Ethical Dimension of Religion
To many people, the term ethical strikes a powerful meaning of moral principals, which tie in deeply with the roots of many religions. Each religion holds a different view on what is ethically right and depending on this, other dimensions of religion are shaped. The ethical dimension of religion encompasses moral conduct and living a good existence that lead toward the achievement of final liberation.
Ninian Smart, a pioneer in the field of religious studies and the author of the book, “Worldviews: Crosscultural Exploration of Human Beliefs,” breaks down the dimensions of the religions of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Islam, and many more. According to Smart, the depth to which morality plays a role in each religion depends on the distinctive beliefs in the “ideal human being.” Each religion defines their ideal self by a higher power; “The Christian looks to Christ and to the saints and heroes of the tradition. The Buddhist looks to the Buddha, the Muslim to Muhammad, the Hindu to Rama and Krishna and others, the Taoist to Lao-tse, and the Confucianist to Confucius” (Smart, 105). The influential ethical belief of utilitarianism has extremely impacted the Western culture with the underlying meaning of “whether something helps produce human happiness or reduce human suffering” (Smart, 105). Utilitarianism defines the core values that an individual contains which is often related to the way that human beings interact with each other, believed by some to be the meaning of existence.
There is a recent field of study in religion called “comparative religious ethics” which seeks to outline the distinctive ethical structures from all over the world with all different religions. The “comparative” action of this field of study works to “correlate moral values with kinds of doctrines, myths, and experiences” (Smart, 107). Generally speaking, all religions are similar in the sense that they follow basic rules of...
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