Morality: part of a religion?

Morality: part of a religion?

A subject that has been pondered for years is that of morality. Does it exist? Where does it come from? Is it universal? Philosophers have been trying to answer these questions for ages. Theories have been created to attempt at understanding this difficult question. Yet even to this day arguments and counter replies have been given for each and every theory. So what do we make of the ISIS groups killing innocent individuals for what they believe is a ‘worthy cause’ ?

In a recent article ( it is reported that ISIS groups were encouraging followers to kill “nonbelievers” including those from Canada. In the article it tells us that the Canadian government Condemned ISIS and stated that they would continue to aid in preventing the ISIS groups. How do such contradictions exist for what is right and wrong?

I personally disagree with ISIS that killing is the best/only option for pushing their beliefs. Yet to try to understand why they believe this we must take a step back and look where these perspectives come from. When we compare different societies/cultures that have main driving religions such as Christianity in the west to Islam in the east, one must recognize very different situations. The east is a very different part than the west and it tends to (if not always) create a certain perspective of the world and everything around them. When people grow up and form these scopes, often they do tend to be different than those in different religions/faiths then them. I believe this is the root of the contradictions in the article. We have such different views of the world then individuals out east. However I do believe that some views can be completely wrong which is unhealthy for the world. Take ISIS for example, trying to be as unbiased as possible, I still see no need for the violent lenses that they have.

When we have these different lenses we seem to have different views of morality. Killing for me and my society is wrong, it contains a quality of wrongness and I disapprove of it. Yet for ISIS it seems that killing is permissible. This contradiction leads me to believe that morality is understood by the lenses we wear. I believe that there is a universal set of morals that have been given to us but the culture/religion/society around us mutates our morals creating multiple moral perspectives. I think that we all start off with these universal morals but as we live and grow in the culture we tend to ‘tint’ our lenses and change something that is not supposed to be changed. As far as the article I tend to agree with the government that ISIS should be condemned, not only with what I believe but what we have seen from history is that killing innocent people is an unmoral action. I believe that ISIS has tinted their universal moral beliefs into something unnatural and unacceptable.




2 thoughts on “Morality: part of a religion?

  1. While I agree with your assessments that killing is wrong and that peoples cultural upbringings impact their worldviews, I must disagree with the idea that morality depends on the lenses we wear. Religion, culture, and geography aside each and every one of us is human. We call experience the world in a way that is profound to each of us. This experience can be joyful, pleasurable, full of fear and pain, or anything else one can experience. Because of this commonality the actions we take towards each other have a common denominator on which to be judged. Pain exists independent of what anyone thinks about it, and is (for our purposes) universally accepted as a negative experience (on its own and especially unmerited). So to kill anyone for gain, regardless of faith, culture or country, should be seen as demonstrably wrong.

  2. This is a thoughtful and interesting article. I believe that the school of thought you have touched upon regarding ‘lenses’ is known as normative cultural relativism (i.e., the standpoint wherein morality is based upon the culture that exists in any given place). I do not believe that normative cultural relativism is a plausible doctrine, however, as it makes it so that any act can be permissible, should a certain group of people (such as ISIS) believe it should be so. There are certain things that, through basic human reasoning, most of the world can agree upon as being morally wrong. Things such as killing, for instance, are agreed to be immoral by most people in the world; and based on this collective opinion, I believe that such acts should indeed by condemned as wrong, rather than being considered appropriate merely because a certain culture deems them so.

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