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Religion and Social Resp: Lecture ONE

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Professor walter sisto

on 17 June 2016

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Transcript of Religion and Social Resp: Lecture ONE

MORALITY: LECTURE ONE
Two senses of Morality
What is Morality?
Morality is translated from moralitas
"manner, character, proper behavior"
System of values, beliefs, and rules we have to achieve happiness
We all have a morality
Normative Sense:
Do people live the way they should live?
Would you act morally if you knew that you would not be caught?
Lord of the Rings
Morality of Obligation Morality of Happiness
You would do whatever you wanted
We feel obliged to follow laws/rules to get rewards and avoid punishment
The moral life, i.e. following the rules, is not inherently connected to our happiness
Best Authority = Best rules
We want to get ahead
Following general moral rules is what we really want
Living morally is not an impediment to happiness; it is the correct response to natural human longing
"You made us for you, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." (St Augustine, Confessions, 1.1)

Question Two: Are they moral or immoral?
Is an action moral or immoral?
Where does our morality come from?
Who are the Authorities in our life?
Who Influences us?
No opting out of ethical doubling or morality and rules in life
We all embrace a morality with a set of rules
We all have a matrix of rules/principles by which we live
Morality of obligation
We are obliged to follow rules
We follow rules so that it will create opportunities for us to live well

Morality of happiness
Need rules
Especially when we are unclear about which action will help us to be happy
E.g. Children
Good rule is one that is constructive of true happiness
From these authorities we receive our rules or principles
We do not autonomously generate our moral rules
MORALITY: LECTURE TWO

When we judge whether an action is good of bad we must take into account the intention of the moral agent.
intention-Goal or Purpose which we direct ourselves
-They drive our action
-Make our actions meaningful
NOT....
.
Why does Intentionality Matter??
-Recognize the importance of HUMAN DIGNITY
"NO MAN IS AN ISLAND" Thomas Merton
We are social beings
We derive our morality from some social framework
This framework is composed of authorities (formal/informal)
Authorities in our life include parents, spouses, friends, political/religious leaders, facebook, Pinterest,teachers, etc....
We consciously/unconsciously invest certain people/institutions with authority
Authorities help us adjudicate between competing moralities or rules
-We evaluate them not simply on their status (obligation, happiness) but also if they can lead us to a better life (happiness)
Example: Abortion
Authorities:
Religion (5th Commandment), Scientists (when does human life begin?, when is the fetus sentient or when can it feel pain), Planned Parenthood (impact of legalization of abortion on women, especially the poor and racial minorities), Politicians (rights of the unborn versus the rights of the mother), Magisterium (Life is sacred from the moment of conception until natural death)
-What am I attached to?
-Do these attachments hinder my goals?
Section II:
Western Methods of Moral Decision Making
Utilitarianism
Form on Consequentialism
Jeremy Bentham (15 February 1748 – 6 June 1832
A good action is an act that creates the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people
Happiness=more pleasure than pain
Reject "natural Law"
Morality of happiness
Relativism
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein
Post-Modern ethical theory
(26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951
A good action is an act that makes the actor happy
Morality is relative to
your
context
There are no moral absolutes

Conscience
Conscience is.....
-"is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform"
-Crucial for seeing rightly in order to live rightly
-Ability to make moral judgments
-It is what we think is right in our "heart of hearts"
-alarm about what is the case



Challenged to form it in the best possible manner
Goal for Christian Morality = to have a well-formed conscience

ERGO>>>>WE NEED>>>>>>
- to be honest
Moral Realism:
-There are good and bad actions and therefore good and bad consciences
Erroneous Conscience
-in error but perhaps not blameworthy
-lack of moral responsibility, does not mean you are moral
(e.g., slavery, suicide bombing)

Are there any actions we/our society do/does that future generations will judge as barbaric?
Virtue Ethic/Ethics of Conscience
-traditional ethical theory in Christianity, especially in Catholicism (also see versions of it in judaism and Islam)
-Based in Aristotle
-excellence of moral character
-Good people make good decisions
-Cultivate Goodness
-Related to the Catholic Moral Theory
-Catholic Morality...to be continued
Section I: Introduction to Global and Christian Ethics

What would you do?
NOT THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Intentions shape who we are!!!
-give our actions meaning
Concerned with Human acts not acts of men and women (animal acts )

