Morality And Religion Debate Essay, Research Paper
In an organized religion debate, Alan Dershowitz and Alan Keyes contended many issues on religion and morality. Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, believed that “morality can be maintained without religion.” He also stated that it must be maintained without religion because times have changed. He said that if religion is not separated from state it could have severe damage, such as the Crusades and the Holocaust. Dershowitz believes that there is a difference between morality and religion. When people are moral without religion, they are being virtuous on their own, not because they are afraid of God. He stated that religion should not consist of a Cost-Benefit Analysis. Alan Keyes, a former Republican presidential candidate, stated that religion sets the standard for what’s moral. Keyes argued “power only ultimately respects another power,” and Martin Luther King Jr. was not a preacher by accident. Dershowitz also stated that not everything in the Bible should be believed word-for-word, even George Washington said “indulge religion with caution.” Keyes believed that if state and religion should be separated, then why does the Declaration of Independence contain so much about religion? Alan Dershowitz and Alan Keyes would have argued endlessly about religion’s role in society if there were not a moderator to stop them.
Religion and morality exist together in parallel according to Alan Keyes. Alan Dershowitz stated that if religion and morality are not separated, it could have negative discourse. James Fowler followed Piaget, Kohlberg, and Erickson when selecting the stages to his development of faith across the life span. These three men all selected different ways to look at religion and morality. Keyes believed that morality could not exist without religion. He stated that God is the almighty, and he questioned should we rely on the voice of the people above God. Dershowitz said, in return, that people are not moral if the sole reason for them doing it was to get to heaven. Dershowitz stated “doing the right thing because it is the right thing is more powerful than doing it because someone higher than you says so.” Fowler’s theory emphasises on the form of faith, not on a particular belief system. He believed that faith could be religious or non-religious, such as God, science, or humanity. Throughout his six stages, he links religion (faith) with morality, and how a person becomes increasingly moral as they grow older and learn more about faith. The relationship between religion and morality has existed throughout all time, and it has cost many senseless deaths and wars. The Crusades were a major example of how religion can be viewed negatively in politics. Dershowitz believed that if the Crusades were right, why were there not counter-Crusades? Keyes retorted that everyone has to be responsible and accountable. He believed that the horrible things done in the name of religion were just our world’s fallen nature. Furthermore, Dershowitz believed that the Bible was a great source for homophobia, sex inequality, racism, and egocentrism. Dershowitz and Fowler believed that the Bible is one source of morality, not the only. Alan Keyes avoided the answer, and he said that his morality comes from the Declaration of Independence. When it states “all men are created equal,” that is what he follows. I found the debate and Fowler’s stages to be interesting sources on the relationship between morality and religion.
The public blames many of its problems on the link between religion and morality, but society also praises religion and morality for its helping in overcoming troubled times. Alan Dershowitz stated that the “burning of witches and execution of homosexuals” should be credited to religion being linked to morality. He also believed that the Bible is not a safe means for judging people, and if it were, then we would not have evolved as people enough to realise that inequality is wrong. Dershowitz stated that people should not be judged by what they believe in, but how moral they are and how they conduct themselves in society. The opposing view, stated by Alan Keyes, suggests that religion and morality together have helped people through rough times, such as slavery. He said that if there were not the religious and moral people, such as the ones who ran the Underground Railroad, then society would not have made it through those times. He also suggested that if people did not have religion, what would they grasp to? He also stressed that if God’s voice were not followed, then the people would not have been able to escape those hard times. Religion and morality are important in the public, but it is also necessary to understand that everyone has different beliefs. These different beliefs can be used for good in the public, through morality, or they can be used negatively.
My views were tainted after seeing the debate on organised religion. Before the video, I did not see much of a point of separating religion and state. I did not understand why it was necessary until Alan Dershowitz started listing off the catastrophes caused by keeping religion and morality together. The Bible can be quoted from nearly every position, and I feel that if there was the power of the state behind the negative side of the Bible it could lead to fatalistic effects. Alan Keyes did not seem to have much of an argument on this because there is not much of an argument to have. The worst wars in history were caused because the leaders were following their religion. Adolf Hitler believed that Jews were bad people because of his religion, and with the power of the state behind him, executed many innocent people. Alan Dershowitz’s views made the most sense to me because it is with the times, and I felt that Keyes was just trying to hold on to past beliefs that the Bible is the only right. When Keyes stated that “power only ultimately respects another power,” I felt that was very wrong. Power comes from wisdom and learning what is moral and immoral. I also believe that morality is different than religion. Morality is when you do something because it is right, not because someone higher is going to judge you. Another strong point of Alan Dershowitz, was the use of examples when religion and morality were connected and what happened. The Holocaust and the Crusades are horrific examples of when the Bible has gone wrong. Unfortunately, at that time, the people were not aware of how horrible it was, and it caused many deaths. Today, we are more conscious of what is immoral, and we have learned not to accept what is blatantly wrong just because a higher power is behind it. I believe that the Bible should be used in certain situations, such as to rise hopes among the dreary, but it should not be used to maintain a twenty-first century government’s morality.