religiously-based morality into account.
But the law-makers have a responsibility for the whole society,
not just the followers of a particular religious system.
So they often do make laws that are not approved by some religious groups.
However, when laws contradict a certain moral system,
the adherents of that system are sometimes permitted an exception.
We will explore these
two fundamentally different bases
for moral behavior: rules and reason.
Those who attend this discussion will decide which specific moral issues
to examine thru the lens of rule-morality and rational ethics.
James Park is an existential
He is an advocate of rational ethics, which he applies to his own life.
Professionally he applies reason in the area of medical ethics,
which often encounters religiously-based rule-morality.
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