Ethical Guidebook

A discussion of the difference between our personal values and our public ethics, how mature citizens can support both, and why our love for public ethics must trump our love for personal and group values when they conflict in the public space. Ethics offers a guidebook for evaluating public issues and finding multilateral solutions to endless cycles of values centric conflicts and unilateral violence.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The pope recently created a furor over comments about other religions and attempted to clarify them by saying religion is more closely aligned with reason than with aggression as a solution to differences. An Ethical analysis might suggest otherwise, given that religion is essentially based on belief systems that have historically had major conflicts with reason and the evolution of science, with differences arbitrated within hierarchially defined closed group values that do not necessitate accomodation of others. This inherent difference between religion and reason has in fact historically often lead to the kind of other group demonization that winks at aggressive solutions towards those less like ourselves. To the extent the pope is saying this is not true, it suggests that Ethics - some acceptance of fair play and rights beyond the closed group - has crept into the equasion, which is good. In this case the pope should be applauded for supporting that broader enlightened vision of humanity as having both shared ethics based on reason and science with differences arbitrated by an innate human sense of individual rights and fair play, as well as strong personal values such as those based on religous faith and our born or chosen group memberships.


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