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Comparative Religion

Religion And Morality (Ashgate Philosophy of Religion by William J. Wainwright

By William J. Wainwright

Addresses principal concerns bobbing up from religion's relation to morality. masking a vast diversity of themes, this ebook attracts on either old and modern literature, and explores afresh critical problems with morality and faith.

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Sample text

Newman’s answer appears to be: by determining what uses of our powers contribute to human flourishing. ” (Grammar 273) If it does, then our faculties are functioning as they should when they contribute to our well-being. Because a developed conscience is essential to human flourishing, a belief in God and a future judgment (which are natural effects of conscience) are expressions of properly functioning epistemic capacities. But granted that these capacities are natural, why regard them as reliable?

Shame incorporates a belief in the existence of someone’s (actual or potential) scorn or contempt. If the feelings are appropriate, then the beliefs incorporated in them must be true. Now the guilt and shame associated with conscience often lacks the right sort of human target. If these feelings are nonetheless appropriate, they must therefore have a nonhuman one. Yet why must the incorporated propositional attitude be belief? Why isn’t it sufficient to simply entertain the relevant proposition?

And no doubt this can be explained by saying that one’s attitudes incorporate a fictive other. But cases like these can also, and more accurately,15 be described by saying that one believes that the belief incorporated in one’s feelings of guilt or shame is false, and that one’s feelings are therefore irrational. Compare these feelings with another. My daughter’s fear of flying incorporates false beliefs about the dangers of flying. When she experiences momentary terror as the plane is about to take off, my daughter isn’t merely entertaining what she believes to be false propositions about the fragility of aircraft, the high incidence of crashes, and the like.

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