Human action
-proceed from deliberate free will of a human being
-intellect and will
Acts of men and women
-not dependent upon intellect and will
-e.g. breathing, sleep walking
-Acts of infants?
Lets Apply!!!
CASE STUDY: Homosexuality
and GAY MARRIAGE
What does the Catholic Church Teach?
Distinction:
1) a homosexual "tendency," which proves to be "transitory," and
2) "homosexuals who are definitively such because of some kind of innate instinct"(Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, 1975, no. 8).
"a homosexual orientation cannot be considered sinful, for morality presumes the freedom to choose." (USCCB, Always Our Children)
"First, it is God's plan that sexual intercourse occur only within marriage between a man and a woman. Second, every act of intercourse must be open to the possible creation of human life. Homosexual intercourse cannot fulfill these two conditions. Therefore, the Church teaches that homogenital behavior is objectively immoral, while making the important distinction between this behavior and a homosexual orientation, which is not immoral in itself."
-Recognize that a person is more than his/her sexual orientation
-Reject prejudicial or discriminatory attitudes and behaviors, e.g. stereotypes
-Obligation to defend gay men and women from injustice, oppression, and violence
-Welcome Gays into the community
-Cannot Marry
-Love and Truth go together
Some recent questions to consider:
1) Is it an injustice to deny homosexuals the right of marriage?
-Can we support civil gay marriage?
-Common good
-Slippery Slope
-"sexual orientation" not = to race or ethnicity (USCCB, Ministry to Persons with Homosexual Inclination)
2) Have we really considered and prayed about God's will for gays?
-Luke Timothy Johnson-views on gays like 18th century views on slavery
3) Can/Should the Church bless celibate gay relationships?
4) Can we change homosexual inclination?
-CC-scientific evidence is inconclusive
-Like all baptized gays are called to grow in virtue and practice chastity

Morality versus Ethics
Comparative Religious Ethics
-Different
important nuance

-Morality-ethical standards of a society/culture
-"The way things are is the way things they ought to be"
-lack of openness to different points of views (the stranger)
"sacred"

-Ethics-ability to call into question the ethical standards of a society or religion
-"The way things ought to be calls into question the way things are"
-Hospitality to stranger
-"holy"
"criticize and transform the morality of a society, raising it to a new level, one that includes justice for the least of its members"

Goal: To create a global ethics; one that will vouchsafe human dignity across culture and religion
Christian/Jewish/Islamic Morality
-Ethics = Morality
-Natural law approach (Christian)
-stress is leading a good life as opposed to being prophetic
-not negate openness to other
- morality (sacred) should include ethics (holy)

2 events that shape ethics today in Western Society



-
Collapse of "metanarratives"
-great story human beings have told to make sense of their lives, contexts, and history


"Our capacity for doubling (primary) is always actualized in some specific role (secondary)"
Nazi Doctor
Immoral Doubling
2 practices: save german lives and kill german jews
-Recognized actions as evil (primary)
-Justification: "following orders"
-servant of the state (secondary)
Responsible?
VERSUS
Dorothy Day
Moral doubling
-recognize injustice (primary)
-protest on behalf of those affected by it
-social justice advocate (secondary)
Religion and Social Responsibility: Lecture One
Question one: Why do they help her? (Obligation? It is the right thing to do?)
What are the authorities in your life?
Goals:
-Drawing from various religious traditions, we want to enable you to better utilize your practical reasoning so as to live more virtuous lives
-Gain expertise in Virtue ethics (Western)
-Understand an appreciate various perspectives on ethics and ethical issues from several religious traditions (Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist)
Morality is therefore not simply concerned with abortion, LBGT marriage, capital punishment, environmental degradation, but also the mundane.
-How do we pursue our health, financial/career success?
-How do we talk about others?
-What are our priorities?
-Challenge widespread indifference to Social Issues
The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference;
the opposite of beauty is not ugliness, but indifference;
the opposite of learning is not ignorance, but indifference;
Hatred cannot be anything but evil.
Hatred contaminates me.
We cannot give in to hatred;
To preserve humanity we must fight indifference.


"An eye for an eye may leave all of us dead!" (MLK)
Genocide
Techno-bureaucratic MADness
Disillusionment with "Modernity"
example: Myth of "history of progress" (Marx, Hegel)

FAILED!!!!!!
Birth of POST-MODERN CONSCIOUSNESS
-Pluralistic society of strangers, define ourselves in relationship to the other
-reconfigure the role of metanarratives (genesis account of creation, male storytelling in eastern and western religions)
-society is not simply a direct expression of sacred cosmic order
-must include human cultural creations
-develop overtime
Historical Consciousness as opposed to classical consciousness
Doubling: How we do ethical thinking
Metacognitive thinking- thinking about thinking/actions

-stand apart from ourselves and look at our actions
-
Primary Doubling
-see our actions objectively, as a stranger
-
Secondary Doubling
-we assume a social role/identity through which we look at ourselves as we act in our role
e.g. doctor, student, teacher
According to many of the great religious traditions
You must always follow your conscience (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1790)
“In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.” (Gandhi)

-We do not always act in accord with it
"I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. " (Rom 7:15)
How do I get a well-formed conscience?
-Lifelong process
-See the world as honestly as we can
-See the world from the perspective of the "stranger"
-Seek the virtuous life, openness to new information, to God
-Use our reason, seek Good will, and the wisdom of the Creator
-Realization that we may have an erroneous conscience
Deontology
-Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804)
-Act only according to that maxim by which you can also will that it would become a universal law.
Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end.
These two axioms are categorical imperatives/ DUTY
You need to will/intend this duty and always comply with it even if it produces bad consequences

morality of obligation--authority is practical reason
Descriptive sense:
We all have an identifiable way of living our life
ex. Christian values, Secular values, Sharia,
Elie Wiesel
-lack of concern for human dignity
Ottoman Empire
Full transcript