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Author Topic: Can religion lead you to error?  (Read 11060 times)
Adept Member
Last Login:April 02, 2012, 03:07:59 pm
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Religion: Tibetan Buddhist
TCN ID: Starglade
Posts: 1614

Life is a work in progress.

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« Reply #20: May 16, 2009, 03:37:19 pm »


My position is that ethics are not peculiarly religious at all, but cultural (of which religion is simply one aspect) - the ethical aspects of a culture are often supported, and may be enforced, by the religious aspects of that culture, but ethics/morals are a function of a culture's desire for self-preservation, rather than a function of its religion.  The appearance of ethics as a specifically religious matter is an offshoot of Western thought's intellectual separation of religion from other cultural matters.


This is what HHDL is talking about, I think, in his book Ethics for the New Millennium. His point is, religiously derived ethics seem to have been divisive, historically speaking, because of the "I/mine" involved. "My religion says this, you aren't of my religion, therefore you are [fill in the blank--evil, foolish, stupid, damned, whatever]."  The system he proposes and discusses takes religion, anyone's religion, out of the picture entirely and focuses on the common human ethical system instead: "Everyone wants to be happy, and to not suffer." From that springboard one can create a system that doesn't require "We/our" and "they/their" at all. There is no "we," there is no "they," there are humans--the same, everywhere, with the same basic desires and needs.

I have to admire a spiritual leader who has the courage to say "Religion, I think, is something we could perhaps do without." Spirituality/ethical beliefs and practices, no--religion/dogma, yes.


The source of all misery in the world lies in thinking of oneself. The source of all happiness lies in thinking of others. -- Shantideva

My public transcript is available for viewing.

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