Morality and Relgion – Irish Murdoch

11 November 2016

A person can just accept the morality the religion teaches. pg. 734, para 3 (con’t): Religion’s demand for morality and being good trumps a person’s decision to fulfill a personal/independent call toward duty. -Murdoch separates “call of duty” from religion’s demand to “be good” and states that a person may take time off from duty, but not from the demand to be good. -So duty involves free will to choose and doesn’t have to involve religion -Murdoch clarifies duty as the “rational formation of moral maxims for particular situations,” emphasizing again a personal choice based on reason for how to act. Murdoch states that we can sense morality intuitively even without religion. For this intuitive knowledge, she uses the term “noumenal. ” -The German Philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) seems to have struggled with the tension between intuitively felt morality and practical morality based on duty. -Murdoch claims that we can tell apart the dutiful man from the virtuous man, and this distinction is not the same as the relationship of the dutiful man to the religious man.

Duty seems to imply a more practical morality, like giving taxes, than a morality of virtue, which is less tangible. pg. 735, para 3 (con’t): Murdoch begins to discuss the complexity of moral choices and balancing one’s competing moral questions/demands while living a single moral existence. -She gives the examples of a character from a novel who must choose between lying or saving her own life, or in Shakespeare, a character won’t give up her virginity to save her brother’s life. Murdoch calls our desire for a unified morality, for a reconciliation of these competing moral demands, a “religious craving. ” [so whether or not we’re religious, we have religious tendencies? ]

Morality and Relgion – Irish Murdoch Essay Example

-She thinks that maybe clear moral rules from religion would make things easier, but she sees a trend in her time of a relaxing of black/white clear-cut morality that used to be so prevalent. pg. 735, para 4: Murdoch thinks that religious belief may push a person toward morality more effectively than non-religious morality because it’s so ingrained in a person. Even criminals who grew up religious keep Christian images with them their whole lives, which shows religion’s staying power. -This retention of religious images from childhood suggests religion’s importance for children, and so even many parents who have given up religion as adults may feel that it makes sense to raise their own children with religion. -But more no nonsense type people would argue that raising a child with religion, when religion isn’t true, seems deceptive toward the child. Murdoch wonders if maybe the only difference between a morally upright religious person and a morally upright non-religious person may be completely superficial distinction like two names for the same thing or just a slightly different style of living, but the difference is only on the surface.

-But Murdoch admits that religious people experience a heightened consciousness, which resonates with literary critic Matthew Arnold’s claim that religion is “morality touched by emotion. ” Murdoch explains the great intensity and assuredness that religion provides: it is deep, holy, absolute, engages one’s imagination, and engages the whole person at every moment of his/her life, and every moment matters. -Murdoch concludes that a high level of morality without religion doesn’t have any foundation. -With religion, Christians have points of reference to give their morality foundation, like the image of Christ, and Murdoch suggests that Christians adjust their attitudes to resonate with the image of Christ in order to make their beliefs true. So these images Christians create become for them the truth even though they’re man made. ]

-Since images of Christ change over time, Christianity is a continuous adjustment to its images throughout history. [suggesting a perpetuation of a fantasy or that religion changes as historical periods change] pg. 737, para 5: Murdoch uses the example of a simple Welsh traveling pastor’s (Francis Kilvert’s) journal entries to demonstrate how religious reverence can make someone sound comfortably dumb, naive, simple, humble. Kilvert is so secure in his faith that he is like a child. pg. 38, para 5 (con’t

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