Ethics and religion
British bioethicist Michael Reiss explores the complexity of reaching a common understanding in the context of different religious viewpoints - and how this might be accommodated in the context of classroom discussions.
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Differing religious views can lead to different ethical values. Bioethicist Michael Reiss reflects on how these might be accommodated in classroom discussions.
Michael Reiss: People vary enormously in how important they think religious views are in making ethical decisions. At the one extreme, if we go back in the past, and for many people today, it is just crucial. Their lives are lived within the framework - from religious perspective. They either draw on the Scriptures, or the teaching of their church, or their priest, or Imam, or Rabbi, or whatever.
And at the other extreme, of course, you have an increasing number of people in the world in which we live for whom the idea of using scriptures, or religion in general, to decide how one should live just doesn’t make sense.
Now trying to hold those together is not easy, for example, if one is a school teacher. But I passionately believe that we do want to try and hold those together, because I don’t want to live in a society where one half of the society think the other half are just idiots. My hope is that we live in a society where we can respect one another, even if we might feel that That is not the way that I am going to reason ethically, but I can understand that there is a validity, that there is a worth to have someone else’s reasoning .
- 20 November 2007
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- The University of Waikato