Relationship between law morality and religion

relationship between law morality and religion

This lesson discusses the interconnectedness of morality, law and religion. It highlights the debate over the origin of morality and religion. The word moral is derived from the latin mos meaning custom - mores plural customs. Morals can be researched in the sense that groups can be polled in order. LAW AND RELIGION: LAW, RELIGION, AND MORALITY The relation between law, morality, and religion in the West has grown progressively more complex.

Over time the definition of this concept was a challenge. Ancient philosophers largely resumed the idea of law as a compliance with good, highest good, as the ultimate reason or simply with the truth. Among the most striking examples in this way would be the following definitions: Today, in common language the word Law has assigned three meanings: The first is understood as the higher value or sense of entitlement, to give everyone which belongs to by law.

The second, meaning is seen as that which is created by applying state law, the action itself to do justice, that situation in which injustice is removed. The last one is understood as the justice embodied in the law; it represents the way in which justice is done. Law can be defined as a system of rules of conduct, developed or recognized by the state power that guides human behavior in accordance with the values, of that society, establishing legal rights and obligations of 4 which mandatory abidance is provided, when needed by the coercive force of public power.

The existence of the Law is given by need to establish social rules, rules of conduct that are imperative. Law becomes a necessary tool for any society in the establishment of rules according to certain social values. They show as a unitary system of rules of conduct issued by state power or appeared in another form that habit, 5 for instance whose mandatory compliance is ensured, if necessary, by coercive force of the state.

Understanding the evolution of the law over time implies the knowledge — among others — of shaping 6 and developing specific ways of expressing the essence and its content in different historical stages.


In their early form, custom rules were inspired by moral and religious precepts. Morality and moral norms Morality represents a set of ideas, precepts, and rules about good and evil, right and wrong, just and unjust. Morality as rational system of rules for their own conduct is based on the belief intimate and personal conscience of each individual in his behavior, moral rule mobile was the domestic debt rule of person, first of all 9 for himself.

Moral rules come with penalties of the same nature. These penalties may be outside the subject and the social environment that is a reaction the community to the immoral act in this case we are dealing with different forms of manifestation of public opprobrium, or may be internal, subjective consciousness in the field, 10 they the most powerful and effective form of regret, remorse, pangs of conscience or scruples of conscience.

  • Morality and religion

Morality is as old as the society and plays an important role in regulating the social relations in ensuring and maintaining social order. Having as fundamental values some principles like justice, truth — values also protected and promoted by law — from the outset was set the question of analyzing the similarities and 11 differences between them.

In reality, lawyers, almost unanimously believe that between law and morality there is an organic correlation, extremely close, but each with its own identity. Morality as a system of rules is based on the belief intimate and personal conscience of each individual 12 in his behavior. Since antiquity, legal and political thought was concerned with the relationship between law and morality. Between the two concepts are alike similarities as differences.

Law and Religion: Law, Religion, and Morality |

Both represent a set of rules of conduct. But a first difference is that moral norms are not necessarily uniform but varies depending on the nature of the social group, the community - national, religious, while the right is to ensure legal order unit within a society. Another difference relates to sanctions: Moral rules are spontaneous in their appearance, while the rule of law, except custom, is the result of conscious and organized creations.

For modern Westerners, who have been raised on ideals of universality and egalitarianism, this relativity of values and obligations is the aspect of Hinduism most difficult to understand.

InPierre Bayle asserted that religion "is neither necessary nor sufficient for morality".

relationship between law morality and religion

For example, The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics says that, For many religious people, morality and religion are the same or inseparable; for them either morality is part of religion or their religion is their morality. For others, especially for nonreligious people, morality and religion are distinct and separable; religion may be immoral or nonmoral, and morality may or should be nonreligious. Even for some religious people the two are different and separable; they may hold that religion should be moral and morality should be, but they agree that they may not be.

