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What is a Religious Ethic?

John P. Reeder Jr
The Journal of Religious Ethics
Vol. 25, No. 3, 25th Anniversary Supplement (1997), pp. 157-181
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40015243
Page Count: 25
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Abstract

One approach to the problem of differentiating a religious from a non- religious ethic would be to formulate a definition of religion that would clearly distinguish between religious and nonreligious traditions; however, a broad definition of religion would include some moral traditions, such as Marxism, commonly thought to be forms of secular humanism. A second approach would argue that some moral beliefs are independent, both in content and justification, of religious convictions; such a set of moral beliefs could be described as a secular version of natural law. This approach would be rejected by those who argue that religious convictions go "all the way down." While the first can be debated by appealing to the heuristic value of various definitions of religion, the second involves familiar issues of moral epistemology. The author explores the consequences of holding a broad definition of religion and an "all the way down" epistemology.

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