Growing up as kids,i vividly remember my mum waking us up earlier than usual for morning prayers, after which she will force us to go prepare for church as she was one of the key leaders.This usually gets on my nerves as I don’t like my sleep being interrupted.She would shout at the top of her voice, scream at us and eventually show us the rod which never spoils the child.This rod of course brings back our attention, as we hurriedly ran to take our bath for fear of being flogged. This I cherished so much as i could see the love of a mother for her children in action,teaching me always to wake up early to prepare for the day’s activities.
Then I ask myself this pertinent question “Do we really need religion to be ethical”???. As perturbed I might be, I have not found satisfactory answers to this question which I have been asking myself ever since i became knowledgeable.Going for church activities is good but does it make us morally right and ethical??? Pretense has soon become the order of the day, religious activities beclouds peoples judgement, morals and ethics fast declining. Then I ask again ”what relationship does religion have with ethics???
There are different point of views about how religion and ethics are related—from a point of view that religion is the absolute bedrock of ethics to other views which holds that ethics is based on human assumptions which is justified mainly, and sometimes only, by appeal to reason. These two facts tend to be argued in a way that offers little or no room for compromise or profering solutions to the real issues we face everyday.
The relationship which exists between religion and ethics is the relationship between revelation and reason. Religion is based in some measure on the idea that God reveals insights about life and its true meaning which some deity does as well . These insights are revealed in forms of texts such as the Bible, the Torah, the Koran. Also, these revelations could be revealed by dreams, specific instructions, prophecies, etc and presented as “revelation.” Ethics, from a persons perspective which is always strict, is based on the tenets of reason: Anything that is not readily verifiable cannot be considered justifiable. From this perspective, ethical principles do not derive their supremacy from religious doctrine. Instead, these principles of theirs are upheld for their value in promoting independent and responsible individuals—people who are capable of making decisions that maximize their own well-being while respecting the well-being of others.
Even though these religious and secular ethics don’t derive their final say from the same source, we still must find a way to establishing a common playing level ground between them; otherwise we’re condemning ourselves to live amidst social discord and division.
These and many more undermine the relationship between them as many religious sects tend to backup their claims solely based on one aspect of view making others go into oblivion.When this happens, there would not be a marriage between both parties.For this reasons, many traditional practices like village festivals, masquerade parade, even to the extent of drinking the local alcohol beneficial to human health has been labelled as bad. Some form of dressing has also been secluded and degraded for reasons unjust because there was never a concrete evidence to prove both true.
I believe we can accommodate the requirements of reason and religion by developing certain qualities that we would bring to our everyday ethical discussions. Cultivating qualities like prudence, reason, accommodation, compromise, moderation, wisdom, honesty, and truthfulness, among others, would enable us all understand the relationship and conflicts between religion and ethics—where numerous differences exist—with a measure of moderation and agreement. When ethics and religion collide, nobody wins; when religion and ethics are intertwined, there will be enough room for robust discussion and agreement, thus maximizing the prospects for constructive choices in our society.