Abstract

Religion and politics served as sources of moral authority for centuries, but are limited as such, especially in modern, diverse societies like the United States. Many people feel as though they are not understood, and that their traditional beliefs are not considered when moral decisions are made. Such feelings can incite contempt between people who would otherwise be friends. This lack of harmony can lead to civil unrest and an unhappy society. Therefore, it is important that we strive for a source of moral authority that treats all people as equals. Because not all people can be assumed to operate under the same religious and political beliefs, it is difficult to devise answers to moral questions that appeal to everyone. Furthermore, both religion and politics have been shown as limited in moral applications in Biblical, and historical contexts. Because traditional beliefs are valuable to society, I do not propose that we rid ourselves of them entirely. Instead, I suggest that we supplement our moral decision-making with the original position: a theoretical framework that tasks one with constructing moral principles that they would wish to be employed in society if they did not know what their place in society would be (i.e. gender, race, religion, class, etc.). With enough practice, the use of the original position can help alleviate inequalities that exist when moral decisions are based entirely off traditional beliefs.

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Sources Of Moral Authority: Thinking Beyond Religion And Politics

Religion and politics served as sources of moral authority for centuries, but are limited as such, especially in modern, diverse societies like the United States. Many people feel as though they are not understood, and that their traditional beliefs are not considered when moral decisions are made. Such feelings can incite contempt between people who would otherwise be friends. This lack of harmony can lead to civil unrest and an unhappy society. Therefore, it is important that we strive for a source of moral authority that treats all people as equals. Because not all people can be assumed to operate under the same religious and political beliefs, it is difficult to devise answers to moral questions that appeal to everyone. Furthermore, both religion and politics have been shown as limited in moral applications in Biblical, and historical contexts. Because traditional beliefs are valuable to society, I do not propose that we rid ourselves of them entirely. Instead, I suggest that we supplement our moral decision-making with the original position: a theoretical framework that tasks one with constructing moral principles that they would wish to be employed in society if they did not know what their place in society would be (i.e. gender, race, religion, class, etc.). With enough practice, the use of the original position can help alleviate inequalities that exist when moral decisions are based entirely off traditional beliefs.