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Ethics and morality

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don't drive drunk A very brief overview of all aspects of morality:

When many people see the word "morality," their first thought often relates to sexual activity of some type. Many individuals and groups, like us, use much broader definitions.

Morality can be defined as a system of criteria that determine whether a specific act under defined conditions is right (moral), wrong (immoral), or neutral (without moral implications).

There are many sources of ethics and morality in use:

  • Moral codes are often derived by theologians who interpret holy books, like the Torah in Judiasm, the Bible in Christianity and the Qur'an in Islam. Their conclusions are often accepted as absolute truth by believers. Unfortunately, each of these books contain apparent contradictions and ambiguities that must be harmonized. Since a person's interpretation of a holy book is heavily influenced by the interpreter's culture, theologians within a given religion -- and theologians among different religions -- often produce very different moral codes and theological beliefs. The end result is -- for example in Christianity -- that the religion consists of over 30,000 denominations, sects, traditions, etc., teaching very different beliefs and practices -- all based on Bible passages. This places the validity of sets of moral codes derived by humans from the religious texts, in serious doubt.

  • Evolutionary sociobiologists view many human behaviors and elements of morality as having originated in primate societies among chimpanzees, bonobos, and early humans. They believe that moral codes evolved and adapted as human groups advanced from small hunter-gathering bands about 100,000 years ago, to tribes, to chiefdoms, and finally to nations circa 2000 BCE. 1

  • A current and very active debate involves the "science of morality" -- the concept that objective and superior systems of morality and ethics can be derived by studying human cultures and by then applying the scientific method in order to maximize people's well being. A leading proponent of this concept is Sam Harris who advocates in his book "The Moral Landscape" "... a conversation about how moral truth can be understood in the context of science." 2

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Needless to say, with such different sources from which moral systems can be derived, we can expect to be deluged for the foreseeable future with conflicting sets of moral codes concerning:

There are an enormous number of topics that we hope to be covered eventually in this section. We have just begun to scratch the surface.

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General introduction to ethics and morality:

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Specific topics covered:

bullet Bible:
bullet Bible passages that are immoral by today's religious & secular standards

bullet The status of women in the Bible and early Christianity

bullet God's genocides

bullet Changing holy books in order to modify beliefs and alter behaviors
bullet Personal morality: how we treat other people and ourselves:

Two essays donated by Susan Humphreys:


Two essays donated by Alton C, Thompson:

bullet An essay donated by Anna-maria Alexiou: Celvital living -- the alternative to selfishness."

bullet Business ethics:
bullet Salaries paid to religious leaders of para-church groups in the U.S.

bullet Future in Canada

bullet Hoover in Canada

bullet People with disabilities, by the Canadian banking system
bullet Children:
bullet Preventable child deaths from unclean water and lack of sanitation

bullet Hitting children as a form of discipline

bullet Children being used as soldiers

bullet Shootings in public schools

bullet Safe haven laws for abandoned newborns

bullet Satanic Ritual Abuse
bullet Cloning:
bullet Ethical aspects of cloning

bullet Therapeutic cloning (creation of artificial organs)
bullet Attaining human rights:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all ... are created equal": Does "all" mean "all" or some? An essay by contributing editor Susan Humphreys

bullet People living in dictatorships


Same-sex couples seeking to marry A massive section

bullet Gays, Atheists, Agnostics and others in the Boy Scouts

bullet Employment discrimination against:
bullet Women seeking ordination

bullet Gays and lesbians

bullet People with disabilities, by the Canadian banking system

bullet Environment:
bullet Global warming and other environmental concerns

bullet Global ethic: Rules of behavor for all of humanity:
bullet Excerpts from "The Principles of a Global Ethic"

bullet The Declaraton of a Global Ethic

bullet Government:
bullet Moral and religious aspects of the 2004 presidential election

bullet Moral aspects of the 2006 budget and state of the nation speech

bullet A personal story about undocumented migrants: An essay by Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)


Moral aspects of the 2011 federal budget: An essay by Jim Wallis of Sojourers

bullet What is the Circle of Protection? The moral aspects of reducing the budget on the backs of the poor.

bullet The moral aspects of killing Osama Bin Laden: Part 1  Part 2

bullet Human sexuality
bullet Asexuality

bullet Homosexuality and bisexuality

bullet Transgender persons and transsexuals

bullet The HPV vaccine and cervical cancer


Christian attitudes on sex and gender (Masturbation, homosexuality, abortion, ordination of women, status of women)

bullet Youth sexuality: sex-education, access to condoms, & pre-marital sex

bullet "Digging the Duggars," from the TV program "19 kids and counting"

bullet Rape in wartime
bullet Justice:
bullet "Pardon and forgiveness: the highest forms of justice" by Susan Humphreys

bullet Medical and mental health topics:
bullet Abortion -- religious and ethical aspects

bullet Ending discrimination in hospital visitation

bullet Emergency contraception
bullet Will Catholic hospitals make EC available to rape victims?

bullet Ethical aspects of human organ harvesting and transplanting

bullet Health care for all

bullet Human embryo & stem cell research

bullet Marijuana availability

bullet Medical treatment of pain: who gets it and who doesn't

bullet Physician assisted suicide

bullet Recovered Memory Therapy (RMT)

bullet Roman Catholic instructions in bioethics, 2008 "Dignitas Personae"

bullet Treatment of burns with fetal skin tissue

bullet Native peoples:
bullet The extermination of Canada's Innu people

bullet Suicide among Canada's Native people
bullet Polls:
bullet Activities that Canadians feel are immoral
bullet Racism:
bullet Racism surfacing in 2009-SEP, directed against President Obama
bullet Slavery:
bullet Past, recent & current slavery in Nazi Germany, Japan, Sudan, U.S., etc

bullet Financial compensation for Nazi slave laborers

bullet Japanese sex slaves
bullet War and terrorism:
bullet Land mines

bullet Financial compensation for Nazi slave laborers

bullet Governments' complicity in the Nazi holocaust

bullet Rape in wartime
bullet Japanese sex slaves


When is killing a human permitted in Islam? The principle of tattarrus.


The moral aspects of killing Osama Bin Laden: Part 1  Part 2


Muslim statements against terrorism

bullet Other material:
bullet Capital punishment; the death penalty

bullet Gun control in the U.S.

bullet Gun control in Canada

bullet Hate crime legislation

bullet Religious urban legends - contemporary beliefs that are hoaxes


An essay donated by Dave Wilson: Values and importance: the place of relativity


Multiple essays donated by Contributing Editor Susan Humphreys:

bullet Do convicts have a right to access samples for DNA testing in an attempt to prove their innocence?

Reference used:

  1. "Evolution of morality," Wikipedia, as at 2010-SEP-04, at:

  2. book cover Sam Harris, "The Moral Landscape: How science can determine human values," Page 2, Free Press, 2010-OCT. Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store Available in Kindle format.

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See our "Hot" religious topics menu for additional essays with a moral component.

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Copyright © 1998 to 2019 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 1998-JUN-4
Latest update: 2019-MAR-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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