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Ethical Teachinings in Religion

Autor:   •  March 16, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,670 Words (7 Pages)  •  2,148 Views

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Religion is the basis of ethical behavior. Moral values can be found in religious texts in two forms: as direct laws from God or interpretative stories. The most recognized religious texts include the Jewish Tanakh, the Christian Bible and the Muslim Qur'an. These texts include laws received from God and anecdotes on the life of admirable characters, such as Jesus, Moses, and Muhammad. The similarities and differences between these characters lives illustrate the differences between religious ethical behaviors and the value of morals.

The Jewish Tanakh is divided into three parts the Torah (Law), the Neviim( Prophets) and the Ketuvim (writings). The most influential in ethical behavior is Torah which consists of the books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. "The term Torah means law, in the sense of instructions or teaching, which traces its authority to Moses" (272 The Tanakh). Moses' teachings are the most significant in Jewish ethics because he was chosen by God to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and into the "Promised Land". Moses is an ordinary man who struggles with faith and obedience. His story not only illustrates the importance of persistence, faith and traditional values but also serves as example of the struggles faced to maintain their ethical behavior.

During their forty year search for the Promised Land some Israelites lost their faith and turned away from God's path. As a result, "[…] Moses received detailed codes of law directly from God" (267), these laws are commonly known as the Ten Commandments and they represent the foundation of ethical behavior in Judaism. "The Mosaic Law Contains a series of codes on social, ethical and religious topics, such as the Covenant Code (Exodus 21-23), the Purity Code (Leviticus11-16), the Holiness Code (Leviticus 17-27) and the Law Code (Deuteronomy 12-26)" (286 Holiness Code). In a broad sense, these rules classify ethical and unethical behaviors according to God‘s will. Some of the issues addressed in the Ten Commandments include monotheism, idolatry, obedience, murder, adultery, stealing, envy and the importance of the Sabbath day. The commandments are the first laws given by God and are a vital source of ethical behavior in Judaism.

Christian ethics is based on teachings from the Bible and the life of Jesus. The Bible is divided into the Old Testament, which is the Jewish Torah, and the New Testament. (Christians are also required to follow the Ten Commandments.) The New Testament consists of twenty-seven books. The gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John are the best known because they narrate the work, life and teachings of Jesus on behalf of the kingdom of God. "Jesus is unique in making the doctrine of the kingdom the basis of ethical behavior. Moral acts of repentance, love, charity and nonviolence are God's requirements for acceptance into the kingdom.


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