The proper role of ethical reasoning is to highlight acts of two kinds: For example, there is no absolute prohibition on killing in Hinduismwhich recognizes that it "may be inevitable and indeed necessary" in certain circumstances. In the latter case, a study by the Barna Group found that some denominations have a significantly higher divorce rate than those in non-religious demographic groups atheists and agnostics. The ethnocentric views on morality, failure to distinguish between in group and out group altruism, and inconsistent definition of religiosity all contribute to conflicting findings.

Modern democratic legal systems usually accommodate some form of religious plurality and refrain from establishing or privileging any particular religious entity or practice through legal sanction. But these legal systems are often unable to account fully for the idea that religion is not just a distinct set of religious rituals, a defined community, and a discrete body of doctrines.

Religion is also a worldview, a set of ideas and beliefs of conscience about the nature of the world, that for many people shape all of their moral, economic, social, and personal affairs and choices. Religion and morality have become increasingly private and individual affairs, formed by interaction between the human subject, his or her culture, and his or her conscience. Until the late Middle Agesa predominant idea in the West was that the cosmos and all of nature contain intrinsic rational principles which human beings can apprehend in order to understand how to form their political, moral, and legal affairs.

This " natural law " was an eternal order invested by the Creator in all reality. While it could be apprehended independently from religious revelation, natural law was thought to be consistent with deeper cosmological truths. The Protestant tradition broke from this structure and adopted an Augustinian anthropology in which humans live in two realms simultaneously, the empirical reality of time and space and the transcendental sphere of the numinous experienced by faith alone.

The claims of religion about the transcendent Divine cannot be verified or denied by empirical or rational investigations, and the location of religious experience is the individual's conscience.

Under the conditions of modernity, fueled by these Protestant ideas, it has become increasingly the case that claims can only enter legal discourse if they are universalizable and empirically testable. Law deals with discovery of facts and adjudication of testable claims—what the law "is" has an empirically verifiable character. Therefore, modern law as it has developed does not directly relate to claims of religious revelation, private intuition, or other sources of "ought-claims.

With the decline of natural law as a persuasive model, the human process by which law is created took on greater importance. If law can no longer be discovered in the nature of things, for modern people its authority comes from the legitimacy of the institutional procedures of the legal system, accorded by its subjects who have authorized it to have power on their behalf.

Positive law—that law which is posited or willed through the legislative process—has nearly become the exclusive focus of obedience and legitimacy. Positive law so conceived bears only historical relations to moral and religious culture, and any direct links are historically contingent once adopted into legal code.

In modernity, the human ruler or community sanctions human law, using criteria of efficiency and utility to achieve social, economic, and political goals desired for any number of practical reasons. Conceptions of political goals and legal rights are increasingly identified with individual preferences and prevention of harm, rather than transcendental or religious goods.

The problem for law and politics under these new conditions is a crisis of legitimacy: Machiavelli's prince only needed to concern himself with the balance and preservation of power while exercising statecraft. Thomas Hobbes —in his Leviathancarried this vision forward by claiming that the goal of self-preservation was the primary function of individuals who organized themselves into a legal state to achieve greater and lasting security.

The right of nature, according to Hobbes, is the simple liberty each human has to use his or her own power, as desired, for the preservation of his or her life and to do anything which, according to his or her own judgment and reason, he or she conceives to be the most appropriate means to reach that goal. Hobbes's break with the medieval worldview can be seen here since the greatest good for each individual is his or her own natural preservation, not flourishing as defined by a transcendental moral or religious good.

Hobbes argued that since the natural condition of humankind was a war of each against all, self-interested agents must recognize by reason that their surest possibility of achieving self-preservation can only come through transfer of their natural liberty to a common and ultimate authority who can adjudicate disputes, provide an established law, and create conditions of security for each individual.

In Hobbes's view, humans are not naturally social as Aristotle had held; rather they enter society by convention, for the promotion of their own interest. The social contract is the mechanism whereby individuals mutually and equally lay down their rights to every other citizen, forming a society which transfers their collective, natural liberty over to the coercive power of the sovereign.

relationship between law morality and religion

Thus the will of the sovereign alone, authorized by the contract between citizens, creates the force of law. The legislating sovereign is not bound by nor aims toward transcendental moral or religious goods, nor does the civil law aim for anything other than external compliance.

