Reflective Essay Religion

Socrates makes it clear that he does not believe these stories, because they attribute immorality to the gods.

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But the claim that justice operates at both the divine and human levels is common ground. 470–399) in one of the early dialogues debates the nature of the holy with Euthyphro, who is a religious professional.

Euthyphro is taking his own father to court for murder, and though ordinary Greek morality would condemn such an action as impiety, Euthyphro defends it on the basis that the gods behave in the same sort of way, according to the traditional stories.

The entry will not try to enter deeply into the ethical theories of the individual philosophers mentioned, since this encyclopedia already contains individual entries about them; it will focus on what they say about the relation between morality and religion. But etymologically, the term ‘moral’ comes from the Latin , which means roughly the same thing, and is the origin of the term ‘ethics’.

The term ‘morality’ as used in this entry will not be distinguished from ‘ethics.’ Philosophers have drawn various contrasts between the two at various times (Kant for example, and Hegel, and more recently R. In contemporary non-technical use, the two terms are more or less interchangeable, though ‘ethics’ has slightly more flavor of theory, and has been associated with the prescribed practice of various professions (e.g., medical ethics, etc.). The origin of the word is probably the Latin , to bind back.

So what does the relation between morality and religion look like in Homer?

The first thing to say is that the gods and goddesses of the Homeric poems behave remarkably like the noble humans described in the same poems, even though the humans are mortal and the gods and goddesses immortal.The present entry will not try to step beyond these confines, since there are other entries on Eastern thought (see, for example, the entries on Ethics in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism and Chinese Ethics).The entry proceeds chronologically, giving greatest length to the contemporary period.When Anaximenes (around 545) talks of air as the primary element differing in respect of thinness and thickness, or Heraclitus explains all change as a pattern in the turnings of fire igniting in measures and going out in measures, they are not giving stories with plot-lines involving quasi-human intentions and frustrations (DK 13, A 5, DK 22, B 30).But it is wrong to say that they have left religion behind.‘To god all things are beautiful and good and just but humans suppose some things to be just and others unjust’ (DK 22, B 102).He ties this divine wisdom to the laws of a city, ‘for all human laws are nourished by the one divine law’ (DK 22, B 114), though he does not have confidence that ‘the many’ are capable of making law.From the beginning of the Abrahamic faiths and of Greek philosophy, religion and morality have been closely intertwined.This is true whether we go back within Greek philosophy or within Christianity and Judaism and Islam.This does not, however, give us a single essence of religion, since the conceptions of divinity are so various, and human relations with divinity are conceived so variously that no such essence is apparent even within Western thought.The ancient Greeks, for example, had many intermediate categories between full gods or goddesses and human beings. There were heroes who were offspring of one divine and one human parent.


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