The sovereign must, however, institute order in the earthly kingdom.

relationship between law morality and religion

And, as Hobbes knew well, skirmishes over religious doctrines had caused many of the bloodiest conflicts in human history. To alleviate these conditions, he argued that the political sovereign must judge doctrinal disputes and shape a coherent and unified set of religious beliefs and practices for the political community, lest their squabbles cause civil unrest. John Locke 's — Second Treatise on Government shaped a legal philosophy to support the English Revolution of and espoused perhaps the most influential theory of modern liberal democracy.

He argued, against Hobbes, that the sovereign was bound by a criteria of transcendental justice known by natural reason. Locke demonstrated the creation of civil society in a manner similar to Hobbes, basing its legitimacy in the state's role of protecting property rights and serving as a fair, common arbitrator of disputes.

PHILOSOPHY - Religion: God and Morality, Part 1

However, Locke decreed that God appointed the government to restrain the partiality and violence of humans and to remedy the inconveniences of the state of nature. According to Locke, each individual recognizes by natural reason the fundamental law of nature: Under the social contractthe sovereign must legislate toward the common good of the collective members.

The only legitimate end of state action is the peace, safety, and public welfare of the people. If the legislator acts against the ends of security and preservation of the people, Locke contended that the people, using natural law as their guide, have the right to rebel and to establish the government anew, since an unjust or arbitrary sovereign would be in a state of war against them.

Civil authority is here limited to the preservation of material property and earthly security, not to the creation of a pietistic or moralistic state. Locke thereby rules out the ecclesiastical authority from having anything to do with the governance of common affairs.

relationship between law morality and religion

Further, he contends that, being free and equal, each individual should have freedom of conscience over his or her own thoughts and affairs. In his Letter Concerning Toleration, Locke argues, also against Hobbes, that the care of souls, the management of estates or health, the choice of religious rituals, and private judgments about doctrine or political matters all belong to the individual, and toleration must therefore be accorded by the sovereign and fellow citizens for various patterns of life.

Locke does merge religious claims and law together, however. All human actions ought to be conformable to the law of nature, which he equivocates with both natural reason and the will of God. The fundamental law of nature is a declaration of the basic good of the preservation of life, written into the very fabric of human life.

No human law can be good or valid that cuts against this law. However, the criteria by which a law is judged remain exclusively rational. This is not a contradiction, since Locke assumes that the proper operation of natural reason—the gift of God—would yield a result that correlates with the intention of the Divine.

Morality and religion - Wikipedia

Locke also articulated two instances where the sovereign could interfere with an individual's personal beliefs. Locke argued that those who claim allegiance to a foreign prince should not be tolerated such as Catholic allegiance to the papacysince they would hold higher allegiance to someone other than the political sovereign of the territory. Thus moral conscience can be intruded upon when obedience to the authority of the legislator is compromised. Secondly, Locke argued that atheists must not be tolerated.

Locke holds that if belief in God is taken away, then the ability to hold promises, covenants, and oaths—the bonds of society itself—is made impossible. But a more subtle and profound point is at stake, one that shows the extent of the relation of law and religious claims in Locke. Natural reason teaches that all humans, being equal, are not to be harmed in the pursuit of life, liberty, health, or property.

Locke does not argue that reason teaches that humans are equal. Rather, this conclusion derives from a religious claim that humans are the created property of God, sent to earth about God's business, and thus there can exist no subordination between humans that authorizes another's destruction or use.

Humans are equal since they are created equal. At the very heart of Locke's arguments for the establishment of civil law is a fundamental religious claim about the human being. In the German tradition, Immanuel Kant — argued that the civil law is created by rational, autonomous agents, who aim to institute a self-imposed structure to protect and guide their lives. Kant argued that the civil law achieves moral ends for all persons, yet the state must extract legal claims and institutions from particular religious and moral claims.